Gujarat wildlife sanctuaries are known for exotic collections of flora and fauna species which call on a large number of tourists from several parts of the globe. The topographical location gifted Gujarat with 4 National Parks and 21 Wildlife Sanctuaries which are managed by the Forest Department of the Government of Gujarat.
The vast expansion of mountain range is covered with scenic landscapes, dense forests, waterfalls, mountain streams, and rivers that support rich biodiversity of wildlife reserves. It has varied landforms, ranging from dry deciduous forests, majestic grasslands, wetlands, marine ecosystems and rich moist deciduous forests. The rich biodiversity of this place has as many as 500 varieties of mammals, more than 2000 species of birds, a wide range of insects, fishes, amphibians, reptiles and many more.
Some of the famous Gujarat Wildlife Sanctuaries are
Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary
The Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary also known as Sasan-Gir is the most famous wildlife reserve in Gujarat. This national park is the only natural habitat of Asiatic lions outside Africa. It is the famous Lion sanctuary of India located at the bottom of the Saurasktra peninsula 65 km South East of Junagarh district. The sanctuary was established in 1965 with the collaboration of government and non-government agencies with the sole ambition to preserve the reducing number of Asiatic Lion. The total area of Gir National Park is 1412 sq. km out of which 258 sq. km is reserved for the National Park and 1153 sq. km for the Sanctuary.?
The topography of this place is rocky with deep valley, steep hill slopes and number of mountain streams crisscrossing the vast expanse of grassland. The dramatic set up of hill, plains and grassland proliferate the scenic charm of this wildlife reserve. Based on government data, the rich biodiversity of this national park cradles over 450 plant species, 32 mammals, 310 birds, 24 reptiles and over 2,000 species of insects. ?
Lion Safari is the foremost activities to do at this national park which provides an excellent opportunity for tourists to explore the speckled flora and fauna diversity of this national park. Regular jeep safaris are arranged for tourists for spotting Lions in specific and other wild animals in general.
Black Buck National Park
Also known as Velavadar National Park, this National Park is located around 72 km from the Bhavnagar district of Gujarat. It is the only tropical grassland in India recognized as a National park spread over an area of 35 sq.km. This wildlife reserve was once the private grassland of the ex- princely state of Bhavnagar with an area of about 1788.88 ha which was subsequently declared as a forest reserve and later became a National Park in 1976. The Black Buck National Park was initiated with an aim to preserve the decreasing number of Black Buck and Lesser Florican (a bustard). Today, this national park has the maximum population of black bucks in India.
The unique grassland eco system of this place nurtures diverse collection of flora and fauna species. Because of semi-arid climatic conditions, this place has 39 species of grasses and 46 varieties of sedges. Besides this the most sighted animals of this place are blackbuck, wild boars, antelope, jungle cat, blue bull, hyena, wolf and many more. The ecological condition of this place also cradles number of birds and avifauna species which increases the joyous experience of tourists during their visit to this place. ?
Marine National Park
The Marine National Park of Gujarat is one of its kinds in India in the Gulf of Kutch, 30 km. from Jamnagar. It is the first marine park of the country established in 1982 and spread over the vast area of Gulf of Mannar in the Indian Ocean. The protected area of this national park comprises of an archipelago of 42 islands which has a large population of sponges, sea turtles, finless porpoise, dugong and corals. The most awe-aspiring view of this place is the coral creating marvelous structures. The colorful limestone fortresses of coral enthrall tourists most during a visit to this national park. ?
During the months of monsoon, more than 30 different species of migratory birds flock here. Among all the birds, the most prominent is threatened Indian bustard that comes here and finds a refuge in certain pockets of this protected area. At this place tourist also get an opportunity to see the world only four-horned antelope, the chowsingha, which is found here in large numbers. Glass-bottomed boats are available at this place that take tourists to be several nearby visiting areas. But access to the islands is prohibited. The scenic charm of diverse flora, fauna, avifauna and scores of seaweeds can be viewed from glass-bottomed boats. ?
Other popular wildlife sanctuaries and national parks of this Gujarat are Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary, Barda Wildlife Sanctuary, Porbandar Bird Sanctuary, Jambuhoda Wildlife Sanctuary, Pania Wildlife Sanctuary and many more.
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