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Wildlife of India

Wildlife of India: Best National Parks & Sanctuaries Guide

India's diverse geographic conditions allow various fauna and flora to thrive there. Its distinctive topography, studded with mountains, thick woods, uneven terrain, plains, and other natural features, has led to various physical and climatic conditions. Because of the country's diverse topography, an impressive number of species close to going extinct can find refuge there and continue to exist in their natural habitat. We can safely say the wildlife of India is very renowned. 

India's Best National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries

In India, several parks and wildlife sanctuaries are worth visiting and are inhabited by various animal species. India's forests are home to diverse animal life, whether it be Tibetan antelopes, red pandas, or Asiatic lions. In reality, at least one wildlife sanctuary in each state of the union attracts many visitors. Even though not all of them are particularly well-known, they all are a must-see.

The thrill of seeing an exotic, wild animal in its natural surroundings is one you rarely experience. You will never forget the adrenaline rush you get on the safari through thick jungles, home to different wildlife species. India is a popular destination for wildlife lovers from around the globe owing to the numerous sanctuaries and the animals you can find there. Some of India's best and most famous parks and wildlife sanctuaries are listed below.

1. Jim Corbett National Park

Established in 1936 as Hailey National Park, it was given the name Jim Corbett in honor of the renowned hunter and naturalist. Five hundred different types of plants and animals can be found in the area. The 520 square kilometers Jim Corbett National Park is one of India's most famous national parks and is well-known for its animal safaris. The park has marshy land, lakes, grasslands, hills, river belts, etc. You can find 200 tigers and 300 wild elephants in the garden in their native habitat. Other animals, like peacocks, sloth bears, crocodiles, otters, monkeys, etc., can be seen wandering freely. The Corbett Tiger Reserve only allows tourism in a few designated locations.

2. Kanha National Park

Kanha National Park is one of India's well-known tiger reserve parks, totaling about 1940 square kilometers. This national park, founded on June 1st, 1955, was initially split into two reserves in the 1930s: Hallon (250 square kilometers) and Banjar (300 square kilometers). The Kanha Tiger Reserve was established in 1973 to safeguard and shield the species of tigers. This park provides a native habitat for sloth bears, antelopes, regal Bengal tigers, and wild dogs. Rudyard Kipling drew influence from the Kanha jungles for his well-known Jungle Book. Kanha National Park is one of the most beautiful places to explore the wildlife of India. 

3. Bandhavgarh National Park

Bandhavgarh National Park, created as a national park in 1968 and a tiger sanctuary in 1993, is renowned for having an average of 8 tigers per square km. Earlier, the Maharajas used Bandhavgarh's forest as a shooting ground or game sanctuary. The national park is encircled by a lush, green Sal forest, which provides the most natural habitat for the park's unique vegetation and wildlife. Except for white tigers, the national park's three zones—Bamera, Magdi, and Tala—are home to about 36 animals, including dhole, blue bulls, leopards, cheetahs, sambars, and bison.

4. Kaziranga National Park

Regarded as a world heritage site by UNESCO, Kaziranga National Park is spread across the two Assamese regions of Nagaon and Golaghat. The world's two-thirds one-horned rhinos can be found in this national park, situated on the Brahmaputra River's shores. Kaziranga National Park, formed in 1908, has a massive territory of about 430 square kilometers. This park, designated as a tiger sanctuary in 2006, also offers a natural haven for buffalo, swamp deer, elephants, and other wild creatures. In addition, this park has been designated an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International to protect avian species. The park's greenery, including tropical moist broadleaf woods and elephant grass, is nourished by numerous water bodies.

5. Nagarhole National Park

Nagarhole National Park, a piece of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, is considered a heritage location by UNESCO. The term Nagarhole, also called Rajiv Gandhi National Park, combines "naga" for snake and "hole" for stream. According to reports, the park has Asia's most excellent density of herbivores. Nagarhole National Park, a renowned entry point for wildlife, was established in 1988 and designated as a tiger sanctuary in 1998. The park has several water bodies, including 47 streams, 41 artificial tanks, and four lakes, which help to keep it lush and green all the time, thanks to the park's 1440 millimeters of yearly rainfall. Numerous wild creatures, including the sloth bear, ussuri dhole, Bengal tiger, barking beer, leopard, elephant, gaur, and sambar deer, can be seen in the wild.

6. Ranthambore National Park

The park was established in 1955 as Sawai Madhopur Game Sanctuary. The Indian government designated it as a Project Tiger Reserve in 1973; however, it was officially designated as a national park on November 1st, 1980. The park is well-known for its Bengal Tigers and is a delight for nature enthusiasts and photographers. It safeguards several wild species, including the rhesus macaque, mugger crocodile, sloth bear, sambar, southern plains grey langur, nilgai, striped hyena, Indian leopard, etc., as well as several other birds and reptiles species. Ranthambhore is the largest national park in North India, with an area of about 392 sq km, and is surrounded by the Kaila Devi and Mansingh sanctuaries.

7. Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary

Periyar National Park was founded in 1982 and is among the most well-known national parks in South India. The park spans a surface area of about 777 sq km and is situated high in Cardamom Hills and Pandalam in the south Western Ghats and organizes several wildlife adventure activities, including rafting and jungle safari, which draw thousands of travelers and wildlife enthusiasts from around the world. The Periyar and Pamba waterways both flow through the park. Nestled in a hilly woodland, its magical setting gives it a magical aura. Along with a healthy population of Bengal tigers, this area is home to more than 266 species of birds, 45 species of animals, and about 160 species of butterflies, where you can find distinctive wildlife in India.

8. Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary

This protected forest region and wildlife sanctuary, also known as Sasan Gir, was founded in 1965 and is a habitat for many rare animals, such as the Asiatic Lion. The secured national park covers 258 sq km of the region's total 1412 sq km territory, and the sanctuary occupies 1153 sq km. The park had 52 enormous, pure Asiatic lions, a species once on the brink of extinction. These large cats are now more prevalent thanks to conservation efforts. Gir National Park is shut down from June 16 to October 15 during the summer rains. Here, you can find about 40 types of mammals and 300 birds. Indian mongooses, wild boars, golden jackals, four-horned antelopes, ratels, nilgai, chital deer, and other animals can all be seen here.

9. Manas National Park (Manas Wildlife Sanctuary)

This 1990-founded UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site is a Project tiger reserve, elephant reserve, and biosphere reserve. The sanctuary, well-known for its number of wild water buffalo, was established on October 1st, 1928, while the biosphere was created in 1973. Pagrang village is situated in the park's center, and there are roughly 56 communities all around it. The park's primary waterway, the Manas River, is a significant tributary of the Brahmaputra River and is centered on the sloping hills of the Himalayas. Being a natural habitat for several vulnerable species of wildlife, home to more than 380 species of birds, 50 reptile species, and three species of amphibians. 

10. Satpura National Park

Founded in 1981 and named after the Satpura Range, this national park is rich in biodiversity. The park's varied terrain is studded with ravines, sandstone peaks, thick woods, and narrow gorges. According to legend, this region was studied by Captain James Forsyth of the Bengal Lancers in 1862 while he was looking for Tantya Tope (Indian freedom fighter). Tiger Reserve status was granted to the area in 2000. This park, located in the Satpura Tiger Reserve, spanning an area of roughly 1427 sq km, has a unique highland environment. Numerous wild animal species, such as the chital, nilgai, sambar, bear, leopard, black buck, flying squirrel, wild pig, chinkara, and species of plants like sal, mahua, teak, bamboo, and various medicinal plants can be found here.

11.  Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary

The second-largest national park, Dandeli Wildlife Reserve, is in Karnataka. It offers a wide variety of flora and fauna as it is engulfed in the dense forests of the Kannada district. The alligators in this area are the main draw. It is a beautiful place to spot crocodiles as it is situated along the banks of the Kali River. It is excellent for bird watching because it has a diversity of birds. However, it also has large carnivores like leopards, black panthers, and tigers. You can also see sambar, buffalo, barking deer, elephants, and the enormous Malabar squirrel in addition to these. In this dense forest, there is also a possibility of seeing giant iguanas and king cobras. Here, visitors can take Jeep safaris to explore different wildlife of India.

12. Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka

The Bhadra wildlife sanctuary, which takes its name from the Bhadra river, is well-known as a tiger reserve. Thirty-three lions inhabit the sanctuary. The sanctuary shelters various animals, including wild boars, elephants, black leopards, jungle cats, gaurs, jackals, spotted deer, slender loris, sloth bears, pangolin, and many others. Numerous serpent species, marsh crocodiles, and Draco or gliding lizards are also present. There are 120 different plant types in Bhadra, including semi-evergreen, dry, and moist deciduous trees. Love insects like the blue pansy, family, and crimson rose can be seen here. Tourists come here for activities like sailing and island camping. The authorities have given a 3.5 km trekking trail for adventure seekers. The sanctuary offers both boat and Jeep safaris.

13. Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary

The Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary, situated on the slopes of the Western Ghats, is the largest national park in the Goa Union region. The carnivores in this area include panthers, jungle cats, leopards, and toddy cats. Other creatures, including sambar, spotted deer, barking deer, mouse deer, and hogs, live here. Hyenas, sloth bears, slim lorises, and jackals are some more you might encounter. One hundred twenty different bird species are also found here besides these animals. The most frequent bird seen in this area is the ruby-throated yellow bulbul, the Goa state bird. The jungle babblers, Malabar trogons, white-rumped spinetail, common grey hornbills, and paradise flycatchers also frequently appear. Snakes like Indian rock pythons, king cobras, and Russell vipers dominate this area.

14. Dudhwa National Park

The Dudhwa National Park incorporates 16 reptile species, 38 mammal species, and countless bird species in about 800 km of dense woods, marshes, and grasslands. The main draws of this national park are the animals that live there, including rhinoceroses, tigers, swamp deer, sambar, elephants, hog deer, wild hogs, monitor lizards, langurs, sloth bears, otters, turtles, and porcupines. Dudhwa National Park is a superb location for bird viewing, home to 450 of the 1300 bird species on the Indian subcontinent. These include the red jungle fowl, Hornbill, peafowl, fishing eagle, Bengal florican, snake eagle, osprey, paradise flycatcher, woodpeckers, Indian pitta, emerald doves, and orioles.

Conclusion

The nation's wildlife sanctuaries rank among the most incredible tourist sites. From the southern state of Kerala to the northern state of Jammu & Kashmir, every state in India has many wildlife sanctuaries. The only way to discover India's untamed wildlife beauty is by visiting these magnificent reserves. Therefore, you can arrange a safari guide to any of these wildlife sanctuaries if you love outdoor adventure and want the best possible vacation.

FAQs

Name India's most prominent and smallest National Park.

With an area of 4,400 km2, Hemis National Park is the largest national park, and South Button Island National Park is the smallest at just 5.19 km2.

Which is the 1st wildlife sanctuary in India?

Jim Corbett Wildlife Sanctuary, founded in 1875, is India's first wildlife reserve. The sanctuary's name was given after the naturalist and hunter Jim Corbett.

Name India's private sanctuary.

The Kodagu region of the Indian state of Karnataka is home to the SAI (Save Animals Initiative) Sanctuary. The only privately owned reserve in India is SAI Sanctuary. It occupies an area of 1.2 square kilometers.

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