A sanctuary is a “place of safety”. A wildlife sanctuary is a place where wildlife can live or pause during migration and be protected from most human-created disturbances and sometimes weather calamities.
A National Park is a tract of land managed by the National Park Service. Many national parks are also wildlife sanctuaries in that they protect wildlife and their habitat. National parks must also allow visitors to access the land and the wildlife, but other wildlife sanctuaries do not necessarily imply easy access for people. National parks and sanctuaries are administered at the state level and are promoted by them as tourist attractions, which earns them sufficient revenue to keep the sanctuaries running.
Table of Content
- 1 Wildlife Sanctuary in India
- 2 Dos & Don’ts in a Wildlife Sanctuary
- 2.1 Blend in with the natural surroundings
- 2.2 Do not litter the forest
- 2.3 Keep your calm and maintain composure
- 2.4 Remember that animals by nature are shy and tend to hide
- 2.5 Be careful not to leave any combustible material around carelessly
- 2.6 Never stray away from the group, especially at riversides
- 2.7 Keep alcohol and other intoxicants away
- 2.8 Do not disturb anything in the forest
- 2.9 Report any instance of irresponsible behavior on the part of visitors or even staff /guides
India is home to several fabulous wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, which makes this country a nature lover’s paradise. The wildlife sanctuaries in India are home to around two thousand different species of birds, 3500 species of mammals, nearly 30,000 different kinds of insects and more than 15000 varieties of plants. Travellers from all across the globe come to India to take a look at its rich wildlife and natural vegetation.
There are as many as 80 national parks and over 441 wildlife sanctuaries in India, covering nearly 4.5% of the total geographical area of the country. Scattered all across the country, these sanctuaries and parks attract tourists with their beautiful landscapes, amazing rock formation and diverse range of flora and fauna. Most of these sanctuaries were originally private hunting grounds of the former Indian aristocratic families.
Wildlife Sanctuary in India
- Kaziranga National Park
- Jim Corbett National Park
- Ranthambhore National Park
- Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary
Kaziranga National Park
Kaziranga is a title of a remarkable success story of conservation of the One Horned India Rhinoceros and other wild lives in North-East India. It is not only the homeland of the Great Indian One Horned Rhinoceros but also provides shelter to a variety of wild lives.
Located on the banks of the mighty Brahmaputra River in the far North East of India, Assam, Kaziranga National Park covers an area of approximately 430–sq–km with its swamps and tall thickets of elephant grass making it the ideal habitat for the Indian One-Horned Rhino. Due to the limitless poaching of this prehistoric survivor, the Kaziranga National Park has declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1940.
Besides these, the park has a respectable avian population, which increases considerably in the winter, when migrating birds visit the park. Kaziranga National Park is a birding paradise; the grasslands are a raptor country that can be seen on safari makes a remarkable experience.
These include the Oriental Honey Buzzard, Black–Shouldered Kite, Black Kite, Brahminy Kite, Pallas’s Fishing Eagle, White Tailed Eagle, Grey-Headed Fishing Eagle, Himalayan Griffon etc. Huge numbers of migratory birds descend on the parks lakes and marshy areas during winters, including Greylag Geese, Bar–Headed Geese, Ruddy Shelduck, Gadwall, Falcated Duck, Red-Crested Pochard and Northern Shoveller.
Best Time to Visit Kaziranga National Park
Kaziranga’s visiting season is from mid–November to early April months. During the monsoons, the Brahmaputra River bursts its banks, flooding the low–lying grasslands and causing animals to migrate from one area to another within the Kaziranga National Park.
Jim Corbett National Park
Corbett National Park is one of India’s most beautiful wildlife areas has a tiger population of around 160, which makes this park the last and the most important bastion of this endangered species in India.
Corbett National Park situated in the foothills of the Himalayas, in the state of Uttarakhand is a haven for wildlife lovers in India. The present area of the Corbett national park is 1318.54 sq. km. including 520 sq. km. of a core area and 797.72 sq. km. of buffer area. The core area of the Corbett tiger reserve forms the Corbett National Park while the buffer contains reserve forests (496.54sq.km.) as well as the Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary (301.18sq.km.)
Flat valleys are interspersed with hilly ridges and the Park’s rolling grasslands provide an excellent view of its rich ecosystem. Corbett Park’s 1318.54 square kilometres of virgin forest and jungle are home to numerous other species of fauna. The rich biodiversity of the park is a perfect place for bird enthusiasts; the area is considered one of the best bird-watching areas in India, with some 600 species having been sighted in the park.
Main flora in the Corbett National Park: The main vegetation found at Corbett Park is Sal, khair, ber, kuthber, bel, chbilla, dhak, semal, khingan, kharpat, rohini, bakli, pula and bamboo.
Wildlife at Corbett National Park: The Corbett National Park is very rich in wildlife, the major wildlife found in Corbett Park Tiger, leopard, elephant, spotted deer, sambar, nilgai, hog deer, barking deer, sloth bear, wild boar, ghural, langur and rhesus monkey.
Birds at Corbett National Park: At Corbett National Park more than 600 species and subspecies of birds are found, the major birds are Peacock, pheasant, pigeon, owl, hornbill, barbet, lark, myna, magpie, minivet, patridge, thrush, tit, nuthatch, wagtail, sunbird, bunting, oriole, kingfisher, drongo, dove, woodpecker, duck, teal, eagle, stork, cormorant, falcon, bulbul, flycatcher, redstart and gull.
Reptiles at Corbett National Park: Corbett National Park is no less when it comes to aqua fauna and reptiles. The most found reptiles are Indian marsh crocodile or mugger, gharial, king cobra, common krait, cobra, Russels viper, python and monitor lizard. The fishes found here are golden mahsheer fish and Goonch Catfish other than many more found.
Best time to visit Corbett National Park
Corbett National Park remains open throughout the year for the visitors from Khara zone of the Corbett national park but the best time to visit Corbett national park is from 15th October to 30th June because during this period of time almost the tourism zones of Corbett national park are open for visitors coming to Corbett national park and one can visit almost the entire national park area.
Ranthambhore National Park
The name Ranthambore is derived from two hills in the area, Ran and Thanbhor. Another version says that Ranthambhore was once called Rana Stambhapura or City of the Pillars of War. Ranthambore National Park is one of the biggest and most renowned national parks in Northern India.
The park is located in the Sawai Madhopur district of southeastern Rajasthan, which is about 130 km from Jaipur. Being considered as one of the famous and former hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur, today the Ranthambore National Park terrain is a major wildlife tourist attraction spot that has pulled the attention of many wildlife photographers and lovers in this destination.
Ranthambore National park is spread over an area of 1,334 sq km along with its nearby sanctuaries such as the Mansingh Sanctuary and the Kaila Devi Sanctuary. The park is majorly famous for its tigers and is one of the best locations in India to see the majestic predators in its natural habitat. The tigers can be easily spotted even during the daytime busy at their ordinary quest– hunting and taking proper care of their young ones.
Ranthambore is also counted as a famous heritage site because of the pictorial ruins that dot the wildlife park. Certainly, a visit to Ranthambore National Park is a treat for every wildlife and nature lover. The time spend watching tigers roaming around, verdant greenery, a gamut of other species of chirpy birds and animals is priceless and worth enough to be explored at least once in a life.
Animals: Tigers, Leopards, Striped Hyenas, Sambar deer, Chital, Nilgai, Common or Hanuman langurs, Macaques, Jackals, Jungle cats, Caracals, Sloth bears, Blackbucks, Rufous-tailed Hare, Indian Wild Boar, Chinkara, Common Palm Civets or Toddy cat, Common Yellow Bats, Desert Cats, Five striped Palm Squirrels, Indian False Vampires, Indian Flying Foxes, Indian Foxes, Indian Gerbilles, Indian Mole Rats, Indian Porcupines, Long-eared Hedgehogs, Ratels, Small Indian Mongoose, Small Indian Civets and Common mongoose.
The Reptiles in the Ranthambore Wildlife Sanctuary: Snub-Nosed Marsh Crocodiles, Desert Monitor Lizards, Tortoise, Banded Kraits, Cobras, Common Kraits, Ganges Soft Shelled Turtles, Indian Pythons, North Indian Flap Shelled Turtles, Rat Snakes, Russel’s Vipers, Saw–scaled Vipers and the Indian Chameleon.
The Fish in the Ranthambore National Park: Ranthambore, due to its numerous water bodies, has a relatively large variety of fish to boast of. These species consist of Bita (Labio Rohita), Catla (Catla catla), Greyei (Chhana matulion), Lanchi (Walago auto), Mahseer (Tor tor), Mirgal (Cirrchinus mrigala), Rohu (Labio rohita), Savank (Chhana punctatus), Seenghari (Mystus seenghala)
Best time to visit Ranthambhore National Park
October to March. The park is closed from June to October. While May and June are hot, the increasing scarcity of water as summer approaches makes wildlife sighting easier as the animals flock to the waterholes.
Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary
It lies on the northern and northwestern side of the Nilgiri (Blue Mountains), about 80 km north-west of Coimbatore in the extreme northwestern corner of Tamil Nadu, on the interstate boundaries with Karnataka and Kerala states in southern India. This 321–sq–km wide sanctuary includes a National Park measuring an area of 103–sq–km.
The sanctuary has various mixtures of flat land, open grassland, swamp and valleys. Apart from the wide range of animal and birdlife, the rich fauna of this sanctuary has made Mudumalai very popular with wildlife enthusiasts. It was the first sanctuary in South India and was established in the year 1940. It covers an area of 321 sq. Km. comprising of pristine tropical wilderness. The place is rich in its biodiversity especially the avifauna (Birds).
The river Moyar that flows along the border or Tamil Nadu and Karnataka separates the two. The Mysore – Ooty highway runs through the park. Mudumalai forest attracts a large number of wildlife enthusiasts every year, coming from all over the planet. To accommodate the increasing number of tourists, the Indian Forest
Department located in Mudumalai National Park created many wildlife resorts and forest lodges situated in Mudumalai forest itself. It is included as part of the Nilgiri Biosphere reserve which is the first of its kind to be declared as a biosphere reserve in the country.
A variety of habitats ranging from Tropical Evergreen forest, Moist mixed deciduous, Moist Teak forest, Dry teak forest, Secondary grasslands, Shrubs and Swamps exists here. The bird diversity in these habitats is unbelievably rich and is a welcoming place for bird watchers from everywhere. This park harbours over 200 species of birds from 48 families and is one of the richest bird areas in the State of Tamilnadu.
Some of the rarely seen Birds of prey like the rufous–bellied hawk eagle can be occasionally seen in this sanctuary. Nights are fascinating especially during the month of April when the whole sanctuary is illuminated with millions of glowworms.
The wildlife in the Mudumalai National Park can be divided into the following categories:
The major wildlife in the Mudumalai National Park include,
- The Asian elephant, Tiger, Leopard, Gaur, Hyena
- Jackal, Sloth Bear, Sambar, Chital, Muntjac
- Mouse Deer, Wild Boar, Stripe–necked Mongoose, Nilgiri Tahr (adjoining areas), Porcupine
- Giant Flying Squirrel, Bonner Macaque, Barking Deer, Four–horned Antelope, Otter and Langurs
Eight per cent of bird species in India occur in Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary. Among the 227 bird species found in Mudumalai, 110 species are insectivores, 62 are carnivores, 23 species are fishivores, 12 species are omnivores and 20 species are grainivores. These include the unique near-threatened Black– and–Orange Flycatcher.
The major birds found in the Mudumalai National Park include,
- The Crested Hawk Eagles, Crested Serpent Eagle, Malabar Trogon,
- Malabar Whistling Thrush, Large Racket–Tailed Drongos
- Spotted Babbler, Green Pigeons, Brown Dove, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Parakeets
- Bulbuls, Cuckoos, Hornbills, Scops Owl, Tiny–eared Owl
- Black Woodpecker, Mynas, Barbets, Buzzards, Harriers, Falcons and the King vulture.
Mudumalai forest can be found among the picturesque surroundings of Tamil Nadu. Nilgiri Hills is a part of the Mudumalai National Park, which, in turn, is a component of the greater Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.
- The reptile population in the Mudumalai National Park mainly consists of the Crocodiles and Pythons.
- Common Krait and Bamboo Pit Snake are the other major reptiles in the park.
- The park also supports a variety of turtles, frogs and amphibians.
The entire sanctuary can be covered by car or on trained elephants provided by the Forest Department on hire. The best season to visit the sanctuary is during March–June.
The sanctuary is divided into 5 ranges – Masinagudi, Thepakadu, Mudumalai, Kargudi and Nellakota.
The Mudumalai Sanctuary is as an important wildlife habitat due to its strategic position as a Wildlife corridor between several other protected areas that are a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.
- To the north is the Bandipur National Park and Nagarhole National Park.
- To the west is the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and in the south are Mukurthi National Park and Silent Valley National Park.
- To the east is the Segur plateau, which connects to the Sathyamangalam wildlife sanctuary and Reserve forests and Biligirirangan Hills Wildlife Sanctuary.
These parks, sanctuaries and the adjoining Reserve forests cover over 3,300 square kilometres (1,300 sq mi) of forest supporting a population of 1800– 2300 elephants.
There are three main types of forest in the sanctuary:
Tropical moist deciduous occur in the western Benne Block, where rainfall is higher than in the other blocks. Tropical dry deciduous forest occurs in the middle and southern tropical dry thorn forests are in the east. In addition, there are patches of tropical semi-evergreen forest in the Southwest and Western part of Mudumalai. The annual rainfall there exceeds 2,000 mm (79 in).
The nearest airport is at Coimbatore (160 km (99 mi)) and the closest railway station, is at Udhagamandalam (67 km (42 mi)). However, in terms of travel practicality, the convenient railway station is at Mysore (90 km (56 mi), which is on the major broad gauge line and is served by trains from across the country.
- The park is most conveniently accessible by road from Mysore on NH 212 to Gundlupet, then NH 67 to Teppakadu.
- A little past Bandipur crosses the Ari Gouder bridge to a state border check post, passing here one will enter Mudumalai National Park. Coming from Ooty, there are two different routes.
- One is via Kallatty, 36 km (22 mi) from Ooty on the Masinagudi road that has 36 hairpin bends through natural forests.
- The other route is by NH 67 via Gudalur, which is 67 km (42 mi) from Ooty. There are regular bus services that connect all the major adjoining cities with this sanctuary.
Dos & Don’ts in a Wildlife Sanctuary
- Blend in with the natural surroundings
- Do not litter the forest
- Keep your calm and maintain composure
- Remember that animals by nature are shy and tend to hide
- Be careful not to leave any combustible material around carelessly
- Never stray away from the group, especially at riversides
- Keep alcohol and other intoxicants away
- Do not disturb anything in the forest
- Report any instance of irresponsible behavior on the part of visitors or even staff /guides
Blend in with the natural surroundings
The first and simplest rule is to blend in with the natural surroundings; no loud noises, no jarring colours, no bright lights if you are on a night safari etc. You will get to spot more wildlife if your presence is not made obvious; it is with a purpose that dull colours like browns, olive greens and khakis are worn on safaris. Flash and spotlights for photography are prohibited to prevent startling animals.
Do not litter the forest
While this reflects poorly on your upbringing and basic concepts of hygiene and orderliness, it also airs out a callous attitude towards the protection of the environment. Avoid using polythene bags, tetra packs and other bio non–degradable material or if they have to be used, carry them back with you after use, to be disposed off properly. They can harm animals if they are accidentally eaten by them and spoil the beauty of the sanctuary.
Keep your calm and maintain composure
This should be followed when in close proximity with animals. Children must be entrusted with able persons who can control them well. It is important to maintain a reasonable distance from all the animals since approaching too closely can disturb or provoke them.
Remember that animals by nature are shy and tend to hide
When they see a ‘foreigner’ namely a human being; they are unpredictable too; that is why they are ‘wild’ animals. Thus do not attempt to catch their attention so as to lure them out by throwing stones or making noises or grimaces
Be careful not to leave any combustible material around carelessly
This can start a forest fire. Smoking is strictly prohibited in the forest to minimise the risk to the wildlife here. Also, do ensure that mosquito coils or candles are tightly secured before lighting them.
Never stray away from the group, especially at riversides
Remember that you are the guest here and the hosts need not always be hospitable here. The allotted route maps are to be strictly followed and attention should be paid to the instructions given to you by trained personnel and guides.
Keep alcohol and other intoxicants away
This can lead to serious lapses in judgment, which can prove fatal in the jungle and all its wild ways that we humans are not very well versed with.
Do not disturb anything in the forest
Avoid collecting any plants or animals. Remember it is your responsibility to leave the forest the same way you found it for the next visitor and generations to come!
Report any instance of irresponsible behavior on the part of visitors or even staff /guides
As responsible people, do the authorities a favour by reporting any instance of irresponsible behavior on the part of visitors or even staff/guides. Poaching is another evil can be combated with your support. It is needless to say that your valuable suggestions and recommendations are most welcome, which will be forwarded to the relevant team to be looked into.
Must-haves While Visiting Wildlife Sanctuary
- Mosquito / Insect Repellen
- Sunscreen, Hat and Sunglasses
- Antiseptic Cream, Medication and First Aid Kit
- Socks and comfortable, sturdy shoes or boots
- Binoculars and Camera (with Extra Film Rolls and Batteries)
- Water Bottle and Rucksack with essential food supplies
- Warm Clothing (in winters)
- Small Torch
- Personal hygiene requisites
- Rain wear and umbrella
Note: Under the Wildlife Protection Act, one can be penalised up to the amount of Rs. 25,000/– and imprisonment up to seven years for the wildlife offence.