Wildlife Sanctuaries in India

Wildlife Sanctuaries Map of India

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*Map showing the Wildlife sanctuaries in India. Disclaimer
No region on this planet can compete with India in terms of unmatched variety of Flora and Fauna. India's wildlife is rich and diverse. Almost 24.16 % of India's land is under forests. With its incredible variety of terrain, some of the species found in india are indigenous, and are found nowhere in the world; such as sloth bear, black buck, chausingha and Nilgai.

The popular animals found in India are the ferocious Bengal Tiger, incredible Indian Lion, Black bear, Apes, , Monkeys, Snakes, Crocodiles, Buffaloes, Asian Elephants, Spotted Deer, Sambar Deer, Hog Deer, Barking Deer, Swamp Deer, One-Horned Rhinoceros, Indian Gazelle (Chinkara), Goats and Leopards. Elephants provide the maximum excitement while exploring India. India is also famous for the largest number of bird species; out of the1300 species of birds found in India, 42 are endemic.

There are more than 500 wildlife sanctuaries  and 103 National Parks in India, which attract travellers and tourists from all over the world. Be it the popular Asiatic Lion, the Royal Bengal Tiger the Flying Fox or the Nilgai you are sure to catch a glimpse of the most unique animals which are otherwise only heard of. A major attraction for tourists from all corners of the globe the wildlife sanctuaries in India are apt places for the ornithologists, wildlife photographers, researchers and simply the animal and plant lovers. In order to experience the exotic flora and fauna of the numerous wildlife sanctuaries in India you have to visit any of the few mentioned below.

Some of the major wildlife sanctuaries are Corbett National Park, Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, Khangchendzonga National Park in Sikkim, Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala, Neyyar Sanctuary, Blackbuck National Park, Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary and so on. There are some hotels, resorts or guesthouses to cater to the lodging needs of tourists. One can see these sanctuaries accompanied by a guide, provided by the local travel agents.

Out of the 34 biodiversity rich spots in the world, three lie in India; they are the Western Ghats, the Eastern Himalayas and Indo-Burma region. There are 18 biosphere reserves in India. These aim at securing the ecosystem by stopping irresponsible interference of humans with the ecosystem and also to conserve the endemic and endangered species. Out of these 18, 4 are part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

The protected area, in India, covers almost 5% of total geographical area of the country. Scattered all across the country, these sanctuaries and parks offer a spectacular treat to the visitors 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.

Paying a visit to India's wildlife sanctuaries is something that one should not rule out when on a holiday to this country. To a great extent, the wildlife depends on the flora or the vegetation in the region. The vegetation in the North Indian forests is mainly deciduous and coniferous.

The two main animal parks in Northern India are the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary and the more famous Jim Corbett National Park which is home to India's endangered Bengal Tiger, along with as many as 488 unusual plants and 650 animals. Around 37 different types of dragon fly have been found there. The spectacular riverine belts, hills leading into the Himalayas, marshlands and grasslands enthral the visitors.

The diverse floral count at Jim Corbett is absolutely astonishing; according to botanical survey of India Corbett has 600 species of plants including Sal, Khair-Sisso, Chir Pine and Bamboo forests. Flowering trees like Kachnar (white tom pink flowers), Semal (giant red blooms), Dhak (bright and eye pleasing orange flowers) also called the flame of the forest, Amaltas (bright yellow chandelier like blooms) and Madaar or Indian Coral (red flowers) provide a vibrancy to the region.

Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary is an ideal place for bird lovers and ornithologists. Over 200 species of native and exotic migratory birds flock here and the area has been declared an "Important Bird Area by Bird Life International". Blackbirds, Forktail, Laughing Thrush, Nut-hatchers, Parakeets and Pheasants can be seen. It is also famous as the home to endangered species likes Indian Red Fox, Jackals, Porcupines and Pine martens; besides leopard, Black Himalayan Bear, Wild boars, Kakars, Monkeys. One can watch plenty of birds and animals during trekking in forest.

These sanctuaries and forest reserves are home to several endangered species of animals and birds.

The Indian elephant is a sub-species of the Asiatic Elephant and has been enlisted as 'endangered' by IUCN - International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala is marked as the most protected area for the elephants and the tigers.

The Royal Bengal tiger, the national animal of both India and Bangladesh is listed as 'endangered' on the IUCN Red List. There are about 50 tiger reserves in India; including the Sunderban National Park, Jim Corbett, Dudhwa, Bandhavgarh etc. Tiger reserves are the best places to catch a glimpse of this big cat. The Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh is one of the largest tiger reserves of India.

The Snow Leopard is another 'endangered' species of the big cat family. It is a native of the Himalayan ranges and can be spotted at the Hemis National Park, Jammu and Kashmir; Great Himalayan National Park (World Heritage site) in Himachal Pradesh; Gangotri National Park,Uttarakhand; Khangchendzonga National Park, Sikkim; and Namdapha National Park of Arunachal Pradesh. Kaziranga National Park in Assam is known to be home to the Indian one-horned Rhinoceros.

Dudhwa National Park is another park made famous by its huge swamp deer population.

The wildlife sanctuaries of India also include the bird sanctuaries, like the one at Bharatpur in Rajasthan. Different species of birds that one can find over here is truly fascinating. The Great Indian bustard, Himalayan monal, pheasant, lammergiers, choughs, white-bellied sea eagle, white breasted swiftlet, fruit pigeons and griffon vultures are just some of the species that you can get to see here. Keoladeo National Park also known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is a World Heritage Site, a Ramsar Wetland Site and also identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by Birdlife International. The 'critically endangered' Siberian Crane which used to visit the Keoladeo National Park during winter months is extinct already it seems. These birds have not been sighted at Bharatpur since 2001.

Visits to wildlife sanctuaries bring one closer to nature. Visitors can enjoy the quiet and peaceful atmosphere of these parks while walking past the tall trees during forest tours and trails. A large number of guided wildlife safari tours are available which one can avail of in order to ensure getting the best sightings possible, although there is no guarantee.

So, for a holiday filled with excitement make sure you check out the wildlife sanctuaries in India. You are sure to have an experience that is worth cherishing.

Wildlife in North India

Naturally blessed this part of India is home to the vast Himalayas and the great Gangetic Plains. Due to its favourable climatic conditions and topographical diversity North India supports a rich mix of flora and fauna. North India provides shelter to some of the finest and the rarest wildlife in its sanctuaries. Some of the species unique to this part of the country are; bluesheep, Himalayan marmots, snow partridges, snow leopards, goats like ibex, Himalayan wolfs, makhor, etc. The list of most frequented wildlife sanctuaries in North India include; Corbett National Park, Ranthambore National Park, and Bharatpur National Park.

Wildlife in East India

If you really want to see animals in their natural habitat then a trip to the wildlife sanctuaries in East India is a must for you. Unique and diverse the wildlife of East India attracts millions of tourist from different parts of the globe. Home to some of the finest endangered species like Hispid Hare, Pigmy Hog, the One-horned Rhinoceros and the Wild Buffalos the wildlife in this part of the country is very different from the rest of India. The two most important wildlife sanctuaries in East India are the Sundarbans and the Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary.

Wildlife in South India

South India is popular all across the globe for its extraordinary, unusual and varied flora and fauna. Characterized with lush greeneries; south India houses a fascinating wildlife that consists of about 500 species of mammals, 1225 varieties of Birds and1600 types of reptiles. Some of the famous wildlife sanctuaries in the southern part of India include; The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary and the Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary. The wildlife common to South India are; Bison, Malabar Trogon, Antelopes etc.

Wildlife in West India

Ideal for the wildlife enthusiasts the western part of India supports a prominent part of India's wildlife. Supporting the growth of a distinct flora and fauna this part of India resides more than 40 mammals' species and about 450 bird species. Blessed in terms of topography and climate West India is home to some of the most popular wildlife sanctuaries in India. There are about 300 Asiatic Lions in the Sasangir Wildlife Sanctuary which is situated in Gujarat. The other important wildlife sanctuaries in West India include; Dhangadhra Sanctuary the Velavadar National Park Marine National Park and Sanctuary and many more.

Wildlife sanctuaries in India

Jim Corbett National Park: Said to be India's most beautiful wildlife reserve, Jim Corbett National Park was established in 1936. Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand, this National Park is spread over an area of 1318.54 sq. km. Home to a rich ecosystem the Jim Corbett consists rolling grasslands interspersed with rivers and valleys. An ideal place for bird watchers and nature lovers this national park in North India is the residing place of the endangered Bengal Tiger. Consisting of a diversified flora and fauna this sanctuary in India is home to about 600 different species of plants, over 650 species of birds and animals which includes gharial, elephant, chital, sambar, wild boar , King Cobra, Indian Pangolin nilgai, muntjac, common musk shrew, and the flying fox.

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary: Situated in the mighty Western Ghats the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is said to be heaven for nature lovers. Set amidst the picturesque surroundings and vast tracts of lush greeneries of Kerala this wildlife sanctuary in South India is the adobe of some of the rarest endangered species in the country. Beautiful as it is this wildlife sanctuary offers enthralling views of nature and includes a host of wildlife attractions like Barking Deer, Dole or Indian Wild Dog, Deer, Mouse and very rarely, a Tiger. There are also a number of birds that inhabit the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary which include Darters, Kingfishers, Cormorants and the Malabar Hornbill.

Gir National Park: Spread over an area of 1412 sq km the Gir National Park lies in the Gujarat Peninsular region of India. Known to be the only habitat of the world renowned Asiatic Lion, this wildlife reserve in western India is every nature lovers' dream. Consisting of a seamless blend of valleys, rivers, dense deciduous forests and swampy grasslands this national park is considered as one of the top wildlife habitats in the country. Apart from the Asiatic Lions this wildlife reserve is also famous for species like; Grey Musk Shrew, Flying Foe, Hare, Hedgehog, Small Indian Civet, Indian Pangolin, Ratel, Porcupine, Fox and Jackal. The peafowl is the most important bird found here. Kamleshwar Dam provides a large water body for marsh crocodiles, reptiles and birds.

Sariska National Park: Counted as one of the most frequented wildlife reserves in India, Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Alwar district of Rajasthan. Extending over 800 sq km of vast green milieu and encompassing certain important historical monuments, dating back to 10 century, within the vicinity of the park this wildlife sanctuary is definitely eye candy to nature and wildlife enthusiasts. The biosphere of this wildlife sanctuary includes rocky landscapes, dry deciduous forests, and hilly cliffs. Sasrika is said to be ethereal for bird watchers with some of the rarest feathered species like Grey Partridge, white breasted Kingfisher, golden backed woodpecker and the Sand Grouse. Some of the wildlife that reside in this sanctuary are; Four-horned antelope, hyena rhesus macaque, leopard, languor and the jungle cat.

Sunderbans National Park:
Synonymous with wildlife and wildlife sanctuaries in India the Sunderbans National Park is the undisputed gem in the crown of the eastern part of India. It is situated in the world's largest Delta this wildlife reserve in India spreads over an area of 4264 square km of impenetrable mangrove forests. Bestowed with the title of a UNESCO World Heritage Site the Sunderbans in Eastern India is known to be the largest tiger reserve in the country. Idyllic for bird gazers and nature lovers the Sunderbans is home to species a multitude of species apart from the Royal Bengal Tiger like; Jungle Cat, Flying Fox, Chital, Wild boar and Pangolin.

Ranthambore National Park: When talking about National Parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India Ranthambore National Park needs a definite mention. Ranked as one of the largest and most reputed national park in North India this wildlife sanctuary is situated in Rajasthan. Said to be the once famous hunting ground of the Maharajas of Jaipur this National Park sprawls over 1,334 sq km of terrain. Offering a gamut of flora and fauna and home to species such as the sambar, hyena, sloth bear, leopard, nilgai, dhole and lots more this is a place worth a visit.

List of top Wildlife Sanctuaries/Nation Parks in India

S.No.NameLocated at ( District, State)Established YearArea in KmAttractions
1Corbett National Park (Jim Corbett National Park)Nainital, Uttarakhand1936521 km2The imposing Bengal Tigers
2Ranthambore National ParkSawai Madhopur, Rajasthan1980392 km2Majestic Tigers
3Bandipur National ParkGundlupet, Chamarajanagar District, Bandipur, Karnataka1974874 km2Tiger, Asian elephant and many types of biomes
4Keoladeo Ghana National ParkBharatpur, Rajasthan190528.7 km2Avifauna Birds
5Nagarhole National ParkKodagu district and Mysore district, Karnataka1988642.39 km2Tigers, Indian bison and elephants
6Sariska National ParkNear Kraska, Alwar District, Sariska, Rajasthan1955866 km2Bengal tigers
7Kaziranga National ParkKanchanjuri, Assam1908430 km2One horned Rhinos, Tigers and Wild Buffaloes
8Bhadra Wildlife SanctuaryChikkamagaluru town, Karnataka1951492.46 km2Tiger,
9Kanha National ParkMadla/ Balaghat districts, Madhya Pradesh1955940 km2Tigers
10Sunderbans National ParkDayapur, Gosaba, West Bengal19841,330.12 km2Bengal tigers
11Bandhavgarh National ParkBadhavgarh, District Umaria, Madhya Pradesh19681,536 km2White tiger
12Gir National Park and Sasan Gir SanctuaryJunagadh District, Gir Somnath District and Amreli District Gujarat, India19651,412 km2Asiatic lion
13Periyar National ParkIdukki, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta, Kerala state, India1982305 km2Asian Elephants, Periyar Lake
14Pench National ParkTuria, Seoni Dist, Kurai, Madhya Pradesh1983758 km2Inspired Rudyard Kiplingto write 'The Jungle Book', While Tigers
15Manas National ParkFatemabad - Mathanguri Road, Jyoti Gaon, Assam1990490.3 km2wild water buffalo, Assam roofed turtle, hispid hare, golden langur and pygmy hog
16Dudhwa National ParkPalia Kalan, Uttar Pradesh1977542.67 km2Tiger and swamp deer
17Panna National ParkPanna and Chhatarpur districts, Madhya Pradesh, India1981625.4 km2 tiger
18Tadoba Andhari Tiger ReserveChandrapur, Maharashtra, India195590.44 km2Tiger
19Chinnar Wildlife SanctuaryMunnar - Udumalpet Road, Munnar, Kerala19841,171 km2Endangered grizzled giant squirrel
20The Great Himalayan National ParkSaiRopa, Kullu, Himachal Pradesh1984866.41 km2Globally threatened,musk deer and the western horned tragopan
21Dandeli Wildlife SanctuaryUttara Kannada District , Karnataka IndiaNA2.36 km2Crocodiles, great hornbill and Malabar pied hornbill
22Silent Valley National ParkMannarkkad, Palakkad District, Kerala1905820 km2Lion Tailed Macaque
23Rajaji National ParkDehradun, Uttarakhand1983107 km2Asian elephants, Bengal tigers
24Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife SanctuaryCaranzol, Goa19784,400 km2Snakes, particularly the king cobra and black panther
25Hemis National ParkLeh, Jammu and Kashmir1981101 km2Snow leopards , gompas and holy chortens
26Interview Island Wildlife SanctuaryAndaman and Nicobar Islands, Bay of BengalNA7506.22 km2Elephants
27Kachchh/ Kutch Desert WLSGreat Rann of Kutch, Kutch district, Gujarat, India19865000 Km2Greater flamingo
28Nelapattu Bird SanctuaryAndhra Pradesh 19764953.71 km2" Largest habitat for pelicans, also Babblers, Flamingos, Open Billed Stork etc
29Karakoram Wildlife SanctuaryLeh District, Jammu and Kashmir, India19874,149 km2Chiru or "Tibetan Antelope, ibetan gazalle, Himalayan ibex
30Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary (Wild Ass WLS)Little Rann of Kutch, Gujarat, India19733,568 km2Endangered Indian Wild Ass/ ghudkhar
31Dibang Wildlife SanctuaryDibang Valley , Arunachal Pradesh, India19916.14 km2rare species - mishmi takin, asiatic black bear, gongshan muntjac, red panda, red goral and musk deer
32Nagarjuna Sagar-Srisailam WLS/ Rajiv Gandhi WLSNalgonda & Mahaboobnagar, Telangana1978861.95 km2Bengal tiger
33Rollapadu Wildlife SanctuaryKurnool District, Rollapadu, Andhra Pradesh1988783 Km2Great Indian Bustard and Lesser Florican
34Papikonda Wildlife SanctuaryAndhra Pradesh 1978282 km2Tiger, Wild water buffalo was seen here till 1980s, but appears to be extinct in this region
35Pakhui/ Pakke Tiger ReserveKameng district, Arunachal Pradesh, India197726.22 km2Large cats - tiger, leopard and clouded leopard
36Kamlang Wildlife SanctuaryLohit District, Arunachal Pradesh, India19896.05 km2Elephant , Tiger, giant flying squirrel
37Mehao Wildlife SanctuaryLower Dibang Valley district, Arunachal Pradesh198020.98.62 km2Bengal tiger, hoolock gibbon, leopard and clouded leopard.
38Eaglenest Wildlife SanctuaryArunachal Pradesh 1989681.99 km2 Birdwatcher's Paradise. Main attraction is Bugun liocichla , Asian elephant, capped langur (endangered), red panda, gaur, Asiatic black bear, Arunachal macaque
39Bornadi Wildlife SanctuaryUdalguri District& Baksa District Assam, India1980551.55 Km2Pygmy hog, hispid hare (both protected)
40Garampani Wildlife SanctuaryKarbi Anglong district, Assam1952607.70 km2hoolock gibbons and golden langurs, hot springs
41Hoollongapar Gibbon SanctuaryJorhat, Assam1997608.55 km2Western hoolock gibbon and 15 species of apes
42Bhimbandh Wildlife SanctuaryMunger district, Bihar1976485.20 Km2Tigers, panthers, birds
43Achanakmar Wildlife SanctuaryBilaspur, Chhattisgarh19751,027.53 km2Tiger, leopard, bison
44Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife SanctuaryNarmada district of Gujarat 1982975 km2Python, pangolin, Flying squirrels
45Tamor Pingla Wildlife SanctuarySurajpur District, Chhattisgarh19782073 km2Elephant
46Shenbagathoppu Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife SanctuaryVirudhunagar and Madurai districts, Tamil Nadu1988423.55 km2Grizzled giant squirrel (vulnerable species), Periyar Tiger
47Cauvery Wildlife SanctuaryKarnataka, India1987219 Km2popular for Mahseer fish, birds
48Kedarnath Wildlife SanctuaryChamoli & Rudraprayag, Uttarakhand1972975 km2Endangered Himalayan musk deer
49Hastinapur WLSMeerut, Hapur, Bijnore and Amroha, in Uttar Pradesh, India19862073 km2.Twelve - Horned Deer or "Baara Singha", the State Bird - Saaras [Crane],crocodiles, turtles, playful Ganga Dolphins, Birds
50Koyna Wildlife SanctuarySatara, Maharashtra1985423.55 km2Royal Bengal Tiger and King Cobra
51Ramgarh Vishdhari Wildlife SanctuaryAlwar District, Rajasthan1955219 Km2Bengal tigers, leopards


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Last Updated on : February 13, 2019