Ranthambore National Park (The Tiger Land)

Ranthambore, one of the extremely famous National Parks of India is situated in the Sawai Madhopur district of Rajasthan state. Located on the junction of Aravalli and Vindhya hill range, Ranthambore is the finest place for wildlife lovers and photographers. Ranthambore National Park is named after the huge fortress located inside the park area. This 10th century fort along with other ruins of temples and ancient structures defines the colourful historical past of the area. Ranthambore was the hunting reserve of the Maharajas of Jaipur. This area was declared as wildlife sanctuary in the year 1957 and later 1974 gained the protection of Project Tiger. In the year 1980 an area of 174.5 Sq. Km, area was declared as a National Park. Ranthambore has fascinating landscape . consists of rolling hills and meadows, dotted with lakes and water bodies. The geographical feature of Ranathambore is characterized by rocky plains and steep cliffs with river Banas and Chambal marking the boundary on North and south respectively.

Due to its diverse habitat, Ranthambore not only supports huge number ofmammalians but also shelters numerous species of feathered beauty. Ranthambore National Park is best known for its Tigers and is one of the best places to see these majestic golden striped predators in the wild.

Flora and Fauna:

The vegetation of Ranthambore National park consists of typically dry deciduous elements. More than 500 species of flowering plants represent the Flora of the park. The major tree species found in the park area are Am (Magnifera indica), Imli (Tamarindicus indica), Babul (Accasia nilotica), Banyan (Ficus benghalensis), Ber (Zizyphus mauritania), Flame of the forest (Butea monosperma), Dhok (Anogeossis pendula), Jamun (Syzygium cumini), Kadam (Authocephalus na

Tigers are the prime attraction of Ranthambore. Leopard, Caracal, Leopard Cat, Fishing Cat and Jungle Cat. Striped Hyena, Jackal, Indian fox, Wolf, Wild Dog ,Sloth Bears are found in this park. Park supports a huge number of herbivores species like Spotted Deer, Sambar, Indian Gazelle or Chinkara and Bluebull or Nilgai, Barking Deer, Chowsinga or Four-horned Antelope etc. Other mammalian species found in this park are Honey Badger, Small Indian Civet, Palm Civet, Wild Boar, Indian Hare, Pangolin etc. Ranthambore has a thriving bird population ,with more than 270 species of birds recorded from the area. The lakes and water bodies shelters huge number of waders and waterfowls. Other noteworthy bird species found in the park are Black Francolin, Painted Francolin, Grey Francolin, Rain Quail, Blue Breasted Quail, Painted Spurfowl, Comb Duck, Bar-headed Goose, Ferruginous Pochard, Tufted Duck, Eurasian Wryneck, European Roller, Pied Cuckoo, Dusky Eagle Owl, Brown Fish Owl, Savannah Nightjar, Common Crane, Sarus Crane, Demoiselle Crane, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Painted Sandgrouse, Pintail Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Pallas’s Fish Eagle, Egyptian Vulture, White-rumped Vulture, Red-headed Vulture, Pallid Harrier, Montagu’s Harrier, Tawny Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Booted Eagle, Laggar Falcon, Glossy Ibis, Black Stork, Black-necked Stork, Marshall’s Iora etc. A large number of Marsh Crocodile or Muggar populations are found in the lakes and water bodies . North Indian Flap Shelled Turtles, Indian Python, Russel’s Viper, Saw-scaled Viper, Indian Chameleon are other important reptilian species here .

Keoladeo Ghana National Park

India’s premiere birding destination Keoladeo Ghana National Park, previously known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is located near Bharatpur Town of Rajasthan. This park covering an area of only 29 Sq. Km. is a wetland system with various microhabitats having trees, mound, dykes and open water. The higher grounds have tall grassland with scattered trees and shrubs. The area was declared as a sanctuary in the year 1971 and later declared as National Park. The park was designated as World Heritage Site in 1985 for its unique habitat which support huge number of bird species. This critical and sensitive area comprising swamp and woods is one of the richest bird areas in the world. Every year thousand s of migratory waterfowl visit the park for wintering and breeding. Keoladeo Ghana is famous for nesting of its residents and visiting migratory birds. The rare Siberian Cranes are also come here every year for wintering. The park was named after a Keoladeo (Shiva) temple within its boundaries. Before independence this Swampy land was the hunting ground of the then princely state of Bharatpur. Even rulers of this princely state had the shooting rights until 1972. This fresh water swamp is totally dependant on rain. For most part of the year effective wetland is about 10 Sq. Km. and rest of the area remain dry. During monsoon the swamp flooded entirely and helps to regenerate the aquatic life. This flooding not only rejuvenates the aquatic life, but also brings in the fishes of numerous species from outside the park area through the channels and rivers. These fishes, aquatic plants and insects create the food base for the migratory waterfowls and other resident birds.

Flora and Fauna

The vegetation of Keoladeo Ghana National Park mostly comprises of Dry Deciduous forest with dry grassland in some areas. Richness and diversity of plant life inside the Park is remarkable including aquatic plant life. The park’s flora consists of more tham 375 species of flowering plants of which 96 are wetland species. Trees, which dominate the park, are Kadam (Mitragyna parvifolia), Jamun (Syzygium cumini), Babul (Acacia nilotica), Ber (Zizyphus), Kahir (Capparis decidua), Piloo (Salvadora oleoides and Salvadora persica) etc.

Total 27 species of mammalian are recorded in the Park. Among carnivores Jackal and Stripped Hyenas are the main predators. Two species of lesser cats,Jungle Cat and Fishing Cat are found here. Other small carnivores species found here are Small Indian Mongoose, Indian Grey Mongoose, Common Palm Civet, Small Indian Civet and Smooth Coated Otter. Herbivores species like Blue bull or Nilgai, Spotted Deer, Sambar, Hog Deer, Black Buck are recorded here. Wild boar, Indian Hare and Porcupine are found in good number in this park. Keoladeo Ghana is home to more than 360 avifaunal species. Park’s unique habitat, effective conservation effort and its position on the bird migration route helps to attract huge number of migratory birds every year and flourish the local resident birds. The bird species found in Keoladeo Ghana are Black francolin, Grey francolin, Marbled Teal , Greater white-fronted Goose , Falcated Teal , Baikal Teal , Tufted Duck , Greater Scaup, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Dusky Eagle-Owl, Brown Fish-Owl, Brown Hawk-Owl , Syke's Nightjar, Sarus Crane, Common Crane, Demoiselle Crane, Brown Crake, Baillon’s Crake, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Ruddy Turnstone, Red Knot, Red-necked Phalarope , Pied Avocet, Sociable Lapwing, Indian Courser, Osprey, Egyptian Vulture, White-rumped Vulture, Long-billed Vulture, Eurasian Griffon, Cinereous Vulture, Red-headed Vulture, Eurasian Marsh-Harrier, Pallid Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Northern Goshawk, Tawny Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Bonelli's Eagle, Red-necked Falcon, Saker Falcon, Laggar Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Black-necked Stork, Lesser Adjutant, Great White Pelican, Dalmatian Pelican, White-bellied Minivet, Siberian Rubythroat, Bluethroat, Variable Wheatear, Desert Wheatear, Rosy Starling, Yellow-eyed Babbler, Singing Lark, Desert Lark, Syke's Crested Lark, Rosy Pipit, Crested Bunting, White-capped Bunting etc.

Fish fauna of the park comprises of 43 species, of which 37 enter the park along with the water from Ajan Bund and six species are breeding residents. Keola Deo Ghana National Park is also famous for its reptilian species. 7 species of turtle out of 12 species found in Rajasthan are recorded from this park. Other than turtles, 13 species of snake and 5 species of Lizard represent the reptilian family. 7 species of amphibians are also recorded from the area.

Desert National Park

Desert National Park is situated in the Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan State in India amidst the great Thar Desert. The park, located in Rajasthan near Indo-Pak border has amazingly rich bio-diversity and unique habitat. Desert National Park covers an area of 3162 Sq. Km and is an excellent example of desert ecosystem. The park area consists of craggy rocks and sand dunes.. Dessert National Park supports a fragile desert ecosystem. The harsh and extreme climate and extra ordinary habitat is home to some unique and diverse wildlife species . The park also has rich collection of fossils of animal and plants aged up to 180 million years .6 million years old Dinosaurs fossil are also found here.

Flora and Fauna

The vegetation of this desert park consists of patches of grass like sewan and shrub with occasional acacia trees.

Desert National Park hosts some spectacular mammalians like Desert Fox, Desert cat, Indian Wolf, Hedgehog, endangered Black Buck antelope and elegant Chinkara. The park is rich in avifaunal population. Key species are Great Indian Bustard and Macqueen’s Bustard which attracts thousand of bird lovers from around the world every year. Beside Bustards, some other exotic and rare species of birds are also found in this national park. Dry land birds like Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Spotted Sandgrouse, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Painted Sandgrouse, Cream-coloured Courser, Indian Coursers are some of them. Every year thousands of migratory birds also visit the Desert National Parks during winter. Some other notable species of bird including winter visitors recorded from the area are Rain Quail, Merlin, Laggar Falcon, Egyptian Vulture, Indian White-backed Vulture, Red-headed Vulture, Cinereous Vulture, Pallid Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, Steppe Eagle, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Short-eared Owl, European Roller, Greater Hoopoe-Lark, Bimaculated Lark, Oriental Skylark, Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark, Rosy Starling, Bluethroat, Pied Bushchat, Desert Wheatear, Black-headed Bunting etc. Spiny-tailed Lizard, Monitor Lizard, Saw-scaled Viper and Russel Viper are the reptilian species are found in this habitat.

Sariska National Park

Sariska Tiger Reserve and National Park is located in the Alwar district of Rajasthan state in India. Sariska, once the favourite hunting reserve of the Royal family of the Alwar . This 866 Sq. Km. Tiger Reserve was created in the year 1978 and later in the year 1982 the core area was declared as National Park for the wildlife conservation. Landscape of Sariska comprises of undulating plateau, hills and narrow valleys along with sharp cliffs. Northern Aravalli Hills occupy the skyline of Sariska. The park is located in a dry region where forest changes its colour with the changing season.

Sariska is famous for its diverse wildlife and tiger is always in the centre of discussion in Sariska. Even 20 years back there were almost 24 tigers present in the park. In the year 2004 news flashed out that there was no tiger left in Sariska. Later Government agencies confirmed the fact. Forest Department immediately took action and decided to re-introduce tigers from the other National park. In the year 2005 1 male and 2 female tigers from Ranthambore shifted to Sariska. Presently Sariska has a population of 5 tigers, who are still bearing the hope of survival of this beautiful species.

Flora and Fauna

Most of the area of Sariska consists of Tropical Dry Deciduous Forest and Tropical Thorn Forest. Dhok (Anogeissus pendula) is the dominant species covering almost 90% of the area. Bamboos are also found in the valley floor. Other prominent species of flora found in the park area are Palas (Butea monosperma)and Ber (Zizyphus spp.) Besides these some noteworthy tree species are Arjun (Terminalia arjuna), Gugal (Commiphora wightii), Kadaya (Sterculia urens), Amla (Emblica officinalis), Bahera (Terminalia bellerica) etc.

Tigers are the prime attraction of Sariska. Other carnivores specie found in this national park are Leopard, Caracal, Jackal, Stripped Hyena, Jungle Cat, Rusty Spotted Cat etc. Wild boar, Hanuman Langur and Rhesus Macaque are found in good number. Herbivores species like Nilgai or Blue Bull, Spotted Deer or Chital, Sambar, Four-horned Antelope or Chowsingha are also commonly seen in the park.

Sariska is also rich in avifauna with more than 200 recorded species. Other noteworthy species found in the park are Black Francolin, Grey francolin, Painted Spurfowl, Eurasian Spoonbill, Painted Stork, Black Stork, Greylag Goose, Bar-headed Goose, Mallard, Egyptian Vulture, Red-headed Vulture, Eurasian Griffon, Long-billed Vulture, Bonelli’s Eagle, Osprey, Laggar Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Collared Scops Owl, Indian Pitta, Pied Bushchat, Desert Wheatear, Isabelline Wheatear, Great Tit, Crested Bunting, Red-headed Bunting, Rosy Starling etc.

Tal Chhapar Wildlife Sanctuary

Tal Chhapar Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Churu district of Rajasthan State in India. This sanctuary is located on the edge of the great Thar Desert. This sanctuary is famous for its endangered and elegant resident antelope –the Black Buck. Once the hunting reserve for royal family of Bikaner, was declared as wildlife sanctuary in the year 1966.Tal meals flat land, Tal Chhapar is named after the nearby village called Chhapar and Tal means flat land.. “Tal “ and “Chhapar” is a adjacent village , the name Tal Chappar derived from these factors. mostly low lying saline flat tract with open grassland with scattered Acacia and prosopis trees.Desert like habitat of the sanctuary is the refuge to many unique Mammals and residential as well as migratory birds .

Flora and Fauna

Vegetation of Tal Chhapar sanctuary is mostly grassland and desert thorn forest with occasional acacia trees. A rare grass is found in the sanctuary area , which is locally called as “Mothiya”, .which derived from the word from "Moti" which means “pearl”. The shape of the seed of this grass is like very fine round shaped pearls, Black Buck and many birds feed on these seeds. Apart from the flagship species Black Buck, other mammalian species found in the sanctuary include Desert Fox, Jungle Cat, Desert Cat, Chinkara and Blue Bull or Nil Gai. The arid landscape of Talchhapar is the haven for desert birds like Indian Courser and Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse etc. This sanctuary falls under the migration path of Harriers. Montagu’s Harrier, Eurasian Marsh Harrier and Pallid Harriera can see seen in large number here. Demoiselle Crane, Rosy Starling, Europian Roller, Spotted Flycatcher, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, Eurasian Thick-knee, Blue-cheeked Bea-eaters, Greater Short-toed Lark, Rufous-tailed Lark, Laggar Falcon, White-eyed Buzzard, Imperial Eagle, Tawny Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Egyptian Vultures can also be seen here..

Bikaner

Bikaner one of the historical city of Rajasthan state in India, is a great place to get glimpes of some of the fascinating raptors and scavenger . Bikaner’s dry and rugged habitat does not only supports the raptors, it also shelters some other small avifaunal species.

Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary, located 32 km away from the city of Bikaner is also a great place to find some exotic animal and bird life. Bikaner and surrounding area is very good for bird watching. Species like Egyptian Vulture, Red-Headed Vulture, White-rumped Vulture, Cinereous Vulture, Imperial Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Tawny Eagle, White-eye Buzzard are sighted frequently around Bikaner. Other noteworthy bird species found around Bikaner and Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary area are Red-necked Falcon, Pallid Harrier, Indian Courser, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Painted Sandgrouse, Demoiselle Crane, Oriental Skylark, Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark etc. Mammalian species found in Bikaner area are Desert Cat, Desert Fox, Blue Bull or Nilgai, Chinkara and Black Buck.

Keechen

Keechen is famous for its Demoiselle Cranes. Located near Phalodi town on the Bikaner-Jaisalmer highway. It’s a small village with a large water reservoir. Every year thousands of Demoiselle Cranes migrates to this area from distant part of Russia and Northern China. These smallest bird of Crane family fly at an altitude as high as 26000 to cross greater Himalayan ranges while migration. From the month of August-September they start arriving around the Keechen village.Villagers has created a safe and secured atmosphere for them. Reportedly the Cranes have been coming here for last 150 years

Bishnoi Village

Bishnoi, the legendary community is known for their spiritual lifestyle and rich cultural heritage. Through their religious belief and practices they ensure the conservation of nature and wildlife. Bishnois are strong wild animal lovers and they can go to any extent to protect the wildlife. Because of this protection, in Bishnoi dominated areas deer and antelope are seen grazing in nearby fields instead of the human presence in close proximity. Mammals frequently encountered around Bishnoi villages are Desert Foxes, Blue Bull or Nilgai, endangered Black Buck, Chinkara and Chowsingha or four horned antelope. Apart from mammals, numerous species of birds are found around these villages. Every year Demoiselle Cranes and other birds migrate to this area and are found in good numbers. Other birds found around Bishnoi Villages include Indian Peafowl, Grey Headed Canary Flycatcher, Comb Duck, Gadwal, Mallard, Pallid Harrier, White-rumped Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Tawny Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Rosy Starling etc.