Wildlife of Gujarat

A plethora of varied ecosystems that thrive in different landforms of Gujarat is the reason behind the presence of myriad types of wildlife here. A great variety of flora and fauna is found surviving in different habitats. In order to conserve such a diverse wildlife of Gujarat, a number of National Parks and Sanctuaries have been created over time.

Gujarat is covered with different types of landforms that have given birth to multiple ecosystems like grasslands, rivers, lakes, dry and deciduous forests and profuse vegetation etc that support a diverse and unique wildlife. The National Parks and Sanctuaries of Gujarat are home to rare and endangered species of animals and plants, which forms the superb wildlife of Gujarat. Some of these rare species are the Asiatic Lion, great Indian bustard and Black Buck.

These natural conservatory areas protect species of mammals like the ass, gazelle, jackal, antelope, hedgehog, lions, and birds including kingfisher, flamingo, stork, coot and grebes. In total there are twenty one sanctuaries and four national parks that are the breeding grounds of these exotic species forming the wildlife of Gujarat.

Gir national park is the biggest one in Gujarat. Situated in Junagadh, this park is stretched over an area of about 260 sq kilometer. It is the home of the Asiatic lion, chinkara, chausinga, chital and hyena. National Marine Park which is also India's first marine park is famous for a set of islands that it is supposed to protect. Black Buck Park, a conservative area of the endangered black buck species,and also preserves houbara bustard and herpetoufaua.

As far as sanctuaries are concerned, the second biggest one is the Wild Ass Sanctuary. One can see the Asiatic asses, jackal foxes, Nilgiri antelopes and gerbils here. A number of wetland birds can also be seen in this sanctuary that is spread over an area of 4953 sq kilometer Nalsarovar is a bird sanctuary of Gujarat that is home to about 250 species of birds. A variety of migratory birds find shelter here in the winter season. Another bird sanctuary of Gujarat is Khijadia. It has three towers that are meant for bird-watching. There are boat facilities also in the watchtower area. One can get a glimpse into the habitats of birdlike blackwinged kite, imperial eagle and herons.

Among other National Parks and Sanctuaries of Gujarat, Velavadar National Park and Purna, Balaram Ambaji, Barda, Narayan, Jessore, and Kutch sanctuaries are worth- visiting by the tourists. Kachchh Desert encloses a massive wetland area that supports a bewildering variety of birds and animals. It is the largest sanctuary of  the Gujarat state. Earlier being the excavation site, this place has been a point of interest for archeologists, researchers as well as tourists from around the world. If one is particularly interested in watching sloth bears, then Ratanmahal is the perfect destination. This sanctuary is important from ecological point of view as it forms a famous catchments area. A reservoir and a dam serve to conserve the nearby area. Gaga is a place of bird like pelicans, flamingoes, and some of the rare species of bustard. It is a home to butterflies, honeybees, and other insects.

Gir National Park is a tract of deciduous forests that are that are home to the threatened species of Asiatic lions. Established in 1965, this park is a home to several habitats of flora and fauna that thrive successfully in this conservation area. The park is a famous tourist site. It is a perfect destination for nature enthusiasts. Besides deciduous trees that cover most part of Gir National Park, there are several types of vegetations like acacia shrubs, grasslands and other semi-green floral plants. The park area is covered with dense forests of Jamun, Teak, and Dhak trees. There are more than 400 species of plants that grow in this massive area. The park is a popular research area for the biologists and anthropologists. The evergreen forests of this park usually have broad leaves for storing large amount of moisture content.

A sumptuous variety of wildlife is found in Gir National Park. There are more than 23000 species of fauna that thrive in the jungles. The park is a home to a large variety of insects and birds. Among mammals, nilgai, antelope, chinkara, chital, porcupine and hare are the most common herbivores. Those looking for more adventures, there are many reptilian residents including lizards, crocodiles, pythons, and tortoises. Some of these reptiles thrive in water while others prefer bushy and shady areas of the forest. Gir is famous for innumerable avifauna population that also includes vultures and other scavengers. The bird-lovers can hope to see some of the typical species of the park like hawk eagle, fish owl, bush quail, bonelli's eagle etc.

Gir National Park is the home to endangered species of Asiatic lions; in fact it is the only habitat left for this carnivore animal. These majestic beasts can be seen in the morning and evening. The authorities have arranged shows where one can see these ferocious animals in their full fury. Tourists can also opt for guided tours that are really helpful in exploring large parts of the forests with numerable opportunities of watching wild life.

  Jessore Sloth Bear Sanctuary is located at a distance of about 35 kilometers from Palanpur. Situated in Banaskantha district, this sanctuary is famous for preserving the species of Sloth bear, which is one of the unique species of bears in the world. The sanctuary lies along Jessore hill and is blessed with rare and exotic species of animals. The place is rich in diverse flora and fauna. In order to conserve the ecosystem, the forest authorities have adopted various steps to preserve the wildlife. The forest area is a unique combination of several different ecosystems like deserts and deciduous forests.

Marine National Park is a major tourist attraction of Gujarat that showcases diverse flora and fauna found in the state. It is India's first Marine National Park that is located at a distance of about 30 kilometers from Jamnagar district. The park acts as a divide between Rann of Kutch and Saurashtra Peninsula. The size of the park varies from place to place; Near the Arabian Sea, it is about 60 kilometers, which gradually increases to 170 kilometers in the eastern direction. Besides Marine National Park, there is also a Marine sanctuary that is located near it. Both the park as well as the sanctuary was established under wildlife acts in order to preserve the wildlife species that are endangered or vulnerable to extinction. The sanctuary was established in 1980 over a small area, but was later extended to form a national park.

Narayan Sarovar Wildlife Sanctuary is located near Kachchh district and is popular for housing the endangered Chinkara species. The sanctuary is home to several other threatened species of animals. The desert ecosystem of this place is one of its own kinds. It is the perfect place for nature enthusiasts who want to explore rare and exotic flora and fauna of this wildlife attraction.

This seasonal wetland is home to various types of desert vegetation including scrubs, thorns and other desert plants. Located at a distance of about 125 kilometers from Vadodara, Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary was first built over a small area of 150 kilometers, but was later extended to about four times. The sanctuary is known for protecting diverse flora and fauna that are prone to extinction. Extending along the salt water reserves, this sanctuary provides respite to these endangered animals from poachers and hunters. Situated in the district of Bharuch, the sanctuary is an excellent haven for wildlife. The brackish water of the reserves is home to several species of marine life. In addition to rich flora and fauna, there are huge reservoirs of water that encompass the jungle area. A big watershed feeds to the vast Sardar sarovar as well as Karjan reservoirs. The sanctuary has got its name from an old temple of the same name that existed on Narmada bank. This Shiva temple, later on, submerged in water.

Located in the district of Bhal, Velavadar Black Buck National Park was earlier a grassland of Bhavnagar district. It is the home of the endangered species of black buck which are found here in largest number. Next to Gir, this park is declared as Gujarat's second largest destination for wildlife. HINGOLGADH NATURE EDUCATION SANCTUARYLocated in the taluka of Jasdan, Hingolgadh Nature Education Sanctuary is a magnificent sanctuary that is replete with profuse vegetation and several different varieties of fauna. It is located in the vicinity of rugged hills, beautiful grasslands and amazing soil patterns. The jungle area wakes to full vigor and liveliness in the rainy season when the sanctuary presents itself with an enchanting view. Kutch Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary, located in Kachchh district, is a preservation area that conserves and protects the endangered species of Indian Bustard. The sanctuary is a home to two endangered and a vulnerable species of this heaviest bird of flight.

The sanctuary is a perfect place for watching several exotic species of birds. The desert vegetation of the sanctuary is interspersed with the grasslands that are home to unique and rare species of flora and fauna. The Great Indian Bustard that is commonly known by the name of Ghorad is in the list of Wildlife Protection Act. All the three varieties of the bustard namely great Indian bustard, Bengal Florican and Lesser Florican are the inhabitants of Kutch Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary.

Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary is a wetland sanctuary that is largest in the state of Gujarat . Named after Nalsarovar Lake, it is famous for harboring a wide variety of resident and migratory birds. Sprawled over an area of about 120 sq kilometer, this sanctuary is home to about 250 varied species of birds. Spread over a small area of one square kilometer, Porbandar Bird Sanctuary is a perfect destination for those who want to spend time watching  and admiring some of the most colorful and exotic species of birds. One can have a delightful experience while exploring the habitats of a wide variety of local and migratory birds.

The travelers coming to Porbandar Bird Sanctuary have numerous options to choose from as they wander through this picturesque place. The sanctuary is stuffed with birds of all forms, sizes and shapes. Their gaudy hues and bright-colored wings are worth admiring. The forest flaunts some of the most beautiful species of birds that flaunt their plumages and make chirpy sounds much to the delight of the visitor. Not only these, their multiple textures and varied patterns of these lovely creatures can make one spell bound. Purna Wildlife Sanctuary is located at Mahal near Dang district. It is a thick lump of dense forests that are blessed with the highest rainfall in Gujarat. It is this luxuriant forest canopy that has attracted tourists since decades.

The pristine forests are rich in several species of flora and fauna. Managed by Dangs Forest Division, Purna Wildlife Sanctuary is known as the forests that have the thickest cover among all the forests of the state. A major part of the forests is made up of deciduous trees. Teak is the predominant variety among trees; about 700 species of trees and other vegetation are known to exist. The flora includes trees of bamboo, khair, shisham, dudhalo, bondara, haldu, timru, killai, and karanj. Such a wide gamut of vegetation is a delightful experience to explore the nature-lovers. Purna Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area of the state that strives to conserve wildlife. Among fauna, elephants, rhinoceros, and sloth bears are most popular. Tourists can also capture the liveliness of antelope, sambar, chital, momgoose, rhesus macau, and leopard to name a few. In addition, species of deer, squirrel, lizard, porcupine are also found in abundance. Among birds, grey fowls, barbets, shrikes, woodpeckers and raptors can be seen.

Located in Mehsana District, at a distance of about 40 kilometers from Ahmedabad, Thol Lake Bird Sanctuary is a body of freshwater that is replete with dense forests and swampy areas. This sanctuary is a home to several exotic species of birds and insects. The marshy is the perfect breeding place for various birds and arthropods. The place offers a treat to bird-watchers and ornithologists who flock to the sanctuary to watch these colorful creatures. Watching an overwhelming number of birds including cranes, pelicans, spoonbills, teals, and flamingoes is a delightful experience for the tourists.

Mallards, geese, and flycatchers can be seen in abundance. Thol Lake Bird Sanctuary is also home to several migratory species like curlews, greyleg cheese and sarus crane. The scrubby forests that surround the sanctuary offer the perfect breeding grounds for waterfowls and waders. One can watch and admire these lovely creatures, can applaud their magnificent shapes and sizes, can get lost in their melodious songs, or explore their nesting habits. It is a treat to watch the flocks of birds flying in patterns and forming symmetrical designs in the sky. The echoing sounds of myriad birds make the visit an enchanting experience. The majestic saras crane is seen pecking insects with its elongated beak. They attract the attention of the tourists through their flexible body movements and grace.

At Thol Lake Bird Sanctuary, one can have one of the most treasurable experiences of life. Vansda National Park is a luxuriant and dense forest that is located among Sahyadri range of Western Ghats. A home to diverse fauna and flora, the park is one of the protected areas of Gujarat. The name of this place is derived from Vansda town that is a tribal area. The park is the favorite haunting place of wildlife enthusiasts who love wandering in the dark forests to have a glimpse of the wild animals.