Most Important Wildlife Sanctuary and Reserves

Most Important Wildlife Sanctuary and Reserves

Most Important Wildlife Sanctuary and Reserves

In India, both wildlife sanctuaries and conservation reserves play crucial roles in protecting and preserving nature and its inhabitants. Wildlife sanctuaries serve as protected areas where animals can live without disturbance, ensuring a safe and comfortable habitat for them amidst dense forests, rivers, and mountains. Similarly, conservation reserves are established to manage and safeguard the natural world and the homes of various plants and animals. Together, these initiatives are vital for maintaining biodiversity and preventing the extinction of endangered species. Some of the most important Wildlife sanctuaries and Reserves are listed below.

Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary

  • It is located in Bhagalpur District of Bihar, India.
  • The sanctuary is a 50 km stretch of the Ganges River from Sultanganj to Kahalgaon.
  • It was designated as a protected area for the endangered Gangetic dolphins in 1991.

Longwood Shola

  • Longwood Shola is the only urban shola forest in the Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu. It is a 116-hectare forest patch interspersed with grasslands.
  • The shola forest has proven to maintain the hydrological regime of the region, capturing rainwater through marshes and releasing it via streams and playing a significant role in maintaining the biodiversity
  • Home to the threatened Nilgiri marten¬†and other rare fauna and flora, the forest patch is rich in biodiversity. The Nilgiri tahr is endemic to the ecosystem.
  • Longwood Shola is an ancient forest that has nutrient-rich soil formed over hundreds of years.
  • Like other shola forests, Longwood Shola is nestled between two hills and acts as a perched aquifer, retaining the water that flows from these two hills
  • The¬†soil is dark and has a high water retention capacity.¬†Even in case of high rainfall, the soil has the capacity to absorb that water and release it in small amounts throughout the year
  • The ecosystem services provided by Longwood Shola make a case for the urgent need to preserve urban forest patches across the world.

Karai Vetti Bird Sanctuary

  • It is located in the Ariyalur district of Tamil Nadu. It is located in the northern alluvial plains of the Kaveri River.
  • It was declared as a sanctuary in 1999.
  • The sanctuary is an irrigation tank that receives water from the Mettur dam from September onwards which is supplemented by the northeast monsoons from October till January.
  • It is one of the Important Bird Areas (IBAs) of Tamil Nadu.
  • It has recorded the largest congregation of water birds among all the tanks in Tamil Nadu.
  • Important birds are Rosy pastor, Peregrine Falcon, Osprey, Marsh Harrier, Tawny Eagle, Bar-headed Goose, White stork, White necked stork, Grey pelican, and Ibis.

Magadi Kere Conservation Reserve (Karnataka)

  • It is a human-made wetland with an area of nearly 50 hectares which was constructed to store rainwater for irrigation purposes.
  • The wetland harbors two vulnerable species, namely¬†Common pochard¬†(Aythya ferina) and¬†River tern¬†(Sterna aurantia), and¬†four near-threatened species¬†namely¬†Oriental Darter¬†(Anhinga melanogaster),¬†Black-headed Ibis¬†(Threskiornis melanocephalus),¬†Woolly-necked Stork¬†(Ciconia episcopus) and¬†Painted Stork¬†(Mycteria leucocephala).
  • It is also one of the largest wintering grounds for the Bar-headed goose (Anser indicus) in Southern India. It has been declared globally as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA).

Kaziranga National Park

  • Kaziranga National Park is¬†a prestigious national park of India situated in the northeastern part of the country in the districts of Golaghat and Nagoan in the state of¬†Assam.
  • It was created in the year of 1904.
  • It was declared a National Park in 1974.
  • It was declared a tiger reserve in 2007.
  • Kaziranga was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its unique natural environment in the year of 1985.
  • The park has been identified as an Important Bird Area by the Birdlife International Society as it is home to various species of migrating and inhabitant birds.
  • It is situated on the banks of the river Brahmaputra.
  • It is majorly known for the ‚Äėbig four‚Äô species‚ÄĒ Rhino, Elephant, Royal Bengal tiger, and Asiatic water buffalo.
  • The National Highway 37 passes through it.
  •  The Diphlu River runs through it.
  •  The landscape is marked by: Tropical moist mixed deciduous forests and tropical semi-evergreen forests, tall grassesopen jungle, and short grasses 

Kuno National Park

  • Location:
    • It is located in the Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh.
    • It is nestled near the Vindhyan Hills.
  • It is named after the Kuno River (one of the main tributaries of the Chambal River) that cuts across it.
  • Initially established as a wildlife sanctuary, it was only in 2018 that the government changed its status into a national park.
  • It was selected under ‚ÄėAction Plan for Introduction of Cheetah in India‚Äô. It has gained international recognition for conservation and restoration because of the recent reintroduction of cheetahs.
  • Vegetation: The vegetation in the park varies from tropical dry deciduous forest to savannah grasslands. 
  • Landscape: It is characterized by rocky hills, ravines, and plateaus.
  • Flora: Kardhai, Salai, and Khair trees dominate the forested area.
  • Fauna:
    • The protected area of the forest is home to the jungle cat, Indian leopard, sloth bear, Indian wolf, striped hyena, golden jackal, Bengal fox, and dhole, along with more than 120 bird species.
    • It is known for its population of Asiatic lions, which were translocated from Gir National Park in Gujarat in 2021 as part of a conservation effort to establish a second population of the species.

Namdapha National Park

  • Namdapha is in fact the name of a river originating in the park and it meets the Noa-Dehing River.
  • The Noa-Dehing River is a tributary of the Brahmaputra and flows in a North-South direction in the middle of the National Park.
  • Climate: Enjoys the sub-tropical climate. The mountainous part has a mountain type of climate while the low-lying plains and valleys experience tropical climates.
  • Location:
    • It is located in the State of Arunachal Pradesh and it covers 1,985 sq km.
    • It lies in close proximity to the Indo-Myanmar-China trijunction.
    • The park is located between the¬†Dapha Bum range of the Mishmi Hills and the Patkai range.
    • It is the¬†fourth-largest national park in India.
    • The first three are Hemis National Park in Ladakh, Desert National Park in Rajasthan, and Gangotri National Park in Uttarakhand.
  • Legal Status:
    • It was established as a national park in 1983, and it was declared a Tiger Reserve in the same year of 1983 in the same year.
    • It is also on the¬†Tentative List of¬†UNESCO World Heritage Sites¬†in India.
  • Biodiversity:
    • This protected area has more than 1000 floral species and more than 1400 faunal species.
    • It is also a part of¬†the biodiversity hotspot.
    • It is¬†the only park in the World to have the four Feline species of big cat¬†namely the¬†Tiger (Panthera Tigris),¬†Leopard (Panthera Pardus),¬†Snow Leopard¬†(Panthera Uncia), and¬†Clouded Leopard¬†(Neofelis nebulosa).
    • It is also famous for Critically Endangered species like the Namdapha flying squirrel, species that was last spotted in 1981.
    • Hoolock Gibbons, the only ‚Äėape‚Äô species found in India is found in this National Park.
  • Vegetation: The vegetation is characteristic of tropical evergreen forests (Tropical Rain Forests

Kamlang Tiger Reserve

  • Location: It is located in the southeastern part of Lohit District in Arunachal Pradesh near the border with Myanmar.
  • It is¬†named after the the Kamlang River, which flows¬†through the reserve¬†and joins the Brahmaputra.¬†
  • It is spread between the famed Namdapha National Park on its south and Lang River on its north.
  • The¬†local inhabitants are Hishmi, Digaru, and Mizo.
  • Landscape: It encompasses a diverse range of landscapes, including dense tropical forests, grasslands, rivers, and hills.
  • Climate: It enjoys a sub-tropical climate as it falls within the sub-tropical zone.
  • Vegetation:
    • The vegetation may broadly be¬†classified into tropical, temperate, and alpine.
    • The lower reaches and foothills of the region are covered with tropical wet evergreen forests, while the alpine vegetation dominates the higher altitudes.
  • Flora: Common species of trees in the reserve include Ammora wallichi (Amari), Gmelina arborea (Gamari), Terminalia chebula (Hillika), Canarium resigniferum (Dhuna) and many others.
  • Fauna:
    • All four big cats, including the Snow Leopard, Clouded Leopard, Leopard and Tiger, are the common inhabitants. 
    • Certain endangered species, such as Himalayan Palm Civets, Leopard Cat, Slow Lories and Hoolock Gibbon, can also be spotted in the sanctuary. 
    • Other species commonly found here are Giant and Flying Squirrels, Hornbills, Deer, Civets, Boar, Capped Langur, Stump Tailed Macaque etc.

Satkosia Gorge Sanctuary

  • It owes its name to the narrow stretch of River Mahanadi i.e. ‚ÄúSat-Kosh” or seven miles long near Tikarpada, 60 km south of Angul.
  • The area was made a sanctuary in 1976 and spreads out in four districts of Odisha namely Angul, Budh, Cuttack and Nayagarh.
  • The Satkosia Gorge is a unique feature in geomorphology of India because here Mahanadi cuts right across the Eastern Ghats and has formed a magnificent gorge.
  • Fauna: It is known for Gharials, Mugger crocodile and rare freshwater turtles like Chitra indica and Indian softshell turtle.

Baisipalli Sanctuary

  • It gets its name from the 22 settlements existing within its span.
  • It was given the status of sanctuary in May 1981.
  • It is located where the Mahanadi River passes through a gorge in the Eastern Ghats mountains in Nayagarh District.
  • The whole area is a part of the Deccan Peninsula Biogeographic Zone, Eastern Plateau province and Eastern Ghat sub-division.
  • Flora and Fauna: It is a sal dominated forest with a significant number of tigers, leopards, elephants, herbivores like Chousingha and water birds, reptilians, e

Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park

  • Designated as a Biosphere Reserve, the Gulf of Mannar is one of the biologically richest coastal regions in all of mainland of India.
  • It is the first Marine Biosphere Reserve in the South and South East Asia.
  • Location: It is located 160 km between Dhanushkodi and Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu.
  • This Marine Biosphere Reserve encompasses a chain of 21 islands (2 islands already submerged) and adjoining coral reefs off the coasts.
  • Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park, established in 1980, boasts three surreal aquatic ecosystems ‚Äď mangroves, seagrass, and coral reef. 
  • Flora:
    • The intertidal areas are dominated by mangroves belonging to the Rhizophora, Avicennia, Bruguiera genus.
    • Seagrass is another prolific species, about 12 species exist here.
    • About 150 species of seaweeds to are found in the waters. There is one endemic plant, a flowering herb called Pemphis acidula on the parklands. 
  • Fauna:
    • Dugong, an endangered marine mammal, is the main attraction of the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park.
    • It has recorded some 117 species of hard Coral. It is home to different vulnerable whales like humpback whales, blue whales, fin whales, etc

Related Links:

Wildlife Protection Act 1972Ramsar Convention and Ramsar Sites in India
Major Mountain Ranges in IndiaRiver Systems in India
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