India is blessed with enchanting wildlife sanctuaries which consist of beautiful floral and fauna. More amazing is the animal wealth of India. Sadly, many of them are getting extinct rapidly. Thus wildlife sanctuaries in India as well as national parks aid in preserving the wildlife of India. Watching untamed wildlife in its real and natural habitat is a treat and the destinations mentioned below offer the visitors to indulge in just that. Here is a list of the Top 10 Widlife Sanctuaries of India :
Jim Corbett National Park is the oldest national park in India and was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park to protect the endangered Bengal tiger. It is located in Nainital district of Uttarakhand and was named after Jim Corbett who played a key role in its establishment. The park was the first to come under the Project Tiger initiative. The park has sub-Himalayan belt geographical and ecological characteristics. An ecotourism destination, it contains 488 different species of plants and a diverse variety of fauna. The increase in tourist activities, among other problems, continues to present a serious challenge to the park’s ecological balance. Corbett has been a haunt for tourists and wildlife lovers for a long time. Tourism activity is only allowed in selected areas of Corbett Tiger Reserve so that people get an opportunity to see its splendid landscape and the diverse wildlife. In recent years the number of people coming here has increased dramatically. Presently, every season more than 70,000 visitors come to the park from India and other countries.
Kaziranga National Park is a national park in the Golaghat and Nagaon districts of the state of Assam, India. A World Heritage Site, the park hosts two-thirds of the world’s Great One-horned Rhinoceroses. Kaziranga boasts the highest density of tigers among protected areas in the world and was declared a Tiger Reserve in 2006. The park is home to large breeding populations of elephants, wild water buffalo, and swamp deer. Kaziranga is recognized as an Important Bird Area by Birdlife International for conservation of avifaunal species. Compared to other protected areas in India, Kaziranga has achieved notable success in wildlife conservation. Located on the edge of the Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hotspot, the park combines high species diversity and visibility.
Bandipur National Park, established in 1974 as a tiger reserve under Project Tiger, is a national park located in the south Indian state of Karnataka. It was once a private hunting reserve for the Maharaja of the Kingdom of Mysore. Bandipur is known for its wildlife and has many types of biomes, but dry deciduous forest is dominant. The park spans an area of 874 square kilometers (337 sq mi), protecting several species of India’s endangered wildlife. Bandipur is located in Gundlupet taluq of Chamarajanagar district. It is about 80 kilometers (50 mi) from the city of Mysore on the route to a major tourist destination of Ooty. Bandipur supports a good population of endangered and vulnerable species like Indian elephants, gaurs, tigers, sloth bears, muggers, Indian rock pythons, four-horned antelopes and dholes.
Bandhavgarh National Park is one of the popular national parks in India located in the Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh. Bandhavgarh was declared a national park in 1968, with an area of 105 km². The buffer is spread over the forest divisions of Umaria and Katni and totals 437 km². The park derives its name from the most prominent hillock of the area, which is said to be given by Hindu Lord Rama to his brother Lakshmana to keep a watch on Lanka (Ceylon). Hence the name Bandhavgarh. This park has a large biodiversity. The density of the tiger population at Bandhavgarh is one of the highest known in India. The park has a large breeding population of leopards, and various species of deer.
Kanha National Park is a national park and a Tiger Reserve in the Mandla and Balaghat districts of Madhya Pradesh, India. In the 1930s, Kanha area was divided into two sanctuaries, Hallon and Banjar, of 250 and 300 km² . Kanha National Park was created on 1 June 1955. The park has a significant population of Royal Bengal Tiger, leopards, the sloth bear, Barasingha and Indian wild dog. The lush sal and bamboo forests, grassy meadows and ravines of Kanha provided inspiration to Rudyard Kipling for his famous novel “Jungle Book “. Kanha’s carnivore population includes tigers, leopards, wild dogs, wild cats, foxes and jackals.
The Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is a forest and wildlife sanctuary in Gujarat, India. Established in 1965, with a total area of 1412 km², the park is located 43 km in the north-east from Somnath , 65 km to the south-east of Junagadh and 60 km to south west of Amreli. It is the sole home of the Asiatic Lions (Panthera leo persica) and is considered to be one of the most important protected areas in Asia due to its supported species. The ecosystem of Gir, with its diverse flora and fauna, is protected as a result of the efforts of the government forest department, wildlife activists and NGOs. The April 2010 census recorded the lion-count in Gir at 411, an increase of 52 compared to 2005. The lion breeding programme covering the park and surrounding area has bred about 180 lions in captivity since its inception.
The Keoladeo National Park or Keoladeo Ghana National Park formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India is a famous avifauna sanctuary that plays host to thousands of birds especially during the summer season. Over 230 species of birds are known to have made the National Park their home. It is also a major tourist centre with scores of ornithologists arriving here in the hibernal season. It was declared a protected sanctuary in 1971. It is also a declared World Heritage Site. Keoladeo Ghana National Park is a man-made and man-managed wetland and one of the national parks of India. The reserve protects Bharatpur from frequent floods, provides grazing grounds for village cattle and earlier was primarily used as a waterfowl hunting ground.
Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary (PNP) is a protected area in the districts of Idukki and Pathanamthitta in Kerala, south India. It is notable as an elephant reserve and a tiger reserve. The protected area covers an area of 925 km2 of the core zone was declared as the Periyar National Park in 1982. The park is often called the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. It is also referred to by the name “Thekkady”. It is set high in the Cardamom Hills and Pandalam Hills of the southern Western Ghats along the border with Tamil Nadu state. Periyar National Park is known for its elephants. Altogether 62 different kinds of mammals have been recorded in Periyar, including many threatened ones. Periyar is a highly protected tiger reserve and elephant reserve.
Pench National Park is situated in Seoni and Chhindwara districts of Madhya Pradesh in India. It derives its name from the Pench River that flows through the National park from north to south dividing the park into almost equal western and eastern halves- the well forested areas of Seoni and Chhindwara districts respectively. It was declared a sanctuary in 1977 but raised to the status of National park in 1983. Later it was established as Tiger Reserve area in 1992. Park is famous for water rafting, only national park. In year 2011 park won the Best Management Award. Park have two famous gates as tourists entry, Turiya and Karmajhiri.
Ranthambhore is one of the largest national parks in northern India. It is situated in Sawai Madhopur district of southeastern Rajasthan. Ranthambhore was established as the Sawai Madhopur Game Sanctuary in 1955 by the Government of India, and was declared one of the Project Tiger reserves in 1973. Ranthambore became a national park in 1980. In 1984, the adjacent forests were declared the Sawai Man Singh Sanctuary and Keladevi Sanctuary, and in 1991 the tiger reserve was enlarged to include the Sawai Man Singh and Keladevi sanctuaries. Ranthambore wildlife sanctuary is known for its tigers and is one of the best places in India to see these majestic predators in the jungle. Tigers can be easily spotted even during the day time. A good time to visit Ranthambore National Park is in November and May when the nature of the dry deciduous forests makes sightings common. Its deciduous forests were once a part of the magnificent jungles of Central India.
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