National Parks / Wildlife Sanctuaries in West Bengal

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By: SAM
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National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries in West Bengal Notes and GK for UPSC.

National Parks of West Bengal

West Bengal, a state located in the eastern part of India, is famous for a wide range of cultural, historical, and natural attractions. This state is known for its famous Bengali culture and beautiful landscape along with delicious Bengali foods. This state has a diverse range of flora and fauna. So now we will look at the most important and famous National Parks in West Bengal.

What is a National Park?

An area of countryside, or occasionally sea or fresh water, protected by the state for the enjoyment of the general public or the preservation of wildlife under sec.35. or sec.38 or deemed, under sub-section (3) of sec.66.

There are six National Parks in West Bengal. All these are spreading over around 1300 square Kilometers. Rhinoceros, Chita, The Royal Bengal Tiger, the Red Panda, etc. are the most famous animals in these national parks in WB.

List of National Parks of West Bengal

Sl No.NameEstablishedDistrictArea sq kmFamous For
1Jaldapara National Park2014Alipurduar216.51Rhinoceros
2Buxa National Park1992Alipurduar117Tigers
3Gorumara National Park1994Jalpaiguri80Rhinoceros
4Singalila National Park1992Darjeeling78.60Red Panda
5Sundarbans National Park198424 Parganas16,900Tiger
6Neora Valley National Park1986Kalimpong159.89Red Panda

Jaldapara National Park

Jaldapara National Park is a prominent National Park located in the Alipurduar district of the state of West Bengal, India. It is renowned for its diverse flora and fauna, and it’s particularly known for being a habitat for the Indian one-horned rhinoceros.

Key features of Jaldapara National Park:

  1. Announcement: The 1941-founded Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary was upgraded to Jaldapara National Park in May 2014 with the primary goal of preserving the Indian rhinoceros.
  2. Flora: The park is primarily covered with tall grasses and dense savannah forests. The predominant vegetation includes tall elephant grasses, mixed deciduous forests, and riverine grasslands. The dominant flora are Sal and Sishu trees, a large number of ferns, shrubs, tall grass, and beautiful flowers
  3. Fauna: Jaldapara is famous for its population of Indian one-horned rhinoceros, which is one of the main attractions. Other notable wildlife species found here include Bengal tigers, elephants, Indian bison (gaur), spotted deer, sambar, barking deer, wild boars, leopards, and a variety of bird species. Fauna: Asiatic One-horned Rhinoceros leopards, Elephants, Deer, Sambar, Tiger, Jungle Cat, Hispid Hare, etc mammals are found here. A large number of birds like various types of eagles, Pigeons, Bengal floricans, Hill Mynas, etc. are also found here. Python, Monitor lizards, Kraits, Cobras, etc. reptiles are also sighted here.
  4. Avifauna: Jaldapara is a haven for birdwatchers, with over 200 species of birds recorded in the park. Some of the notable bird species include crested eagle, shikra, jungle fowl, pied hornbill, partridge, and many more.
  5. Safari and Tourism: Visitors to Jaldapara National Park can enjoy jeep safaris and elephant safaris to explore the wildlife and natural beauty of the region. The safari experiences offer a chance to witness the diverse wildlife in their natural habitats.
  6. Conservation: The park is actively involved in the conservation of endangered species like the Indian one-horned rhinoceros through various conservation and protection programs.

Jaldapara National Park is a significant biodiversity hotspot and a popular tourist destination, attracting wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers from different parts of India and around the world.

Famous For : Jaldapara National Park is famous for Asiatic One Horned Rhinoceros and Bengal florican Bird

Rhinoceros

Buxa National Park

Buxa Tiger Reserve, also referred to as Buxa National Park, is located in the Alipurduar district of West Bengal, India. It’s known for its rich biodiversity, scenic landscapes, and a designated tiger reserve. The park shares borders with Bhutan to the north and Assam to the east.

Here are some key features of Buxa Tiger Reserve (Buxa National Park):

  1. Announcement: The 15th tiger reserve in India, Buxa Tiger Reserve, was established in 1983. Buxa Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1986 and spans 315 km2 of reserve forests. 55 km2 were added to Buxa Wildlife Sanctuary in 1991. A year later, in 1992, the West Bengali government announced its plans to turn 117 km2 of the Buxa Wildlife Sanctuary into a national park. Finally, the state administration declared it a national park in that year.
  2. Flora: Buxa Tiger Reserve is characterized by diverse flora, including various types of forests such as mixed moist deciduous forests, sal forests, and savannah grasslands. It’s home to a wide range of plant species, providing habitat for a variety of wildlife.
  3. Fauna: The reserve is known for its diverse wildlife, including the Bengal tiger, Asian elephant, Indian bison (gaur), deer species like spotted deer and sambar, wild boars, leopards, and various species of primates like capped langur and hoolock gibbon.
  4. Avifauna: Buxa Tiger Reserve is a haven for birdwatchers, with over 284 species of birds recorded, including the rare and endangered Bengal florican, several species of hornbills, eagles, and waterfowl.
  5. Safari and Trekking: Tourists can explore the reserve through guided safaris, jeep rides, and trekking. There are designated routes and watchtowers from where visitors can observe the wildlife and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
  6. Historical and Cultural Significance: Buxa Fort, located within the reserve, holds historical significance and offers a glimpse into the area’s past. It was used as a detention camp during British rule. The region also has cultural diversity due to its proximity to Bhutan.
  7. Conservation: Buxa Tiger Reserve is an important conservation area, playing a crucial role in the conservation of the Bengal tiger and other endangered species through various conservation and protection efforts.

Famous For: Tiger

Buxa Tiger Reserve is a popular destination for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers seeking to explore the beauty of the Eastern Himalayas and its diverse flora and fauna.

tiger

Gorumara National Park

Gorumara National Park is a well-known national park located in the Terai region of the Himalayan foothills in the state of West Bengal, India. It’s situated in the Jalpaiguri district and is known for its rich biodiversity and lush forested areas.

Key features of Gorumara National Park:

  1. Announcement: Gorumara, a reserve forest since 1895, was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1949 due to the presence of breeding Indian rhinoceroses there. On January 31, 1992, it received official status as an Indian National Park.
  2. Flora: Gorumara is characterized by dense forests, predominantly mixed moist deciduous forests with sal trees, teak, and grasslands. The park is also known for its riverine vegetation along the Murti and Jaldhaka rivers.
  3. Fauna: The park is renowned for its diverse wildlife, including the Indian one-horned rhinoceros, Indian elephants, Bengal tigers, leopards, Indian bison (gaur), spotted deer, sambar deer, wild boars, and various species of reptiles and birds.
  4. Avifauna: Gorumara National Park is a paradise for birdwatchers, boasting a vast array of avian species. Some of the prominent birds found in the park include the Asian paradise flycatcher, pied hornbill, crested serpent eagle, red junglefowl, and many more.
  5. Safari and Tourism: The park offers jeep safaris and elephant safaris for visitors to explore and experience the wildlife and natural beauty of the region. The safaris provide an opportunity to spot wildlife and enjoy the picturesque landscapes.
  6. Rivers and Water Bodies: Gorumara is intersected by the Murti and Jaldhaka rivers, which enhance the beauty of the park and provide a vital water source for wildlife.
  7. Conservation: Gorumara National Park is an essential conservation area, playing a vital role in the protection and conservation of endangered species, especially the Indian one-horned rhinoceros.

Famous for: Indian Rhinoceros

Gorumara National Park is a popular eco-tourism destination and a significant wildlife habitat, attracting nature enthusiasts, wildlife photographers, and tourists seeking to witness the natural splendor and diverse wildlife that the region has to offer.

gorumara national park

Singalila National Park

Singalila National Park is a prominent national park located in the Darjeeling district of the Indian state of West Bengal. It is known for its stunning landscapes, high-altitude trekking routes, and breathtaking views of the Eastern Himalayas, including the world-famous Kanchenjunga Mountain.

Key features of Singalila National Park:

  1. Announcement: In 1986, the park was established as a wildlife sanctuary, and in 1992, it became an Indian national park.
  2. Flora: The park is characterized by diverse vegetation, including lush temperate and alpine forests. You can find various rhododendron species, oak trees, magnolias, and bamboo groves throughout the park.
  3. Fauna: Singalila is home to a variety of wildlife, including the red panda, leopard, Himalayan black bear, barking deer, and several species of pheasants. Birdwatchers can spot various bird species, such as blood pheasants, satyr tragopans, and many more.
  4. Himalayan Views: Singalila National Park is renowned for its stunning panoramic views of the Himalayas, including Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makalu, Lhotse, and other prominent peaks. It’s a popular trekking destination for those seeking breathtaking mountain views.
  5. Scenic Trekking Trails: The park is renowned for its trekking trails, including the famous Singalila Ridge Trek. Trekkers can enjoy panoramic views of the Himalayan peaks, including Kanchenjunga, Makalu, and Everest, while traversing the ridge.
  6. Breathtaking Views: The park offers some of the most stunning views of the Eastern Himalayan range. On a clear day, you can witness the sunrise over the snow-clad peaks, a sight that attracts many tourists and trekkers.
  7. Biosphere Reserve: Singalila National Park is part of the Kangchenjunga Biosphere Reserve, which is recognized as a UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves. This designation highlights its ecological significance and conservation efforts.
  8. Border Area: The park shares its border with Nepal, and while trekking, you may have opportunities to cross into Nepal and visit nearby attractions like Sandakphu and Phalut.
  9. Conservation: Conservation efforts in the park focus on preserving its unique flora and fauna, including the protection of red pandas and their habitats.

Famous For: Red Panda

Singalila National Park is a haven for nature enthusiasts, trekkers, and adventure seekers. Its natural beauty and the chance to see some of the world’s highest peaks make it a popular destination for those seeking an immersive Himalayan experience.

red panda

Sundarbans National Park

Sundarbans National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a famous national park located in the delta region of the Padma, Meghna, and Brahmaputra river basins in the southern part of Bangladesh and the eastern part of India, specifically in the state of West Bengal. It is renowned for its unique ecosystem, which includes mangrove forests, tidal waterways, and a diverse range of wildlife, including the Bengal tiger.

  1. Announcement: In 1973, the core area of the Sundarban Tiger Reserve was established, and in 1977, the area was declared as a wildlife sanctuary. It became a national park on May 4th, 1984.
  2. Mangrove Forests: Sundarbans is the largest mangrove forest in the world and is characterized by an intricate network of tidal waterways, mudflats, and small islands formed by the confluence of several rivers and the Bay of Bengal. The mangroves play a crucial role in protecting the coastal areas from erosion.
  3. Bengal Tigers: Sundarban is famous for being the habitat of the Bengal tiger, and it is one of the few places on Earth where these tigers are known to be able to swim. They are excellent swimmers and are known to traverse the water channels of the delta in search of prey.
  4. Flora: The mangrove forests of the Sundarbans are rich in biodiversity, with a variety of mangrove species, including the Sundari trees (Heritiera fomes), which the region is named after. Other prominent species include Gewa, Baen, Passur, Goran, and Kankra.
  5. Fauna: Sundarbans is famous for its Bengal tiger population, and it’s one of the largest habitats for the Bengal tiger. Other wildlife includes saltwater crocodiles, spotted deer, wild boars, Indian pangolins, various species of birds, and estuarine fish.
  6. Avifauna: The Sundarbans is a haven for birdwatchers, with a rich avifauna that includes a diverse range of bird species such as kingfishers, herons, eagles, parrots, and migratory birds.
  7. Aquatic Life: The park is home to diverse aquatic life, including various fish species, prawns, and crabs. The estuarine ecosystem supports a significant aquatic biodiversity.
  8. Conservation: The Sundarban is critically important for the conservation of several endangered species, including the Bengal tiger and the saltwater crocodile. Conservation efforts are in place to protect the ecosystem and its inhabitants.
  9. Tourism: The park attracts tourists and nature enthusiasts who visit to explore its natural beauty, wildlife, and serene waterways. Boat safaris and guided tours are popular ways to experience the park.
  10. Threats: The Sundarbans face several challenges, including habitat loss due to rising sea levels, pollution, and illegal poaching. Conservation organizations and governments are working to address these issues.

Famous For: Bengal tiger and Sundari trees

Sundarbans National Park is not only a vital wildlife habitat but also a place of great ecological significance. Its unique combination of mangrove forests, rivers, and wildlife makes it a remarkable destination for ecotourism and nature conservation.

sundarbans mangrove forest

Neora Valley National Park

Neora Valley National Park is a pristine national park situated in the northeastern state of West Bengal, India. It is located in the Kalimpong district and shares its borders with Bhutan. Neora Valley National Park is known for its rich biodiversity, stunning landscapes, and unique flora and fauna.

Key features of Neora Valley National Park:

  1. Announcement: It was established in 1986.
  2. Flora: The park is characterized by dense virgin forests, and it is home to a wide variety of plant species, including rhododendrons, bamboo, oak, ferns, and several rare and endemic orchid species.
  3. Fauna: Neora Valley National Park is renowned for its diverse wildlife. Some of the prominent animal species found here include the elusive red panda, Himalayan tahr, clouded leopard, leopard, black bear, serow, goral, and various species of pheasants and birds.
  4. Avifauna: The park is a haven for birdwatchers, with over 265 species of birds recorded. Some of the notable bird species include the Himalayan monal pheasant, kalij pheasant, and various species of eagles and woodpeckers.
  5. Scenic Beauty: Neora Valley is known for its picturesque landscapes, including lush green valleys, meadows, and crystal-clear streams. It offers breathtaking views of the Eastern Himalayan mountain range.
  6. Trekking and Adventure: The park provides opportunities for trekking and adventure activities, making it a favorite destination for trekkers and nature enthusiasts. Trails like the Rachela Pass trek and the Lava to Neora Valley trek are popular among adventurers.
  7. Conservation: Neora Valley National Park is significant for the conservation of its unique biodiversity. Efforts are in place to protect the red panda and other endangered species that call this region home.
  8. Cultural Diversity: The park is surrounded by small villages inhabited by diverse ethnic communities, including Lepchas, Bhutias, and Sherpas, which add to the cultural richness of the region.

Famous for: Red Panda.

Neora Valley National Park is a hidden gem in the Eastern Himalayas, offering visitors a chance to experience the unspoiled beauty of nature, spot rare wildlife, and enjoy the tranquility of the pristine environment.

Neora Valley National Park

List of Wildlife Sanctuary in West Bengal

West Bengal is home to several wildlife sanctuaries that play a vital role in conserving the rich biodiversity of the region. Please note that new sanctuaries may have been established or changes may have occurred since my last update. Here is a list of 16 notable wildlife sanctuaries in West Bengal:

  1. Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary: Located in Darjeeling district, established in 1915.
  2. Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary: Located in the Darjeeling district, to protect the Indian Bison and Royal Bengal Tiger.
  3. Chapramari WLS: Located in Jalpaiguri District, famous for its elephant population.
  4. Buxa Tiger Reserve (Buxa Wildlife Sanctuary): Located in the Alipurduar sub-division of the Jalpaiguri district. It is a significant protected area and a tiger reserve known for its diverse wildlife, including tigers, elephants, and various species of deer.
  5. Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary: Situated within the Sundarbans, it is known for its interpretation center and wildlife.
  6. Haliday Island Wildlife Sanctuary: Located in the South 24 Parganas district, it is known for its diverse bird species and mangrove ecosystem.
  7. Lothian Island Wildlife Sanctuary: Located in the South 24 Parganas district, it is an important bird area with diverse bird species.
  8. Raiganj Wildlife Sanctuary: Located in the North Dinajpur district, it is known for being home to 164 species of birds.
  9. Chintamoni Kar WLS: located in in South 24-Parganas, is home to a great variety of birds, butterflies, epiphytes, ferns, orchids, and reptiles. At the Sanctuary, more than 150 different bird species have been identified.
  10. Bibhutibhusan Wildlife Sanctuary: Located in North 24 Parganas district, spotted deer and is rich in common birds.
  11. Jorepokhri Wildlife Sanctuary: Located in Darjeeling District, spotted high altitude animals like Himalayan Newt or Salamander.
  12. Ballavpur Wildlife Sanctuary: Located in the Asansol-Durgapur region of West Bengal, is home to a number of deer including the Blackbuck and Spotted deer.
  13. Bethuadahari Wildlife Sanctuary: Situated in the Nadia District, has a large population of Spotted deer, Jackal, Bengal fox, Porcupine, and Common Langur.
  14. Ramnabagan Wildlife Sanctuary: Situated in the West Midnapore district, it is known for its avian diversity and wetland habitats.
  15. West Sundarban Wildlife Sanctuary: situated in South 24-Parganas. This sanctuary has a huge stretch of productive mangrove woods, where one may find animals like the tiger, spotted deer, wild boar, estuarine crocodile, water monitor lizard, and king cobra, among others.
  16. Pakhibitan Wildlife Sanctuary: Situated in the Jalpaiguri district, popular for aquatic and migratory birds.

FAQs on National Parks are in West Bengal

West Bengal at a Glance

  • Capital: Kolkata
  • Official animal: Fishing cat
  • Area: 88,752 km²
  • Official Bird: White-throated kingfisher
  • Districts: 23 (5 divisions)
  • Official Flower: Night-flowering jasmine