India is the 7th largest nation in the world with an area of 3,287,469 km² out of which 21.54% is covered in forests. Making a 708,273 km² of forest area, which is a great thing for a constantly developing nation like India. From 2015, India has shown a +0.21% growth in forest land and this was achieved due to reserving forest area by making them wildlife sanctuaries.
Wildlife Sanctuaries are the places where flora and fauna are protected from deforestation and hunting. This is very important to protect both plants and animals because their extinction will directly affect human lives too. India realized this thing along before other nations started to worry about it. That is why India is the last place where you can find species like Snow Leopard, Asiatic Lion, One-Horned Rhinoceros and a comparatively large population of Asian Tigers. All of this was achieved due to wildlife conservation sanctuaries. So’ here is a list of 10 Most Popular Wildlife Sanctuaries In India.
1. Corbett National Park
Named after British hunter turned conservationist Jim Corbett, Corbett National Park is one of the oldest national parks in India. It was founded back in 1936 is located in lower Himalayan regions of Uttarakhand. Corbett National Park is spread over a wide area of 1,318.54 km2 and host overs 70,000 visitors per season.
However, Tigers are the main attraction of the park several other species are also found there. These are Sambar deer, Golden Jackal, Elephants, and Indian Monitor Lizard. There are several resorts where you can stay in Corbett National Park and most of them offer facilities of jeep safari and elephant safari.
2. Ranthambore National Park
Ranthambore National Park is located in Rajasthan and is spear over an area of 1334 km2. It was first established in 1955 and was called Sawai Madhopur Game Sanctuary and in 1980 it got the title of Ranthambore National Park. Ranthambore National Park is famous for its Bengal Tigers. Alongside them, you can also find Leopards, Wild Boars, and Hyenas there that give an African theme to the park.
Furthermore, a fort is also an attraction of park which is called as Ranthambore Fort. There are many lakes present in this area and out which Padam Talao is the largest.
3. Kanha National Park
Kanha National Park is located in Madhya Pradesh was founded in 1955 and is also known as Kanha Tiger Reserve. It is spread over an area of 1,067 km2. The most interesting fact about this park is that it is the inspiration behind Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book. All the characters from the book except for the Mowgli are present in the park whether it be Bengal Tiger, Wolf, Bear, Python, and Leopard all species are present in this park.
There are over 25 resorts in Kanha National Park where you can stay. The facilities they offer include jungle safari, spa, luxury cottages, and bird watching.
4. Gir National Park
Gir National Park is situated in Gujarat and was established in 1965. Its total area is 1,412 km2 out of which 1,153 km2 is Sasan Gir Sanctuary and rest 258 km2 is a national park. This park is majorly known for being the last home to the Asiatic Lions. This species was on edge of extinction till 1990’s with just 250 lions remaining but now due to governments efforts and strict rules of the national park the lion population is above 500. Stats have shown a rise of 100 in lion population in just five years between 2010 to 2015.
Not only the rare Asiatic lion but Leopards, Striped hyenas, Peacocks and, Crocodiles are also attractions of the Gir National Park. There are safari packs available in Gir which offer food safari, food and entry fee in one.
5. Kaziranga National Park
Kaziranga National park is situated in Assam and is one of the oldest national parks in India with an establishment date of 1905. And in 1985 it was listed as World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Kaziranga is spread over an area of 430 km2 and it holds the two-thirds of the population of the rare One-Horned rhinoceros. Kaziranga National park is basically a swampy area of Brahmaputra, that makes a perfect home for the Asian elephant, wild water buffalo, swamp deer, and One-Horned rhinoceros.
Alongside these herbivorous species, Tigers and Sloth Bears are also found in Kaziranga. The population of One-Horned rhinoceros was just 12 back in 1905 when the park was formed but due to strong efforts and security, it’s now above 1800.
6. Sundarbans National Park
Sundarbans National Park is located in the state of West Bengal is named after the delta of river Ganges —Sundarbans. Sundarban word is made of two Hindi words Sundar that means beautiful and Bans that means forest hence Sundarbans stands for beautiful forests. Sundarbans National Park was established in 1973 as a Tiger Reserve but in 1984 it became a national park having a total area of 1,330 km².
Sundarbans is basically a mangrove forest hence has fertile soil and plenty of water. This kind of ecosystem makes it perfect for aquatic animals and reptiles like frogs, cobras, horseshoe crabs, sawfish, butterfish, and saltwater crocodile that live there.
7.Hemis National Park
Hemis Nation Park is located in Jammu And Kashmir and is the largest national park in India with an area of 4,400 km2. Specifically speaking Hemis National Park is located in the eastern area of Ladhak. It is also one of the highest national parks too with heights ranging from 3300 M to 6000 M above the sea level.
Hemis National Park is known for being home to the two rarest species in the world Mountain Weasel and Snow Leopard. Hemis National Park was found in 1981 with an area about 600 km2 and was named after Hemis Monastery. But till 1990 nearby land was also added init making it 4,400 km2.
8. Great Himalayan National Park
Great Himalayan National Park is located in the state of Himachal Pradesh and was founded in the year 1984. It is also one of the highest national parks ranging from 1500 and 6000 m above sea level. Great Himalayan National Park has a total area of 1,171 km2. And it is home to 31 species of mammals and its main attraction 181 species of birds.
Alongside, various birds the other attraction Great Himalayan National Park are Blue Sheeps, Himalayan Tahr, and Himalayan Brown Bear. In 2014 it got the tag of UNESCO World Heritage Site.
9.Desert National Park
Desert National Park is located in Rajasthan and is the 2nd largest national park in India with an area of 3162 km². Most of this area is deserted and some very few strong species can survive there. This national park is known for fossils. Alongside 6 million years old Dinosaur fossils some 180 million years old plant fossils were also recovered there.
Being a deserted area Desert National Park doesn’t have a large flora and fauna but still its the home to some very rare bird species like Sam Sand Dunes and Indian bustards which can only be found in this park.
10. Bandipur National Park
Bandipur National Park is located in the state of Karnataka. It has an area of 874.20 square kilometers and was established in 1974 as a tiger reserve. This park is basically located in the Western Ghats and has a wide range of flora and fauna. Making this area a national park has greatly increased animal population.
Bandipur National Park is mostly known for Tigers, Elephants, Dhole and most importantly a rare deer species called as Muntjac. There are three rivers flowing through this park Moyal, Kabini, and Nugu. These rivers provide a great ecosystem and are home to Indian Crocodiles.