Environment

India's National Parks

India is home to more than 100 national parks, with Jim Corbett being the oldest and Hemis being the largest.

India is a South Asian nation that has been endowed with a wide range of beautiful terrains and ecosystems. The country’s landscape stretches from the Himalayan Mountains to the Indian Ocean coastlines. India is on the list of the 17 mega-diverse countries of the world. Due to its rich natural heritage, India established more than 100 national parks and protected zones to preserve the wealth. Notable national parks in India include Jim Corbett National Park and Hemis National Park, the country's oldest and largest, respectively.

Jim Corbett National Park

Jim Corbett National Park was India’s first national park. It was established in 1936 as a reserve area for the Bengal Tiger. The park covers an area of 509 square miles of which 200 square miles is the core area, and the rest 309 square miles is the buffer zone. Its terrain is comprised of rivers, deciduous forests, lakes, grasslands, hills, and valleys. Jim Corbett National Park experiences subtropical and highland climate. The park is home to more than 580 bird species, 480 plant species, 50 mammal species and 25 reptile species. The Crested serpent eagle, red jungle fowl, and blossom-headed parakeet are a few of the birds found in the park. The park has suffered from excess tourist visits that have exerted pressure on the park resources. The increasing population of the local communities has led to encroachment into the park. The Indian authorities have proposed the construction of a wall on the park’s border to keep out the invaders.

Hemis National Park

Hemis National Park is India’s largest park, covering an area of 1,700 square miles. It is located in a high altitude region. The park is famous for its population of the rare snow leopard. River Indus flows along the northern border of the park. The park hosts a variety of animal species including the endangered brown bear, Asiatic Ibex, Tibetan wolf, mountain weasel and the Himalayan marmot. It is also an ideal site for bird watching with birds such as Robin Accentor, streaked rose finch, chukar and red-billed chough inhabiting the park. Hemis National Park accommodates 15 endangered plant species that have medicinal value. There are approximately 1,600 people who live within the park. The people largely practice pastoralism which poses a threat to the park’s resources. The park is managed by the Department of Wildlife Protection of the Jammu and Kashmir government.

Desert National Park

Desert National Park is one of India’s most unique national parks, and is located in the northwestern region of the country. It is among India’s largest parks covering an area of 1,220 square miles. The park lies in the Thar Desert. Its landscape consists of craggy rocks, sand dunes, and sparse vegetation. The park is a popular site for migratory birds including kestrels, harriers, buzzards, eagles, falcons, and vultures. The main attraction to the park is the great Indian Bustard, an endangered bird found only in India. Animals such as desert fox, wild cats, and wolves are found in the park. The vegetation consists of grasslands and shrubs.

Valley of Flowers National Park

Valley of Flowers National Park is a scenic park in the West Himalayas region of India. The park is endowed with beautiful alpine flowers most of which are endemic to the area. It covers an area of 34 square miles and forms part of UNESCO biosphere reserve. The park is popular with mountaineers, botanists, and site seers. It also holds religious significance for the yogis who visit the area for meditation. The park is managed by the Forestry department of Uttarakhand. There are no settlers in the park and grazing in the area was banned in 1983.

Role of National Parks in India

India is rich in terms of the wildlife and natural scenes it houses. The country hosts unique plants and animals that attract tourists from far and wide. The national parks have helped preserve the endangered plant and animal species. They also provide an avenue for eco-tourism in the country.

India's National Parks

India's National Parks Square Miles of Area
Anamudi Shola National Park 3
Anshi National Park 161
Balphakram National Park 85
Bandhavgarh National Park 172
Bandipur National Park 338
Bannerghatta National Park and Biological Park 40
Bhitarkanika National Park 56
Bison (Rajbari) National Park 12
Blackbuck National Park 13
Buxa Tiger Reserve 293
Campbell Bay National Park 165
Chandoli National Park 123
Clouded Leopard National Park 2
Dachigam National Park 54
Desert National Park 1,221
Dibru-Saikhowa National Park 131
Dudhwa National Park 189
Eravikulam National Park 37
Galathea National Park 42
Gangotri National Park 923
Gir Forest National Park 545
Gorumara National Park 31
Govind Pashu Vihar Wildlife Sanctuary 182
Great Himalayan National Park 291
Gugamal National Park 139
Guindy National Park 1
Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park 2
Guru Ghasidas Sanjay National Park 556
Hemis National Park 1,699
Hazaribagh National Park 71
Inderkilla National Park 40
Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park 45
Indravati National Park 486
Jaldapara National Park 83
Jim Corbett National Park 509
Kalesar National Park 39
Kanha National Park 363
Kanger Ghati National Park 77
Kasu Brahmananda Reddy National Park 1
Kaziranga National Park 332
Keibul Lamjao National Park 15
Keoladeo National Park 11
Khangchendzonga National Park 689
Khirganga National Park 274
Kishtwar National Park 154
Kudremukh National Park 232
Madhav National Park 145
Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park 109
Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National Park 6
Manas National Park 193
Mandla Plant Fossils National Park <1
Marine National Park, Gulf of Kutch 63
Mathikettan Shola National Park 5
Middle Button Island National Park <1
Mollem National Park 41
Mouling National Park 186
Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary 112
Mount Harriet National Park 18
Mrugavani National Park 1
Mudumalai National Park 124
Mukundra Hills National Park 77
Mukurthi National Park 30
Murlen National Park 39
Namdapha National Park 767
Nameri National Park 53
Nanda Devi National Park 243
Navegaon National Park 52
Neora Valley National Park 34
Nokrek National Park 18
North Button Island National Park <1
Ntangki National Park 78
Omkareshwar National Park 113
Orang National Park 30
Pambadum Shola National Park 1
Panna National Park 210
Papikonda National Park 391
Pench National Park 293
Periyar National Park 118
Phawngpui Blue Mountain National Park 19
Pin Valley National Park 312
Rajaji National Park 317
Nagarhole National Park 248
Rajiv Gandhi Rameswaram National Park 1
Rani Jhansi Marine National Park 99
Ranthambore National Park 151
Saddle Peak National Park 13
Salim Ali National Park 4
Sanjay National Park 180
Sanjay Gandhi National Park 40
Sariska Tiger Reserve 334
Satpura National Park 202
Silent Valley National Park 92
Simbalbara National Park 11
Sirohi National Park 16
Simlipal National Park 327
Singalila National Park 30
South Button Island National Park <1
Sri Venkateswara National Park 136
Sultanpur National Park 1
Sundarbans National Park 514
Tadoba National Park 241
Valley of Flowers National Park 34
Valmiki National Park 347
Vansda National Park 9
Van Vihar National Park 2

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