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WILD WEST BENGAL

Singalila National Park

Singalila National Park is a national park of India located on the Singalila Ridge at an altitude of more than 7000 feet above mean sea level, in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal. It is well known for the trekking route to Sandakphu that runs through it.

Flora: Thick bamboo, oak, magnolia and rhododendron forest between 2000 and 3600 m cover the Singalila Ridge. There are two seasons of wildflower bloom - one in spring (March - April) when the Rhododendrons bloom, and another in the post monsoon season (around October), when the lower forests bloom (Primula, Geranium, Saxifraga , Bistort, Senecio, Cotoneaster and numerous orchids). Sandakphu is known as the "mountain of poisonous plants" due to the large concentration of Himalayan Cobra Lilies (Arisaema) which grow there.

Fauna: Mammals - The Park has a number of small mammals including the Red Panda, Leopard Cat, Barking Deer, Yellow-throated Marten, Wild Boar, Pangolin and the Pika. Larger mammals include the Himalayan Black Bear, Leopard, Clouded Leopard, Serow and the Takin. Tigers occasionally wander into the area, but do not have a large enough prey base to make residence in these forests feasible. Birds - The park is a birder's delight with over 120 species recorded including many rare and exotic species like the Scarlet Minivet, Kalij Pheasant, Blood Pheasant, Satyr Tragopan, Brown and Fulvous Parrotbills, Rufous-vented Tit, and Old World babblers like the Fire-tailed Myzornis and the Golden-breasted Fulvetta. The park is also on the flyway of many migratory birds. Reptiles & Amphibians - The endangered Himalayan Newt frequents the region, and congregates around the lakes of Jore Pokhri, Sukhia Pokhri and nearby lakes to reproduce. Jore Pokhri and Sukhia Pokhri are within 20 km of the park boundary, and are protected wildlife sanctuaries.

Approach:Nearest Airport - Bagdogra. Nearest Railhead - Narrow gauge > Ghum & Standard Gauge > New Jalpaiguri. Nearest highway - NH 31A (Sivok - Gangtok) passes through Darjeeling (which is 1.5 hours by car from Manebhanjan). Nearest town - Manebhanjan - the access point for Rimbik and Tumling, the gateways to the park.

Neora Valley National Park

Neora Valley National Park is situated in the Kalimpong subdivision under Darjeeling District , West Bengal spread over an area of 88 km² established in 1986 is one of the richest biological zones in the entire Northeast. The land of elegant Red Panda in the pristine undisturbed natural habitat with rugged inaccessible hilly terrain and rich diverse flora and fauna together make the park an important wilderness zone.

Flora: Neora Valley, one of the least tracts of virgin wilderness in the country sustains a unique eco-system where tropical, sub-tropical, sub-temperate, and temperate vegetative system still harbours a wealth of flora and fauna. The forests consist of mixed species like rhododendron, bamboo, oak, ferns, sal etc. The Valley also has numerous species of orchids.

Fauna: Mammals - The fauna consist of such endangered species as the clouded leopard, red panda, and musk deer. Other species are leopard, five species of civet, black bear, sloth bear, golden cat, wild boar, leopard cat, goral, serow, barking deer, sambar, Himalayan flying squirrel and Thar. Birds - Lava and the Neora Valley National Park are birders' paradise, some of India most sought after birds are found here. The semi-evergreen forests between 1600mts and 2700mts is the home of several rarities like Rufous-throated Partridge, Satyr Tragopan, Crimson-breasted Woodpecker, Darjeeling Woodpecker, Bay Woodpecker, Golden-throated Barbet, Hodgson's Hawk Cuckoo, Lesser Cuckoo, Brown Wood Owl, Ashy Wood Pigeon, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Jerdon's Baza, Black Eagle, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Dark-throated Thrush, Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, White-gorgeted Flycatcher, White-browed Bush Robin, White-tailed Robin, Yellow-browed Tit, Striated Bulbul, Chestnut-headed Tesia, Chestnut-crowned Warbler, Black-faced Warbler, Black-faced Laughingthrush, Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush, Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler, Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler, Pygmy Wren Babbler, Rufous-fronted Babbler, Black-headed Shrike Babbler, White-browed Shrike Babbler, Rusty-fronted Barwing, Rufous-winged Fulvetta, Brown Parrotbill, Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, Fire-tailed Sunbird, Maroon-backed Accentor, Dark-breasted Rosefinch, Red-headed Bullfinch, Gold-naped Finch and many other rarities. Others - King cobra, common cobra krait, green pit viper, blind snake and lizards are also found. Many colourful insects such as butterflies, moths, beetles, bees, wasps, bugs cicadas are added attraction of the valley.

Approach: Nearest airport - Nearest Airport is Bagdogra (100 km). Nearest railhead - Nearest railhead is Darjeeling (30 km.), New Jalpaiguri (132 km) (broad gauge). Nearest Road - There are buses available from Siliguri to Kalimpong (100 km) which is 32 km away from the entry point Lava. Another route is from Siliguri - Chalsa (65 km) - Samsing (18 km). The park can be reached by road from Samsing.

Gorumara National Park

Gorumara National Park is a National Park in northern West Bengal, India. Located in the Terai region of the Himalayan foothills, it is a medium-sized park with grasslands and forests. It is primarily known for its population of Indian Rhinoceros. Gorumara was a reserve forest since 1895. The park was declared a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1949, on account of its breeding population of Indian Rhinoceros. It was declared an Indian National Park on January 31, 1994. Originally as small as 7 km², Gorumara has grown by incorporating neighboring lands to about 80 km².

Flora: Sal forests with Common Teak, Rain Tree (Shirish or Albizia lebbeck), and Silk Cotton (Shimul or Bombax malabaricum) trees Bamboo groves, Terai grassland vegetation and tropical riverine reeds. Gorumara is home to numerous tropical orchids.

Fauna: Mammals - The park has recorded fifty species of mammals, 193 species of birds , 22 species of reptiles , 7 species of turtles , 27 species of fishes and other macro and micro fauna. Mammals - The Park is rich in large herbivores including Indian Rhinoceros, Gaur, Asian Elephant, Sloth bear, Chital, and Sambar Deer. Small herbivores include Barking deer, Hog deer and Wild boar. There is a comparative lack of large carnivores, with the only big cat being the Leopard. The park is not home to any resident population of Bengal Tigers, Indian Wild Dogs or Indian Wolf. Tigers are, however, occasionally spotted here. It does have numerous small carnivores including various civets, mongooses and small cats. The park has a large resident population of Wild boar, but the critically endangered Pygmy Hog has been reported from the park. It also has numerous rodents, including Giant Squirrels. The rare Hispid Hare has also been reported from the park. Birds - Gorumara National Park is famous for its bird population - which includes brilliant submontane forest birds like the Scarlet Minivet , Sunbird , Asian Paradise Flycatcher , Spangled Drongo and Great Indian Hornbill . Numerous woodpeckers and pheasants inhabit the park. Peafowls are very common. The park is on the flyway of numerous migratory birds, including the rare Brahminy Duck. Reptiles & Amphibians - The Park is home to a large number of snakes, venomous and non-venomous, including the Indian Python, one of the largest snakes in the world, and the King Cobra - the world's largest venomous snake.

Approach: Nearest airport - Bagdogra, Jalpaiguri district, West Bengal about 80 km away. Nearest railhead - Broad gauge > Chalsa, Jalpaiguri district, West Bengal is 18 km. from the park. Important rail stations > New Jalpaiguri, New Alipurduar. Nearest highway - NH 31 between Siliguri and Guwahati passes over Lataguri, the entrance to the park. Nearest town: The town of Lataguri is 8 km from the park's entrance. Nearest City: The city of Jalpaiguri is 52 km to the South of the park.

Buxa Tiger Reserve

Buxa Tiger Reserve (BTR) lies in Alipurduar sub-division of Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal. Its northern boundary runs along the international border with Bhutan. The Sinchula hill range lies all along the northern side of BTR and the Eastern boundary touches that of the Assam State. National Highway No.31 C roughly runs along its southern boundary. It is the eastern most extension of extreme bio-diverse North-East India & represents highly endemic Indo-Malayan region. The fragile "Terai Eco-System" constitutes a part of this Reserve. The Phipsu Wildlife Sanctuary of Bhutan is contiguous to North of BTR. Manas National Park lies on east of BTR. BTR, thus, serves as international corridor for elephant migration between India and Bhutan. The reserve encompasses as many as eight forest types. Buxa Tiger Reserve created in 1983 comprises entire forest area of erstwhile Buxa Tiger Division and some territory of neighboring Cooch Behar Forest Division. In 1986, Buxa Wildlife Sanctuary was constituted over 314.52 km². of the Reserve forests. In the year 1991, 54.47 km². area was added to Buxa Wildlife Sanctuary. A year later, in 1992, Government. of West Bengal declared its intentions to constitute a National Park over 117.10 km². of the Buxa Wildlife Sanctuary.

Flora: More than 300 species of trees, 250 species of shrubs, 400 species of herbs, 9 species of cane, 10 species of bamboo, 150 species of orchids, 100 species of grass and 130 species of aquatic flora including more than 70 sedges (Cyperaceae) have been identified so far. There are more than 160 species of other monocotyledons and ferns.

Fauna: Mammals - TIn the Reserve 390 species of birds, 73 species of mammals, 76 species of snakes, 5 species of amphibians have been identified so far. In a recent survey (2006) it has been found that Buxa Tiger Reserve has the highest number of fish species in the North Bengal region. Apart from tigers animals like Elephants, dhole, bears, civets, giant squirrel, Gaur, Chital, clouded leopard, wild Buffaloes, antelope and snakes including the regal Python are found here. About 230 species of birds and innumerable butterflies add colour to the forest. The rivers of Raidak and Jayanti which flow through the forest and the Narathali Lake are home to migratory birds as well as endemic ones which abound the place. The Hornbills including greater Pied Hornbill, Ibis Bill, Trans Himalayan Migratory Goosanders, Red-stars, Wag-tails, the rare black necked crane, migratory common teal, black stork, Large Whistling Teal, Minivets, White Eyed Poachared are some of the bird species sighted here. Two new species of frog have been discovered in the park in the year 2006.

Approach: Nearest Airport - Bagdogra - 195 km away; Nearest Rail Station - Alipurduar Junction / New Alipurduar - 17 km; Nearest Town / City - Alipurduar - 17 km; By Road - NH 31 is the main highway. One can hire a car from Alipurduar.

Jaldapara National Park

Area: 216 km² | Altitude: 61 meters | Best Season: October to May, particularly March and April, when new grass is growing | Closed: 15 June to 14 September.

Flora & Fauna : The forest is mainly savannah covered with tall elephant grasses. The main attraction of the National Park is Asiatic one-horned rhinoceros. The national park holds the maximum number of rhinos population in India after Kajiranga National Park in Assam. The other animals consists of Royal Bengal Tigers, elephants, deers, sambhar, barking deer, spotted deer and hog deer, wild pig, bisons. Jaldapara is a paradise for bird watchers. It is one of the very few places in India, where the Bengal Florican is sighted. The other birds to be found here are the Crested Eagle, Pallas's Fishing Eagle and shikra, besides Jungle fowl, peafowl, patridges, Bengal Florican and lesser Pied Hornbill. Python, monitor lizards, krates, cobras, geckos and about 8 species of fresh water turtles have also found national park here.

Park Activities:An adventurous elephant ride in the morning will take you deep inside the grassland for the real excitement. The sights of rhino in a muddy pond, the herd of elephants or the running deer are the thrilling experiences in Jaldapara. Toto Para, adjacent to the national park is another major attraction for those interested in ethnic tourism. Toto Para is the only settlement for the Toto Tribe, one of the most endangered ethnic communities in the world. Their numbers are now reduced to mere a thousand. Lot of initiatives has been taken by the governmental and non-governmental agencies for the uplifting their living condition. However, to live with them and to observe their traditional cultures can still be a precious experience. Hidden deep inside the Chilapata Forests the ruins of a thousand years old fort of Nal King has a tremendous historical and archeological importance. The ruins consist of a broken wall and a broken gate of the fort. Built in the 5th century during the Gupta Empire the ruins still recall the memories of the Golden Age. Because the site is not maintained properly, it has now become the playground for leopards, snakes and other animals. However digging up the ruins to extract the unheard tunes of the past might destroy the present ecological balance of the forest. It is wise to leave it to the competent authorities to decide whether we should compromise the present and the future to gather the wisdom of the past. The forest also consits of a unique tree that bleeds like humans. The fluid that comes out is blood like in color and density. They are located just few meters outside the broken gate of the old fort. According to the locals of that area these trees are 100-200 years old and is not found anywhere in the world. These trees are only a few in number are yet to be given a botanical name. Car Safari in the park is also available .

Approach: The Jaldapara Wildlife national park can be accessed from Siliguri, Alipurduar and Cooch Behar as the entry point. By Air - Bagdogra is the nearest Airport.(124 km). By Rail - Nearest Railway Station: Madarihat which is only 7 km from the national park and the entire passenger trains stop here. Jaldapara Tourist Lodge is in a walkable distance from this Railway Station. All the Mail and Express trains stop at Birpara / Hasimara Railway Station both are 20 km. away from the national park. By Road - Jaldapara is connected by road with Siliguri and other places in North Bengal. North Bengal State Transport Corporation Buses, Bhutan Govt. Buses, Mini Buses and Private Cars are available from Siliguri to Alipurduar via Madarihat.

Sundarban Biosphere Reserve

Sundarban Tiger Reserve is one amongst the initial nine Tiger Reserves constituted at the time of inception of the Project Tiger scheme in the year 1973. Apart from a small area in 24 Parganas (North) it is largely situated within 24 Parganas (South) districts of W. Bengal lying at the southern end of the State. It is a part of the famous "Sunderbans" - the largest delta in the world formed by the convergence of two mighty Himalayan rivers the Ganga and the Brahmaputra both of which flow into the Bay of Bengal. This delta consists of 10,200 sq km of mangrove forests spread over India (4,200 sq km) and Bangladesh (6,000sq km) forests areas. The Indian Sundarban region consists of 4,200 sq km of reserved forests along with 5,400 sq km of non forest area ie a total of 9600 sq. km. Of this the Sundarban Tiger Reserve is spread over 2585 sq. km. The entire area is a conglomeration of river channels, creeks and islands which total about 102 in number. Of these 54 islands are inhabited and the rest 48 islands are forested. The name Sundarbans is thought to be derived from the Sundari (Heritiera fomes) tree.sunderban tour operator in kolkata. Another view is that the name comes from the Sundarban meaning a beautiful forest. The Sundarban Tiger Reserve has an area of 2585 sq km and is divided into the Core and the Buffer zone. The Core zone consists of the Sundarban National Park having an area of 1330.12 sq km; considering the ecological importance of this area it has been designated by the UNESCO as a natural World Heritage Site in 1987. Area outside the core zone is designated as the buffer zone and consists of the Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary with an area of 362.33 sq. km. recently the core areas have been notified as the Critical Tiger Habitat having an inviolate area of 1699.62 sq. km. The rest area of 885.27 sq. km has been designated as the buffer zone. It is also among the three Global Biosphere Reserves in the country.

Flora : The estuarine ecosystem of Sunderbans is dominated by the mangrove vegetation. These plants growing in loose muddy alluvial soils which are inundated twice daily have developed specialized adaptations to cope with such conditions. They have developed specialized roots like stilt roots for support, breathing roots called as pneumatophores bearing lenticels for gaseous exchange, and also exhibit phenomenon of in situ germination within the fruits known as vivipary. Succulent leaves are seen due to high salt content in the soil. These highly productive mangrove ecosystems act as breeding grounds and nursery for a large number of fin and shell fishes. The vegetation can be classified as per the Champion and Seth classification under the following categories namely sub group 4B tidal swamp forests, with sub divisions namely, Mangrove type 4B/TS1, 4B/TS2, Salt water type mixed forests 4B/ TS3, Brackish type 4B/TS4, and Palm type 4B/E1. 84 species of mangroves and their associates have been recorded. Among the major species found here are Rhizophora sp, Bruguiera sp, Ceriops sp, Avicennia sp., Xylocarpus sp, Nypa sp, Phoenix sp, Excoecaria sp, Aegiceras sp, Acanthus sp, Porterasia sp. Sundari (Heritiera fomes) has over a period of time declined in the Indian Sunderbans probably due to the reduced supply of sweet water. It has now become restricted to the eastern part of Indian Sunderbans. Another endangered species is Golpata or Nypa fruticans which now has very limited distribution. These forests apart from providing key ecological services support the local economy in a number of ways. Every year over 200 mt tones of honey is collected by both honey collectors from the forest and also by way of apiary boxes placed in the fringe villages. Besides this mangrove forests act as fish nurseries and also act as a natural barrier against tidal surges, gales and cyclones originating in the Bay of Bengal..

Fauna: This unique mangrove ecosystem with its numerous ecological niches is home to over 1586 faunal sp of which 15 mammalian species, 8 sp. of birds, 17 species of reptiles, are included in Schedule I and II (rare & endangered) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act,1972. 14 sp. have been listed in Appendix I of CITES. As per earlier records animals like Javan Rhino, wild buffalo, barasingha, barking deer and leopards etc were once found in Sunderbans. However, over a period of time due to changes in habitat and human induced pressures these animals became locally extinct. Mammals: Tiger: (Panthera tigris) It is the topmost land based predator in the mangrove ecosystem. Tigers in Sunderbans have adapted to the saline water and like most other animals and are excellent swimmers and have a variable diet ranging from fish, crabs, smaller animals to wild boar and cheetal. Sunderbans is the only mangrove ecosystem in the entire world (apart from Bangladesh) to harbour tigers. Tigers here live in extremely stressed conditions and consider anything moving within the jungle including man as prey. Because of this habit they have been termed as man eaters. Other mammals of interest found here are dolphins - both the Gangetic (Platanista gangetica) and Irrawady (Oracella brevirostris) are found in Sunderbans. Apart from these cheetal, rhesus macaque, wild boar, fishing cats, leopard cats, small Indian civet, common otter, black finless porpoise, etc are also reported from the area. Reptiles: Estuarine crocodile (Crocodilus porosus), This endangered species is present in good numbers in the numerous rivers and waterways. They are often seen basking on the mudflats especially during the winter season. However, to augment their numbers a crocodile project is on at Bhagwatpur. Apart from crocodiles other reptiles present in abundance are snakes. Out of the 97 spp. available in W. Bengal 53 spp. have been reported from here. Important ones are King cobra, common cobra, Russel's viper, Common Krait, Indian Python, rat snake, chequered keelback, green whip snake etc. Snake bite is a major cause of mortality in Sunderbans. Other reptiles found are fresh water turtles like Indian soft-shelled turtle, spotted pond turtle, flapshell turtle etc. The sea turtles include olive ridley, green sea and hawksbill turtle. River terrapin (Batugar baska) is another endangered spp. found in the area which is endemic to this region. Water monitor lizard is also found in good numbers here. Birds: Sunderbans is extremely rich in avifauna and recent surveys have revealed the presence of over 210 sp. of birds. These include a large number of migrants from higher latitudes which visit the area especially in the winter months. A large number of waders are found in the numerous mud flats and sand banks in and around the area. Main species seen are sandpipers, spoonbills, whimberels, stilts, thick knees, curlew, green shanks, etc. The raptors include White bellied sea eagle, Osprey, Brahminy kite, Shikra, Crested serpent eagle, and occasionally oriental honey buzzard, short toed eagle etc. The Goliath heron is extremely rare and is seen occasionally. Other herons found here are the pond herons, grey heron, purple heron and night heron. Other species of birds found here are cormorants, green pigeon, seagulls, egrets, sunbirds, cuckoos, and a variety of ducks, geese and storks especially the Lesser Adjutant stork. The area is also called as a "Kingfishers' Paradise "due to presence of 10 sp out of the total 12 sp. of kingfishers found in the country. During monsoons a number of heronries are formed where species like egrets, herons and openbills have been found to nest. Fishes & crustaceans: The creeks and rivers of Sunderbans are extremely rich in fish, crabs and molluscs. The amphibious mud skipper fish such as Peripthalmus and Boleopthalmus are frequently seen moving around near jetties and mud banks. Endangered species of Shark and Rays like Ganges shark (Glyphis gangeticus) , white spotted shovel nosed guitar fish (Rhynchobatus djiddensis), Pondicherry shark etc are found here. Apart from these other species found are Indian dog shark, Bull shark, hammer headed shark , black tip shark , pale edged sting ray, black edged sting ray etc. Other fishes include hilsa, bhetki, pomphret, parshey, gurjali, topshey. Among the crustaceans seen are many species of prawns including the tiger prawns which are an important source of revenue as they have a good export market .Fiddler crabs (Uca sp.), ghost crabs and two extremely primitive species of trilobites commonly known as Horse shoe crabs ie (Tachepleursgygus and Carcinoscropius rotundicauda) which are highly endangered species and regarded as living fossils are also found here.

Park Activities:An adventurous elephant ride in the morning will take you deep inside the grassland for the real excitement. The sights of rhino in a muddy pond, the herd of elephants or the running deer are the thrilling experiences in Jaldapara. Toto Para, adjacent to the national park is another major attraction for those interested in ethnic tourism. Toto Para is the only settlement for the Toto Tribe, one of the most endangered ethnic communities in the world. Their numbers are now reduced to mere a thousand. Lot of initiatives has been taken by the governmental and non-governmental agencies for the uplifting their living condition. However, to live with them and to observe their traditional cultures can still be a precious experience. Hidden deep inside the Chilapata Forests the ruins of a thousand years old fort of Nal King has a tremendous historical and archeological importance. The ruins consist of a broken wall and a broken gate of the fort. Built in the 5th century during the Gupta Empire the ruins still recall the memories of the Golden Age. Because the site is not maintained properly, it has now become the playground for leopards, snakes and other animals. However digging up the ruins to extract the unheard tunes of the past might destroy the present ecological balance of the forest. It is wise to leave it to the competent authorities to decide whether we should compromise the present and the future to gather the wisdom of the past. The forest also consits of a unique tree that bleeds like humans. The fluid that comes out is blood like in color and density. They are located just few meters outside the broken gate of the old fort. According to the locals of that area these trees are 100-200 years old and is not found anywhere in the world. These trees are only a few in number are yet to be given a botanical name. Car Safari in the park is also available .

Approach & Access: The Headquarters of Sundarban Tiger Reserve is located at Canning Town, South 24-Parganas District and is connected by broad gauge Railway line with Sealdah South Suburban station which is 46 km from Canning. The entry permits are available at Canning, Sonakhali, and Bagna. and Sajnekhali. Tourists generally avail conducted tours organized by private tour operators as well as West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation .The Reserve can be approached by road from Calcutta upto embankment points at Canning, Sonakhali & Dhamakhali. From these points, the Reserve is approachable by waterways only. The Reserve can also be approached from Basirhat and Hasnabad under North 24-Parganas District. There are numerous train and bus services upto Canning and Hasnabad and bus services up to Dhamakhali & Sonakhali. From these points, service launches and ferry boats are available to various places of tourist interest. Kolkata is the nearest major city well connected through air and rail. Inside the Reserve the only means of transport is Launches and boats.

Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary

Senchal Sanctuary established in 1915 is the oldest of such sanctuaries in the country. Total area of the sanctuary is 38.60 sq.km. The sanctuary is under control of the Divisional Forest Officer Wildlife Division -I. The area was declared a Wildlife Sanctuary vide. notification No.5380-For, dated 24-6-76 . It is situated between 1,500m. to over 2,600m elevation. This sanctuary forms the main water supply source for Darjeeling town.

Flora:The sanctuary. is a compact block of both natural and man-made forests, the latter comprising more than 60% of the total area. Between 2,000m to 2,400m oaks occupy the top canopy. Other important species are Kapasi, Katus, Kawla, Champ, etc. Mating bamboo and numerous varieties of ferns etc. comprise the undergrowth. Above 2,400m Ghoge Champ &: Rhododendrons are found. Sub-tropical flora is found 'between 1,500m to 2,000m with Castanopsis indica, Meli¬osma wallichii, Machilus edulis, Pipli, Alnus nepal¬ensis, Prunus nepaulensis predominating. . First plantations were raised here way back in 1892. The plantations are stocked with Dhupi (Cryp-tomeria japonica) mixed with Arupate, Pipli, Cha¬ mp, Kapasi, Buk, Saur, Kawla, Utis, etc. Scat¬tered plantations of Hemlock (Tsuga brunoniana) and pure plantations of Dhupi also occur.

Fauna:Barking deer and wild pigs are distributed all over the sanctuary. Goral and serow occupy the undisturbed valleys and steep ridges while the Himalayan Black Bear comes down from higher' elevations elsewhere and stay during autumn and to winter. .Leopard, jungle cat & leopard cat occur in lower elevations.Common Rhesus,Assamese Macaque, Indian civet, Himalayan Flying Squirrel, Scaly Ant-eater, Himalayan Jackal and Wild Dog are found here. The area is rich in bird life. Large yellow naped wood-pecker, Tickel's Golden back Wood pecker, Emerald Cuckoos, Black-backed KhaJij Pheasant, Red Jungle Fowl, Hornbills, Imperial Pige¬ons, Green, Pigeons, Thrushes, Babblers, Sunbirds etc. are found.

Approach:The sanctuary is 11 km. away from Darjeeling Town near Jorebungalqw. Tiger Hill located in the sanctuary is famous for the view of the glorious sunrise. There are tourist lodges and the Rambi Forest Rest House inside the sanctuary.

Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary

This is situated in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, India. It comes under Darjeeling Wild Life division and can be reached from Siliguri in 30 minutes. Sukna, the gateway to the sanctuary, is only 13 km from Siliguri and 28 km from Bagdogra Airport. The sanctuary sprawls over 159 km² of reserve forest and was started as a game sanctuary in 1955. In 1959 it got the status of a sanctuary mainly to protect the Indian Bison and Royal Bengal Tiger, which were facing the threat of extinction.

Flora and Fauna:The forest type in Mahananda varies from riverain forests like Khayer-Sisoo to dense mixed-wet forest in the higher elevation in 'Latpanchar' area of Kurseong hills. The variation in altitude and forest types helps the existence of a large number of species of mammals, birds and reptiles. The important mammalian species include Royal Bengal Tiger, Indian elephants, Indian bison, spotted deer, barking deer, many species of lesser cat, Himalayan black bear, leopard including clouded leopard and many other smaller animals like rare mountain goat (Serow), porcupines, snakes, etc. The Sanctuary also holds hundreds of feathered species. The exciting list includes some very endangered species like fairy blue bird, Himalayan pied hornbill,etc. Among the others; swallow, swift, thrush, babbler, warbler, roller, minivet, sunbird can be found in abundance.

Park Activities & Approach: The sanctuary is an ideal place for wildlife lovers. Several glades, hides and watchtowers have been created near natural saltlicks and streams to invite wild animals. The railway cabin in the abandoned Gulma Station inside the core area of the sanctuary has been converted into a watchtower. The tower is located besides the Gulma River and is an ideal place for wildlife viewing. There are a number of rest houses in the sanctuary including two in Sukna and arguably the best one in Latpanchar.

Latpanchar :At 4000ft above sea level, Latpanchar is the highest place in Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary. It is 44Kms way from Siliguri and can be reached by a 13km drive from Kalijhora on the Siliguri-Gangtok national highway.

Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary

The Chapramari forest is located near the NH31 connecting north-east with the rest of India. As you cross river Tista on your way into Dooars, you reach the famous Chapramari sanctuary. Murti river flows along the western boundary. A huge variety of flora and fauna covers the forests. Chapramari is famous for its elephant population. Gaur (commonly known as Indian Bison) is quite common around this region. Albeit few in number, the forests are also home of the famous Royal Bengal Tiger. Different other varieties of deer, reptiles and other animals can be easily seen around here. The place is a heaven for bird watchers. Chapramari is close to the Gorumara national park near Chapramari. If you are staying at Lataguri, you can visit Chapramari from there. Chapramari is about 30 km from Chalsa and Lataguri. There is a nice forest bungalow on the river bank of Murti. From this bungalow you can see elephants and other animals during the early morning and evening hours.

Jorepokhri Wildlife Sanctuary

Jorepokhri Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in Darjeeling District of West Bengal. An area of 4 ha. was declared as a Wildlife Sanctuary vide notification No.1107-For/11B-51184, dt.11-03-1985. A small lake at Jorepokhri is 28km. from Darjeeling harbours the high altitude animals like Himalayan Newt or Salamander. The forest is artificially decorated and offers some breathtaking views. Himalayan Salamander is one of the rarest and oldest amphibian creature existed before the giant dinosaurs. Once regarded as totally extinct from this planet earth, it was found living in the hills of Darjeeling in 1964 at Jorepokhari, 20 km from Darjeeling. It is understood that this Himalayan Salamander is a very premitive and highly endangered species. This Himalayan newt has rough-skin, measuring about 160 mm to 170 mm when it reaches full adulthood. This species mostly confined to Eastern Himalayan, from 4000 ft. to 8000 ft. elevation in this mountain region. This extremely rare amphibian, which is found, in the hills of, Darjeeling ,is called "Goro" by the local people.

Kulik Bird Sanctuary

Raiganj Wildlife Sanctuary Also known as Kulik Bird Sanctuary, is situated near Raiganj in Uttar Dinajpur of West Bengal. The area of the sanctuary is around 1.30 km². The core area is about 0.14 km² and the rest is buffer area. The Kulik river flows around part of the sanctuary and acts as the boundary in its eastern and southern parts. The shape of the sanctuary is that of the English alphabet "U". The sanctuary has a network of artificial canals connected with the river Kulik. During monsoon the river water enters the sanctuary, which supports a wide variety of food for the birds, particularly for the Asian openbill, whose main diet is apple snail. The sanctuary is home to 164 species of birds. Several types of migratory birds arrive here each year from South Asian countries and coastal regions. They start arriving from June. The migratory species includes open-bill storks, egrets, night herons and cormorants. The resident birds are kites, flycatchers, owls, kingfishers, woodpeckers, drongoes, etc. The bird sanctuary is home to 164 species of birds, and some 70,000 to 80,000 migratory birds visit the sanctuary every year. During the period from December to February, numerous visitors from different districts of West Bengal and Bihar visit the sanctuary. Global population of the Asian openbill is estimated to be 130,000 by Wetland International, and around half of them live in Asia. The species is known to breed in a colony, called heronry, but there are very few heronries in India, particularly those that are well protected against human greed. Ornithological, Raiganj Wildlife Sanctuary is a very important heronry. As per the breeding population data of Asian openbills, the sanctuary reveals that it regularly supports 32 - 40 percent of the existing population of Asian openbills of South Asia. A heronry, which supports such a high percentage of Asian openbills, is not only a nationally important heronry but also an internationally important heronry.

Chintamoni Kar Bird Sanctuary

The Chintamain Kar Bird Sanctuary lies in pristine splendor in South 24-Parganas district of West Bengal just minutes away from the bustling Kolkata metropolis. Originally notified as a sanctuary in 1982, this 'Abhay Aranya' was acquired for the benefit of the public by Govt. of West Bengal at a significant cost from private owners in October 2005. The area was notified as Narendrapur Wildlife Sanctuary vide G O No.3019-FOR dated 8th September 2004 and later renamed as Chintamani Kar Bird Sanctuary vide G.O No.4300-FOR/FR/O/L/6C-3/04 dated 21.10.2005. The Sanctuary was named after the noted sculpture Sri Chintamoni Kar, who along with many local people and many NGO's fought tirelessly for a decades to obtain wildlife sanctuary status for 'Kayaler Bagan'. Chintamoni Kar Bird Sanctuary is an orchard covered with local fruit trees-many over a hundred years old. The orchard originally covered 27 acres but had shrunk to 17 acres by the time it was acquired. Main trees are mango, Jackfruit, Coconut, Tamarind, Guava, Dumur, Safeda, Chatun etc. The Sanctuary is a home to a great variety of birds, butterflies, epiphytes, ferns and orchids. Reptiles and mammals also seek the security provided by the Sanctuary in the mists of urban chaos. Key bird species include the recent recording of the Large-billed Reed Warbler-a bird rediscovered in India after more than a century. In addition, sanctuary is also the home of some small wildlife namely jungle cat, Civet cat, Water monitor Lizard, Jackal and the mongoose.

Approach :The Sanctuary is located to the west of Netaji Subhas Road connecting Garia with Baruipur in the Rajpur area in southern Kolkata. Locally known as 'Kayaler Bagan', the Sanctuary is about 1km south of the famous Ramkrishna Mission Institute, Narendrapur. The Sanctuary gate is a short walk (150 meters) from the Rathtala bus stop. If you are driving to the Sanctuary, the best route to take is the EM Bypass. The distance from Ruby General Hospital is about 10km. Buses and auto-rickshaws are also available from Garia. Private bus's on route 80, 80A & 80B and Mini Bus# 113 stop at Rathtala.

Ballavpur Wildlife Sanctuary

Ballavpur Wildlife Sanctuary the Asansol-Durgapur region is composed of undulating latterite region. This area lies between two mighty rivers – the Damodar and the Ajay. They flow almost parallel to each other (30 km apart) in the region. Ballabhpur Wildlife Sanctuary (popular for Deer Park) was established in 1977. This wooded area is located near Santiniketan in Bolpur subdivision of Birbhum District in the Indian state of West Bengal. It has an average elevation of 56 metres (180 ft). It is home to a number of deer including the Blackbuck and Spotted deer. Other animals include jackals, foxes and a variety of water birds.