National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries in West Bengal

By Saroj Singh|Updated : August 9th, 2022

West Bengal is situated in the north-eastern part of the country. This state of eastern India attracts tourists from all over the country. Its diverse natural features make West Bengal a favourable tourist destination. With about 13.38% of forest cover in its land area (the national average is 23%), West Bengal is rich in wildlife. There are 6 National Parks, 15 wildlife sanctuaries and 2 elephant reserves.

West Bengal is blessed with an array of flora and fauna and is world-famous for Royal Bengal Tiger and the one-horned Indian Rhinoceros. West Bengal is also unique in the sense that the world’s most extensive mangrove forests, Sunderbans are in southern West Bengal.

Table of Content

The state of West Bengal in eastern India is very diverse in terms of history, culture and nature. From the foothills of the Himalayas to the deltaic islands at the mouth of the Ganges, the state contributes as a habitat to a vast biosphere rich in flora and fauna and comprises several tribal communities. This topic is very important for the candidates preparing for WBCS Exam or other West Bengal State Government Exams.

Before we delve into the details of flora and fauna. Let us have a glance at 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

Among the wildlife found in the protected areas of West Bengal are Indian rhinoceros, Indian elephants, deer, leopard, gaur, and crocodile. West Bengal has 6 national parks and 15 wildlife sanctuaries. Below you will get all the details about the National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries of West Bengal.

Quick Glance at the list of National Parks and wildlife sanctuaries in West Bengal

National Parks of West Bengal

  1. Jaldapara National Park
  2. Sunderban National Park (also a Tiger Reserve)
  3. Singalila National Park
  4. Neora Valley National Park
  5. Gorumara National Park
  6. Buxa National Park

Wildlife Sanctuaries of West Bengal

  1. West Sunderban Wildlife Sanctuary
  2. Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary
  3. Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary
  4. Ramnabagan Wildlife Sanctuary
  5. Raiganj Wildlife Sanctuary
  6. Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary
  7. Lothian Island Wildlife Sanctuary
  8. Jore Pokhari Salamandar Wildlife Sanctuary
  9. Holiday Island Wildlife Sanctuary
  10. Chintamani Kar Bird Sanctuary
  11. Chaparamari Wildlife Sanctuary
  12. Buxa (Tiger Reserve) Wildlife Sanctuary
  13. Bibhuti Bhusan Wildlife Sanctuary
  14. Bethuadahari Wildlife Sanctuary
  15. 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.

1. Sundarbans National Park

It is situated in the 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 species 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.

2. Neora Valley National Park

It is situated in the 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.

3. 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.

4. Buxa National Park

Situated in the 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 the 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

1. Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary

Located in the 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 the 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 the 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 a part of the Sundarbans ecosystem. It lies at the confluence of Malta and the 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

The newest addition to the list of wildlife sanctuaries in the state was 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 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 in many parts of central India, southern India and North-East India. On the contrary, today, elephants are confined mainly to South and North-East India.

1. Easters Duars Elephant Reserve

Located in the 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 consists of some forest blocks of Jalpaiguri.

2. Mayurjharna Elephant Reserve

This reserve is situated on the border of West Midnapore and Bankura in West Bengal the ‘Zone of Influence’ was 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 the 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.

           Name

                      District

Zoological Garden

Alipore, Kolkata

Padmaja Naidu Zoological Garden

Darjeeling

Jhargram Zoo

Jhargram

Ramnagagan Zoo

 Bardhaman

Rasikbil Zoo

Cooch Behar

Kunjuanagar Rescue Centre

Jalpaiguri

South Khairbari Rehabilitation Centre

Jalpaiguri

Garchumuk Deer Park

Howrah

Adina Deer Park

Malda

Kumari Kangsabati Deer Park

Bankura

Surulia Mini Zoo

Purulia

 

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FAQs

  • West Bengal has a total of six national parks and fifteen wildlife sanctuaries:

    1. Jaldapara National Park
    2. Sunderban National Park (also a Tiger Reserve)
    3. Singalila National Park
    4. Neora Valley National Park
    5. Gorumara National Park
    6. Buxa National Park
  • The Sundarbans of West Bengal is home to the incomparable Royal Bengal Tigers. Sundarbans is the country's largest mangrove forest, which forms a major part of the world's largest delta. This extensive delta area is formed by the Ganga, Meghna and Brahmaputra rivers. Besides, this vast forest and wetland area covering 4262 square kilometres is rich in flora and fauna.

  • Buxa National Park is a national park located in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is located in the northern part of West Bengal in the Buxa Hills area. The area of ​​the national park is about 760 square kilometres.

  • A national park is a natural park for conservation purposes, created and protected by the national government. There is a total of 106 National Parks in India.

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