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Wildlife in India - National Parks & Sanctuaries in India

There are vast variations in geography, climate and vegetation in India. As a result, there is exciting diversity in habitats, animals and birds. The Himalayas, the highest mountains in the world, offers a wide range of landscapes and wildlife. The northern plains, the course of the holy rivers Ganga and the Yamuna, the Great Thar Desert in the west, the Sundarbans Delta of the Ganga and the Brahmaputra in the east, the ancient volcanic rock of the Deccan Plateau and the Western Ghats with their dense, luxuriant forest provides fascinating variations in habitats. In India, the total area covered by wildlife is approximately 90,000 sq km and constitutes 3 per cent of the country’s land area.

India has a long tradition of protecting and preserving wildlife. The need for conservation of the environment and the forests was felt by the Indian rulers from the ancient times. In the 3rd century BC, the Emperor Ashoka issued edicts to protect forests and natural wealth. Later during the reign of the Emperor Chandragupta Maurya, “forests free from fear” were identified and protected. In more recent times, the administrators and princely rulers demarcated and reserved forests as private preserves. Today many of these form the nucleus of India’s wildlife sanctuaries and parks. Indian literature also has references for concern for earth as well as for forests and its inhabitants. Earlier, British rulers and the Indian Maharajas hunted various wildlife animals, but later the Government of  India took certain steps to protect these animals. Since 1970, wildlife has been protected by the Central and the State Government through legislation. Various Indian leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi also took a keen interest in the protection of wildlife. Due to their efforts only, the species which were on the verge of extinction have survived. The emphasis has been not only on protecting wildlife in reserved forests, but also on creating the harmony between man and animal. The demands of a rapidly increasing population continue to put pressure on surviving forests in India. Vast herds of black buck, that roamed the northern and western plains 50 years ago, are now found only in sanctuaries and around the villages of the Bishnoi tribes, who protected them. The project Tiger was started in 1973. but, today it is a massive attempt towards the conservation of the tiger and its environment. It covers 23 National Parks and Sanctuaries and its success can be judged from the fact that the number of tigers in India has gone up significantly since the project was launched.

There are about 80 National Parks and 441 Sanctuaries in India. Several national parks and sanctuaries of India are conveniently accessible by car and also have good accommodation. More than 350 mammals and 1,200 species of birds and reptiles are found in India, some of which are unique to this subcontinent. Some of these unique wild animals and birds are the white tiger, the royal Bengal tiger, the snow leopard, the Asiatic lion, the lion-tailed macaque, the Himalayan Tahr, one horned rhinoceros, the Andaman teal, the great Indian bustard and the Monal pheasant. Sighting of animals in India has a thrill of its own. Various animals like deer and elephants can be seen in small herds in dense forests and in isolated places, except the tiger. You can view the animals by either having an elephant safari, jeep safari or canter safari. Elephant safari is the best way to view these animals as everything which moves can be noticed from the height and if you are lucky, you might see a rare animal.


National Parks & Wildlife Sanctuaries in India (Statewise)

Following are some of the famous wildlife sanctuaries and national parks of India:

Name of National Park / Sanctuary

Best time to Visit

Animals & Species found

Andhra Pradesh

Kolleru Pelicanry

December - March

Pelicans, flamingo, heron, painted stork, avocent, teal and tern
Nagarjunasagar Srisailam

October – June

Tiger, panther, sloth bear, wild boar, chital, sambar, nilgai, blackbuck, jackal, fox, wolf and crocodile.


Kaziranga National Park

February - May

Great Indian one horned rhinoceros, wild buffalo, elephant, gaur, leopard cat, wild boar, civet cat, swamp deer, hog deer, sambar, tiger, python, pelican, partridge and florican
Manas National Park


Elephant, tiger, panther, gaur, wild buffalo, great Indian one-horned rhino, golden langur, civet cat, otter, swamp deer, hot, water monitor, wild boar, great pied hornbill, florican


Hazaribagh Wildlife Sanctuary

October - June

Tiger, leopard, sambar, chital, nilgai, wild boar, wild cat, peafowl, etc

Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary

October – June

Elephant, leopard, wild boar, wild cat, peafowl, etc

Palamau Wildlife Sanctuary

Throughout the year

elephant, panther, wild boar, barking deer, gaur, chital, sambar, peafowl.

Goa, Daman And Diu

Mollem Wildlife Sanctuary

November - May

Gaur, sambar, mouse deer, barking deer, panther, flying squirrel, porcupine, civet cat, ant-eater, slender loris, grey junglefowl
Gir National Park

December - mid June

Asiatic lion, panther, striped hyena, sambar, nilgai, chital, four horned antelope, chinkara, wild boar, crocodile.
Indian Wild Ass Wildlife Sanctuary
(Little Rann of Kutch)

January - mid June

Wild ass, nilgai, wolf, chinkara.
Marine National Park

November - February

Corals, octopus, puffer-fish, stork, heron, ibis, flamingo, pelican, wader.

Jammu and Kashmir

Dachigam National Park

April - November

Leopard, black bear, brown bear, serow, musk deer, hangul (barasingha).
Himachal Pradesh
The Great Himalayan National Park

April - June, Sept. to October

Thar, serow, goral, black bear, kalij, chir, koklas, chakor, partridge, civet, marten, flying fox
Bandipur National Park
(Tiger Reserve)

March - August

Indian elephant, tiger, gaur, sambar, chital, barking deer, wild dog, wild boar, jackal, sloth bear, panther, four horned antelope, Malabar squirrel, green pigeon, jungle fowl, partridge, bush quail, etc

Bennarghatta National Park

Throughout the year

Elephant, sloth bear, chital, barking deer, grey partridge, bush quail, jungle fowl, etc.
Nagarhole National Park

October - March

Elephant, tiger, panther, chital, sambar, sloth bear, junglefowl, partridge, etc.

Ranganathittoo Bird Sanctuary

July - August

Open-billed stork, white ibis, little egret, cattle egret, darter, cormorant, pond heron, river tern, spoonbill, crocodile, etc.
Periyar National Park
(Tiger Reserve)

October - April

Elephant, tiger, panther, wild dog, gaur, sloth bear, nilgai, wild boar, sambar and barking deer.

Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary

October - April

Elephant, gaur, leopard, tiger, sloth bear, nilgai, chital, sambar, crocodile.
Madhya Pradesh
Kanha National Park

March - June

Tiger, panther, gaur, barasingha, chital, samber, blackbuck, four-horned antelope, barking deer, mouse deer, nilgai, wild dog, boar
Bandhavgarh National Park

November - June

Tiger, panther, gaur, chital, sambar, nilgai, chinkara, barking deer, bear, wild boar and a variety of upland birds.

Tadoba National Park

May - June

Tiger, panther, sloth bear, gaur, samber nilgai, chital, chinkara, crocodile

Dhakna-Kolkaz Sanctuary
(Tiger Reserve)

April - May

Tiger, panther, gaur, sloth bear, sambar, barking deer, four horned antelope, wild boar, chital and birds.

Karnala Bird Sanctuary

January - April

Ashy minivet, paradise fly-catcher, Sharma, Malabar whistling thrush, racket-tailed drongo, woodpecker, Panther, four horned antelope and common langur.

Keibul Lamjao National Park

February - April

Brown-antlered deer, wild goat and water birds.

Dampa Wildlife Sanctuary

November - February

Elephant, tiger, leopard, sambar, barking deer, Himalayan bear, wild boar, wild dog, wild cat, gaur, leopard cat, king cobra, python, hornbill, pheasant, etc.

Intangki Wildlife Sanctuary

November - March

Gaur, boar, elephant, barking deer, bear, clouded leopard, panther, tiger, pangolin and various kinds of reptiles
Satkosia Gorge Wildlife Sanctuary

Summer and winter

Gharial and mugger, tiger, leopard, jungle cat, civet, gaur, ratel four-horned antelope, hornbill, jungle fowl and other birds
Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary


Salt-water crocodile, leopard cat, hyena, jungle cat, leopard, wild boar, chital, sambar, giant squirrel, water monitor, sea-turtle, king cobra, python, painted stork, adjustant stork, openbilled stork, white ibis, black ibis, etc
Chilka Wildlife Sanctuary


Blackbuck, chital, ibis, crane, cormorant, egret, flamingo, and pelican.
Simlipal National Park
(Tiger Reserve)


Tiger, Elephant, Gaur, chital, leopard, mouse deer, flying squirrel and mugger

Harike Headworks Sanctuary

October - March

Duck, pochard, teal, coot, waterhen, geese, nilgai and wild boar


Ranthambore National Park
(Tiger Reserve)

All year round except July, August and September

Tiger, panther, hyena, jungle cat, civet, sambar, chital, nilgai, bear, wild boar, partridge, green pigeon, red spur fowl, etc
Sariska National Park
(Tiger Reserve)

All year round except July, August and September

Tiger, panthaer, hyena, jungle cat, civet, sambar, chinkara, nilgai, four horned antelope, partiridge, green pigeon, red spur fowl
Keoladeo (Ghana) Bird Sanctuary

October - February

Siberian crane, cormorant, strok, spoonbill, quail, coot, heron, feal, tern, sambar, chital, black-buck, wild boar, civet, etc
Desert Sanctuary

All year round

Great Indian bustard, blackbuck, chinkara
Kanchendzonga National Park

February - April, October and November

Snow leopard, clouded leopard, marbled cat, civet, binturong, Himalayan black bear, red panda, Tibetan wild ass, blue sheep, serow, goral, takin, musk deer, pheasant, partridge, green pigeon.
Tamil Nadu
Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary

February - June

Elephant, gaur, chital sambar, tiger, panther, sloth bear, wild dog, etc.
Mundanthuri Wildlife Sanctuary

September - November

Tiger, chital, sambar, wild boar, lion-tailed macaque
Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary

January - September

Blackbuck, chital, wild boar, flamingoes
Vedanthangal Birds Sanctuary

November - February

Different water birds
Kalakkadu Wildlife Sanctuary

Whole year

Lion-tailed macaque
Uttar Pradesh
Corbett National Park
(Tiger Reserve)

November - May

Elephant, tiger, panther, sloth bear, nilgai, sambar, chital, wild boar, porcupine, peafowl, red jungle fowl, partridge, both species of Indian inland crocodiles, goral and four-horned antelope.
Dudhwa National Park

November – May

Tiger, panther, sloth bear, sambar, swamp deer, barking deer, nilgai, peafowl, junglefowl, partidge, etc.
West Bengal
Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary

December - May

Rhino, elephant, tiger, leopard, wild boar, gaur, barking deer, hog deer, sambar and a variety of birds
Sunderbans National Park

September - May

Tiger, different species of deer, wild boar, estuarine crocodile, Gangetic dolphin


Guidelines for Visitors to National Parks & Sanctuaries

To enjoy a visit to a wildlife sanctuary, the following guidelines may be kept in mind:

  • Be as quiet as possible. Avoid radios, transistors and music in the jungle. It disturbs the animals.

  • Dress in Khaki, or brown or olive green to merge with the surroundings.

  • Avoid pollution of air, soil or water.

  • Dangerous animals should not be approached on foot.

  • You can also use the services of a local guide / Naturalist to take you around and to explain about the various wildlife animals.

  • You can also take cameras and binoculars with you at some permitted sanctuaries.

  • Perfumes and cigarettes are not allowed inside the sanctuary as the animals have an extremely keen senses of smell.

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