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Wildlife, Sanctuaries & Parks

West Bengal is rich in wild life. About 13.38% of the total area is covered by forests. Altitudinal, physiographic and climatic variations have contributed to diverse eco-systems, habitat and wildlife forms in the state. 15 Wildlife Sanctuaries, 5 National Parks and 3 Tiger Reserves provide a home for the State's wildlife - tiger, leopards, elephants, rhinoceros, Indian bison, sloth bear, Himalayan black bear, wild boar, salt water crocodile, common langur, rhesus monkeys and colourful birds.

Piyali, 70 kms from Calcutta via Dosarhat is the gateway to the Sunderbans. Extending across the entire northern shore of the Bay of Bengal, the Sunderbans is the largest and most luxuriant estuarine forest in the world. This marshy mangrove jungle dominating the delta of the Ganga and Brahmaputra and is the home of the legendary Royal Bengal Tiger.

Through the dense forest flows a maze of creeks - big and small. Waterways are the easiest and only way to reach this area. The brackish waters stream with nearly 120 varieties of fish, crabs, salvator lizards, giant estuarine crocodiles and olive ridley turtles. Bhagabatpur is the hatchery of the largest estuarine crocodile in the world. Kanak is the resting place of olive ridley turtles. The jungle is also the home of a variety of wild boar, fishing cats, otters, civets, rhesus, monkeys and spotted deer. Holiday Island is a retreat for the Barking Deer. Sajnekhali is a real treat for bird watchers.

More on W.Bengal
More destinations

Toy Train

Rock climbing

Season: December to February
Location: 24 Parganas (South)

Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary
A lush panorama of mighty trees, perennial streams, sandy riverbanks and extensive belts of tall grass, Jaldapara is the home of the one eyed Indian rhino. It is also famous for the Royal Bengal Tiger, Indian bison, elephant and reptiles. A variety of birds including the Bengal Pelican can also be found here.
Season: November to April
Location: Jalpaiguri

Buxar Tiger Reserve
Not only the tiger, but a wide range of animals including the elephant, gaur, leopard and sloth bear can be found here. The Rydak River is rich in Mahaseer.
Season: November to April
Location: Jalpaiguri

Home for many endangered species, the Dooar terrain is filled with nature, adventure, wildlife and plenty of tourist attractions.
Location: Jalpaiguri

Gorumara Wildlife Sanctuary
Small and pretty, the Gorumara wild life sanctuary is the home to the one horned rhino, bison, wild elephant, deer and many species of birds.
Location: Jalpaiguri

Ballarpur Sanctuary
Established in 1977, this beautiful wooded area near Santiniketan is home to a number of deer including the Blackbuck.
Season: November to February

Himalayan Zoological Park
Located adjacent to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, this Zoological Park is the home of the Siberian tiger, Himalayan black bear, deer, panda, snow leopard, llama and many colourful birds.
Location: Darjeeling

A deep forest covering 9000 hectares and the habitat of wild animals like bear, wild pigs and occasionally visited by panthers.
Location: Mednipur

Mahananda Sanctuary
This sanctuary, consisting of mixed forests on the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas is the home of a variety of animals.
Season: November to March
Location: Siliguri

Himalayan Zoological Park
Located adjacent to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, this Zoological Park is the home of the Siberian tiger, Himalayan black bear, deer, panda, snow leopard, llama and many colourful birds.
Location: Darjeeling

Home to almost six hundred species of birds, Sandakphu is a birdwatcher's paradise.
Location: Darjeeling

Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park
This is a high altitude wild life park and new home for the Siberian Tiger, Himalayan Black Bear, deer, panther, llama, birds.
Location: Darjeeling

The Deer Park is the specialilty here.
Location: Mednipur

Zoological Gardens
Established in 1876, the Calcutta Zoo sprawls over 41 acres and is the largest one on Asia. Has a wide variety of animals, birds and reptiles including the Royal Bengal Tiger, white tiger and cross-bred lions and tigers. The zoo lake is visited by migratory birds in winter. Has an exclusive reptile house, aquarium and a children's zoo.

A beautiful picnic spot with golden sands, swaying palms and the cry of seagulls.
Location:24 Parganas

Lothian Island Sanctuary
This mangrove area is the nesting place of numerous sea turtles.
Location:24 Parganas

Here a large number of fowls including the Siberian Goose can be seen during the season.
Season: November to February

Information complied by Pallavi Bhattacharya

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Editor: Romola Butalia       (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.