Before we delve into the details of flora and fauna. Let us have a glance regarding the State Icons:
- State Tree
Bengali Name- Chatim
English Name- Blackboard tree / Indian devil tree / Ditabark/ Milkwood pine/ White cheesewood
Scientific Name: Alstonia scholaris
- State Animal
Bengali Name: Baghrol /Mecho Beral
English Name: Fishing Cat
Scientific Name: Prionailurus viverrinus
- State Flower
Bengali Name: Shiuli / Parijat
English Name: Night flowering Jasmine
Scientific Name: Nyctanthes arbor-tristis
- State Bird
Bengali Name: Sada Buk Machranga
English Name: White-Breasted Kingfisher
Scientific Name: Halycon smyrnensis
National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries
Quick Glance at the list of National Parks and wildlife sanctuaries in West Bengal
- Jaldapara National Park
- Sunderban National Park (also a Tiger Reserve)
- Singalila National Park
- Neora Valley National Park
- Gorumara National Park
- West Sunderban Wildlife Sanctuary
- Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary
- Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary
- Ramnabagan Wildlife Sanctuary
- Raiganj Wildlife Sanctuary
- Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary
- Lothian Island Wildlife Sanctuary
- Jore Pokhari Salamandar Wildlife Sanctuary
- Holiday Island Wildlife Sanctuary
- Chintamani Kar Bird Sanctuary
- Chaparamari Wildlife Sanctuary
- Buxa (Tiger Reserve) Wildlife Sanctuary
- Bibhuti Bhusan Wildlife Sanctuary
- Bethuadahari Wildlife Sanctuary
- Ballavpur Wildlife Sanctuary
Let us know some of them in detail.
National Parks in West Bengal
National parks are areas strictly reserved for the betterment of wildlife and to preserve biodiversity in the area. With well-defined boundaries, inside the national parks, no other activities are allowed. The largest national park in West Bengal is Sundarbans National Park and the smallest national park in Singalila National Park.
- Sundarbans National Park
It is situated in South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal. It was declared a national park on 4th May 1984. It is densely covered by mangrove forests and is one of the largest reserves for the royal Bengal tiger.
- Sundarbans Tiger Reserves was established in 1973.
- Since 2010, it has been classified as endangered by the IUCN.
- It is the national animal of both India and Bangladesh.
Fauna: It is also home to a variety of birds, reptiles and invertebrate species, including the saltwater crocodile.
Some other speicies include River terrapin, Olive Ridley Turtle, Gangetic dolphin, ground turtle, hawks, bill turtle and mangrove horseshoe crab.
- Sundarbans Tiger Reserve
The earliest records show that in 1658, Shah Suja for the first time treated the forests of Sundarbans as a source of revenue. It is one of the initial nine tiger reserves constituted at the time of inception of the Project Tiger Scheme in the year 1973.
- Neora Valley National Park
It is situated in Darjeeling district of West Bengal. It was established in April 1986. It is bordered on the East by Western Bhutan and Sikkim.
- Flora: The forests of this national Park consist of mixed species like rhododendron, bamboo, oak, ferns, sal, etc.
- Fauna: The wildlife of this park includes endangered species such as the clouded leopard, red panda, sloth bear, golden cat, goril, searaw, wild bear and musk deer.
2. Singalila National Park
It is situated in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal. At an altitude of more than 7000 ft and is the highest national park of West Bengal.
- Flora: The three main species found in the park are the rhododendron, magnolia, oak, silver fir, juniper, bamboo, etc.
- Fauna: The wildlife included in this park are leopard, serow, pangolin, red panda, barking deer, Himalayan black bear and leopard cat.
3. Buxa National Park
Situated in Alipurduar district of West Bengal and lies in the Terai region. Declared a National Park in January 1992.
- The Buxa National Park is a part of Buxa Tiger Reserve which was created in 1983 as the 15the Tiger Reserve.
- Fauna: Rich in biodiversity and has a vast collection of rare orchids and medicinal plants.
- Fauna: Wildlife of this national park includes leopard, fishing cat, leopard cat, giant squirrels, mongooses, Asian elephant, gaur, clawless otter, cheetal, sambar, barking deer, etc. Many species of birds like hornbill, ibis bill, migratory goosanders, black-necked crane, common migratory teal, black stork, large whistling teal, minivets, white-eyed poachard, etc.
4. Gurumara National Park
Duars region (rolling hills slopes) of Jalpaiguri district in West Bengal located on the bank of Murti river and has a large variety of flora and fauna.
- It was established as a National Park in 1992.
- Flora: Moist deciduous and sal is the most common and valuable tree.
- Fauna: One-horned rhinoceros, elephant, bison, leopard, different species of deer, turtles python, monkey, etc. and more than 200 species of birds.
5. Jaldapara National Park
Alipurduar district of West Bengal. In May 2012, it was declared a National Park. River Torsa runs along the park.
- Fauna: Largest population of the Indian one-horned rhinoceros, after Kaziranga National Park in Assam. Leopard, elephant, different species of deer wild pig and bison. The Bengal florican bird is also spotted here.
Wildlife Sanctuaries in West Bengal
A wildlife sanctuary is a protected area that protects species from hunting and poaching, but other activities are allowed in it to a certain extent.
- Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary
Located in Darjeeling district of West Bengal established in 1915 barking deer, wild pig, Himalayan black bear, leopard, jungle cat, common rhesus monkey, Assam macaque, Himalayan flying squirrel, etc. are found here.
2. Lothian Island Wildlife Sanctuary
Located in South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal established in the year 1976. Part of deltaic Sundarbans which harbour a tropical estuarine swamp forest. Estuarine crocodile, olive ridley sea turtle, spotted deer, jungle cat and rhesus monkey, are found here.
3. Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary
Located in Darjeeling district of West Bengal established as a wildlife sanctuary in 1976. This is situated between Mahananda and Teesta river in the Terai plains of Darjeeling.
- Nine major forest ranges, i.e. Kalijhora, Latpanchork, Punding, Sukuna, Gulma, Toribari, Sevoke, Seventh Mile and latlong.
- The Terai belt of the sanctuary is an important corridor for elephants migrating from Nepal through West Bengal to Assam.
- Fauna: Bengal Tiger, elephants, bison, spotted deer, rare mountain goat, porcupines, hornbills, swallows, swift, sunbird, etc. are found here.
4. Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary
It is located in South 24 Parganas of West Bengal established in the year 1976. It is considered as a part of the Sundarbans ecosystem. It lies on the confluence of Matla and Gumdi rivers.
- Fauna: Spotted billed pelican, cotton teal, herring gull, Caspian tern, grey heron, large egret, night heron, open-billed stork, white ibis, common kingfisher and paradise flycatcher.
5. Pakhi Bitan Wildlife Sanctuary
Then newest addition to the list of wildlife sanctuaries in the state established in 2011. Situated in Jalpaiguri district in the foreshore of Teesta barrage around the Gajaldoba waterbody.
- It is dedicated to the conservation of the habitat of aquatic birds.
- In winters it becomes of the house of different exotic species of Migratory birds.
Elephant Reserves in West Bengal
The elephant being a wide-ranging animal requires a large area for dwelling and other activities. The status of the elephant can be the best indicator of the state of the forest. As per the old records, it is seen that elephants were found all over India, including many parts of central India, southern India and North-East India. On the contrary, today, elephants are confined mainly to the South and North-East India.
- Easters Duars Elephant Reserve
Located in Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal situated as an elephant reserve on 4th October 2001. It is divided into two zines, i.e. core zone and buffer zone. The core zone is consisting of Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary and Buxa Tiger Reserve. The buffer zone consisting of some forest blocks of Jalpaiguri.
2. Mayurjharna Elephant Reserve
This reserve is situated on the border West Midnapore and Bankura in West Bengal the ‘Zone of Influence’ declared as Elephant Reserve on 24the October 2002.
Zoological Parks in West Bengal
The main objective of the Zoos is to complement and strengthen the national efforts in conservation of wildlife and biodiversity of the country. The West Bengal Govt has established West Bengal Zoo Authority in the year 2009 for the development and scientific management of Govt. controlled zoos in the State. There are 12 Govt controlled zoos in the State of West Bengal which is presently being managed by the West Bengal Zoo Authority.
Padmaja Naidu Zoological Garden
Kunjuanagar Rescue Centre
South Khairbari Rehabilitation Centre
Garchumuk Deer Park
Adina Deer Park
Kumari Kangsabati Deer Park
Surulia Mini Zoo
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