Top 5 Wildlife Sanctuaries in India
India is bio diverse country with rich flora and fauna. Almost 5% of India is covered under forest. This makes it huge natural habitat for wide array of wild animals. Some of the most popular ones are Asiatic Lions, Bengal Tiger, rhinoceros, birds and many more. There are 515 Wildlife sanctuaries in India of which below is the top 5.
1. Corbett National Park:
Jim Corbett National Park was the first wildlife sanctuary established in India. Originally named Hailey National Park after Governor Hailey, Jim Corbett National Park was created on August 6th 1936.
This National Park of India also happens to be one of the most bio-diverse ecosystems with home to numerous species of plants and animals.
There are at least 448 species of plants, 33 species of reptiles, 7 species of amphibians and fishes, 37 species of dragon flies, 600 species of birds and an array of mammal species including Royal Bengal Tigers.
There are 3 safari zones in Jim Corbett named Jhirna, Bijrani, Dhikala. Dhikala is one of the best safari zones offering highest probability of spotting Royal Bengal Tigers. June is the best month for spotting wild animals as they come out to water holes to seek respite from heat.
Location: Nainital, 250 Kms from Delhi
Best Time: February and March
Highlight: Tigers, Spotted Deer.
Kaziranga National Park is best known for its rhinos. Kaziranga National Park has been inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site due to its natural significance. Kaziranga National Park is home to the 2/3rd of the world’s population of Great One-horned Rhinoceros.
Kaziranga is also home to large number of tigers as well. Other notable species of this national park in India include swamp deer, wild water buffalos and elephants. Two of the world’s most deadly snakes Reticulated Python and Rock Python as well as King Cobra, the longest poisonous snake also inhabit this park.
One of the woes of this park is the rampant poaching which has raised concerns from both national and international conservation organizations.
Location: Golaghat and Nagaon districts. 217 kilometers from Guwahati in Assam
Best Time: February and March
Highlight: Great One-horned Rhinoceros
The only habitat of Asiatic lion in the world, Gir deserve a special mention for number of Lions (411 as per counts in 2010).The best way to observe the big cats is, of course, in their natural surroundings, at dawn and dusk, when they are on the prowl. The Forest Department does arrange lion shows every Sunday, where the spectators can watch prides of lions on the hunt. There are guided trips available, to watch these magnificent animals from a very close range. Wildlife viewing in the Gir is best done, by driving around the forest.
Location: Sasan, Gujarat
Best Time: Wildlife enthusiasts can visit Gir park throughout the year, but the best period to visit the Gir Sanctuary is between the months of November and June
Highlight: Asiatic Lion
4. Sunderban National Park:
Dense mangrove forest which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Sunderbans is one of its kind in the world. This forest is spread across two countries Bangladesh and India (West Bengal). This magnificent jungle is one of the largest reserves for the Royal Bengal Tiger. You can access this national park by a boat and enjoy spotting several species like jungle cat, crocodiles, snakes, flying fox, wild boar and pangolin
Location: South 24 Parganas, West Bengal, India
Best Time: September till March
Highlight: Tigers, Mudflats, Mangroves.
5. Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala
Serene and tranquil, nestled at the foothills of the Western Ghats in Kerala, Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary spreads across around an area of around 750 sq. km., and is home to elephants, tigers, nilgiri tahrs and nilgiri langurs. Apart from this several endangered birds along with the elusive Malabar hornbill bird are also found here. This park is known for its picturesque beauty and enchanting views. It just works its magic on you.
Location: Thekkady, Kerala
Best Time: Oct – June
Highlight: Elephant, Tigers