Monday, May 16, 2011

Wildlife in India and National Parks

About 80 National Parks and 441 Sanctuaries have been created to protect this life from the onslaught of urbanization and rapidly increasing population.

Wildlife Sanctuaries, National Parks

There are a number of wildlife sanctuaries, and National parks all over this vast country which are well preserved. They cover hundreds of square kilometres and the varied wildlife can be observed here in their natural habitat.
Apart from this, the Government of India initiated Project Tiger in 1973. This has helped in increasing the numbers of tigers, over the years.

Some of the major wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in India are located in Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Assam, Bihar, Goa, Daman & Diu, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.

Mount Harriet National Park in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands hosts the Andaman wild pig, saltwater crocodile, turtle and robber crab. The best time to visit is January and February. There is also the Saddle Peak National Park famous for bird and the Andaman teal. Best time to visit is November to April. The Andamans also have Marine National Park.

Kaziranga National Park in Assam is famous for the one-horned rhinos, of which the park has a sizeable number. Apart from this, there are tigers, wild buffaloes, elephants, barasingha, hog deer, wild boars, leopards and leopard cats, and a large variety of birds. The best time to visit Kaziranga is October to March.

Hazaribagh National Park in Bihar showcases the tiger, leopard, sambar, chital, and wild boar and the best time to visit is October to March.

Palaman(Betla) National Park in Bihar, is also a Tiger Reserve and is best between October and May. It was once the homeland of the now extinct Indian cheetah, but you can still view the tiger, leopard, wolf, wild dog, jungle cat and the barking deer, here.

Bhagwan Mahavir National Park spread across Goa houses the gaur, sambar, mouse deer, barking deer, flying squirrel, and porcupine. Best time to visit is October to March.

Spreading over a large area in Gujarat, the Gir National Park (also a Lion Sanctuary) is best visited from October to June for a view of the Asiatic lion, panther, sambar, and the four-horned antelope.

The Velavadar National Park also in Gujarat hosts the blackbuck and the wolf. Best time to come here is October to May.

The Nal Sarovar Sanctuary in the state of Gujarat is known for its flocks of flamingoes and other birds which abound from October to February.

The Great Himalayan National Park in Himachal Pradesh houses the snow leopard, mountain goat, yak cranes, and brown & black bears. The best time to view them are from April to June and from September to October.

The state of Jammu and Kashmir has two national parks namely Dachigain and Kishtwar. While Danchigam is famous for its endangered Kashmir Stag called Hangul, it also has the Himalayan black bear, brown bear, leopard, hill fox, jungle cat, Himalayan weasel, and long - tailed marmot among others. The best time to visit in August to December. The Kishtwar National Park is best visited from May to October and includes snow leopard, antelope,wild yak and the Tibetan ass.

The Bandipur National Park, adjoining the Madhumalai sanctuary in Karnataka welcomes you all the year round with its inhabitants comprising the tiger, elephant, gaur, chitals, wild dog and sloth bear.

The Nagarhole Park also in Karnataka welcomes visitors all the year round and has a host of elephants, tigers, panthers, chitals, sambars, sloth bears, and the gaur.

The small state of Kerala has three major national parks:
The Eravikulam Park is open throughout the year and houses elephants, gaurs, sambars, lion-tailed macaque, and the famous Nilgiri tahr.
The Periyar Park has a large number of elephants, gaurs, wild dogs, sambars and can be best viewed from September to May.
The Silent Valley National Park houses elephants, wild boars, panthers, sambars, and the lion-tailed macaque which can be seen from September to March, best.

In the state of Madhya Pradesh there are three national parks namely Bandhavgarh, Kanha and Pench and the best time to visit them is November to June.
The Bandhavgarh Park spreads over 32 hills and is one of the best places to white tigers, and panthers, apart from the chitals, gaurs, sambars and the nilgai.
The Kanha park spreads over 1,945 sq. kms and is famous as the tiger land. Apart from the tiger it is home to panthers, barasingha, black buck, barking deer, mouse deer, nilgai, wild dog, chital and sambar.
The Pench National Park is also a good place to watch the tiger, panther, gaur, chital, sambar and nilgai.

Orissa also has three major wildlife habitats, out of which one is a National Park and two sanctuaries. While Chilka is an all year round destination, the Similipal National Park and Satkosia gorge sanctuary are best visited from November to May .
Spreading over 900 sq. kms of lakes, shore and hinterland, Chilka is part of a large lagoon, separated from the Bay of Bengal by a strip of sand. It is India's largest salt lake and home to a large number of migratory and other birds like flamingoes, duck, bar-headed goose, sandpiper, plover, ruddy shelduck, gulls, terns, and white-bellied sea eagle.

The Similipal Park, best time between November and June, is home to the tiger, elephant, gaur, leopard, mouse deer, flying squirrel, and the mugger crocodile.

The Satkosia Sanctuary houses the gharial, tiger, sloth bear and the leopard.

Rajasthan boasts of four National Parks.
The Desert National Park shelters the stately Great Indian Bustard. Apart from this are the Blackbuck, Chinkara, wolf, desert fox, hare, and desert cat, and is open all the year round.

The Keoladeo Ghana National Park welcomes tourists round the year for viewing its inhabitants which comprise as many as 350 species of birds including its winter visitors from Central Asia and Siberia. The rare Siberian crane traverses more than 6000 kms every year to reach here in winters. The best time to watch birds here is early morning or late evening. Some of the major species spotted here apart from the Siberian crane are, the cormorant , egret, heron, painted stork, spoonbills, ibis, pelican, barheaded goose, etc.. The mammals found here include the wild boar, sambar, chital, blackbuck, fishing cat, mongoose, and also the python and monitor lizard among the reptiles.

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