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Wildlife Holidays India

Wildlife Sanctuaries in India

Very few countries can boast of having 441 wildlife sanctuaries within its territorial boundaries. No wonder India has become one of the prime destinations globally for wildlife tourism. India is home to the majestic tiger, which also happens to its national animal, the gigantic elephant, the endangered one-horned rhino and the magnificent peacock, which it proudly claims as its national bird. India's abundant natural wealth can be attributed to its vast size and varying climatic conditions. According to official record, the wildlife sanctuaries in India are home to around 2000 different species of birds, 3500 species of mammals, nearly 30000 different kinds of insects and more than 15000 varieties of plants. Visitors come from all across the globe as they have the privilege to see several endangered species of animals and birds like the Asiatic elephant, the royal Bengal tiger, the snow leopard and the Siberian crane. Not only that, they are captivated by the beautiful landscapes, amazing rock formation and diverse range of flora and vegetation that comprise the sanctuaries.

Some of the more famous internationally recognised sanctuaries of India are The Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve in Uttaranchal which is India's first sanctuary, Kanha National Park and Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh, Ranthambhore National Park in Rajasthan, Gir National Park in Gujarat, etc. A characteristic feature of these sanctuaries is that they are home to a particular specie of animal. The Kaziranga in Assam is famous for its Indian rhinoceros and the Periyar in Kerala for elephants while the Gir is famous for being the last abode of the Asiatic Lions. Kanha and Bandavgarh are known for its tiger population while the Sunderbans National Park is a unique habitat of the Royal Bengal Tiger. Remarkably, there are 28 reserves in India formed for the conservation of tigers under the government's Project Tiger.

Wildlife sanctuaries also include bird sanctuaries which are again found in abundance all over the country. The magnificent Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Rajasthan is the largest bird sanctuary in Asia and takes pride in being the second habitat in the world that is visited by the Siberian Cranes in winter. It also provides a vast breeding area for native water birds such as the great Indian bustard, Himalayan monal pheasant, lammergiers, choughs, white-bellied sea eagle, white breasted swiftlet, fruit pigeons and griffon vultures. Even the vast dry terrain of the western deserts boasts of a huge number of the Indian bustards. The sanctuaries in the western Himalayas are home to vast array of exotic birds endemic to the region such as the Himalayan monal pheasant, western tragopan, koklass, white crested khalij pheasant, griffon vultures, lammergiers, choughs, ravens. The islands of Andaman and Nicobar together account for about 250 species and sub species of birds such as rare narcondum hornbill, Nicobar pigeon and megapode.

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