Dudhwa National Park | India
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Dudhwa National Park

Dudhwa National Park, in Lakhimpur-Kheri District of Uttar Pradesh, adjacent to Nepal border, is one of the major projects for wildlife preservation in India. Spread over an expanse of approximately 811 km² of marshes, grasslands and dense forests, it is a home for over 38 species of mammals, 16 species of reptiles and numerous species of birds. It has two core areas: Dudhwa National Park and Kishanpur wildlife sanctuary. They are 15 km apart with agricultural land between them. Unlike other major national parks in India like Corbett, Kaziranga, its noncommercial environment makes it an ideal place for animal and bird lovers to spend a day or two in peace, closest to nature. The Park has a sizable number of tigers and leopards, although the thick vegetation makes it difficult to spot one. The area once had a good number of Indian one horn rhinos which eventually fell to indiscriminate poaching. The Rhino, brought in from Assam's Kaziranga in 1984, have once again thrived in the park. As a major environmental success, the park now boasts of over 30 rhinos, which are very likely to be spotted on a safari on the elephant back. The park also has swamp deer also known as 'barasingha' locally, elephants, Sambar, Cheetal and Hog deers, monkeys, langurs porcupines and a host of other animals. Nearly 800 varieties of birds are found in the park, including the Great Pied Hornbill, Flycatchers, Kingfishers, Drongos etc. Water bodies in the park attract a number of migratory birds from September till march and the rivers support a rich variety of turtles, crocodiles and fish. Gangetic dolphin is reportedly found in the Geruwa river. Dudhwa National Park is a home for 38 species of mammals, 16 species of reptiles, 400 species of birds and 90 species of fish. The main attraction of Dudhwa is swamp deer. Half of the world's 4000 swamp deer live here. Apart from this, four more types of deer found here: hog deer, spotted deer, barking deer and sambar. The officials figure on the population of tigers is 101 but according to Billy himself there is not enough prey to support more than 20 tigers. The rhino population has increased from 7 to 16 since 1984. There are a few leopards also and recently a hispid hare has also been seen. Wild boars, elephants and bears also give an occasional sighting here.

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1 Understand 1.1 History 1.2 Landscape 1.3 Flora and fauna 1.4 Climate Located on the Indo-Nepal border of the Lakhimpur Kheri district in Uttar Pradesh, India, Dudhwa National Park (680 km²), along with two other adjacent parks, the Kishanpur Wild Life Sanctuary (204 km²) and Katerniaghat Wild Life Sanctuary (440 km²) is now named as the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve under the Project Tiger. It represents some of the best natural forests and grasslands left in the Terai district of Uttar Pradesh and is today the last viable home of the Royal Bengal Tiger in the state, along with species such as swamp deer, Indian one horned rhinoceros and the elusive hispid hare. It has excellent forests of 'Sal' tree, amongst other flora and is a virtual unexplored paradise for nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts and bird watchers. History After independence of India in 1947, the locals starting encroaching the wilderness of the jungle and the forests started being replaced by paddy and sugarcane. Its location on the Indo-Nepal border provides ideal environment for poachers who hunt for the animals here and sell their products in Nepal, which being a tourist place gives them a huge market for these things. It was a heaven for poachers, game lovers and locals. It is due to the untiring and single-handed efforts of 'Billy' Arjan Singh that this park now stands with its richness. The area was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1965 which received a lot of criticism from the people benefiting from the area. Standing up to the point of being obsessive, Billy favored the decision and went on to convince the erstwhile Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, to declare the forest as a National park in 1977. In 1984-85, seven rhinos were relocated from Assam and Nepal to Dudhwa to rehabilitate a rhino population which lived here 150 years ago. Four years later, it was declared a Tiger Reserve under the Project Tiger and is a major habitat for tigers in India. Kashipur Wildlife Sanctuary, is the oldest protected area amongst the three areas of Dudhwa Tiger Reserve, which was declared a wild life sanctuary in 1972, followed by Katerniaghat Wild Life Sanctuary in 1975, and finally the Dudhwa National Park declared as wild life sanctuary in 1977. Together, the three are sometimes erroneously referred by its most popular name, Dudhwa, although the three are distinctly different parks in close vicinity of one another, enjoying the same terai ecosystem with highly productive habitats of diverse flora and fauna and home to a large number of species. Landscape The Dudhwa National Park is made up of rivers, shallow lakes known as 'taals' which provide adequate supplies of fresh water to the park throughout the year. As a result, the area boasts of lush green forests that support the diverse ecosystem. The river Sharda River kisses the boundary of Kishanpur Wild Life Sanctuary close by, while Geruwa, Suheli and Mohana streams, all tributaries of the Ghagra river, flow through the Park. Some of the important shallow lakes are Bankey Taal, Kakraha Taal and Amraha. The land is fertile and the Park is surrounded by rich farmlands yielding 3 to 4 crops in a year. The encroaching agricultural land, along with a railway track which runs through the park can be seen a major threats to the park in the future. The only approach to the park is by a dual bridge across the river Sharda which works as a common one way bridge for road as well as the railway track. Once the new bridge, which under construction, is completed, the commercial traffic into the park will be affected further. The forest is in the foot-hills of the Himalyas with the flat land covered by spreads of grasslands, swamps and dense forests of tall sal trees. The area is an extremely fertile vast alluvial plain. This mix of ecosystems plays a key role in sustaining a large number living species. The swamps and vast grasslands with tall, yellow grass provide a natural habitat for tigers, deers, rhino etc while dense forests support a variety of other animals and birds also. Flora and fauna The forest of Dudhwa National Park is made up of North Indian Moist Deciduous type. Nearly 60 percent of forest is made up of Sal (shorea robusta) trees while the remaining part represents other varieties typical to the sub-Himalayan terrain. Climate Temperature drops to 2°C in winter and can be as high as 45°C in the peak of summer. The park has adequate rain fall and it is closed to visitors from mid June to Mid November for the rainy season.

Dudhwa National Park