Top 10 National Parks & Wildlife Sanctuaries in Gujarat
Gujarat is geographically quite diverse in nature. Nowhere else is the coastline as long as it is in Gujarat. The state also comprises of four major biogeographic zones due to which Gujarat is rich in a quite unique form of biodiversity. Majestic grasslands, marshy swamps, deciduous woodlands make Gujarat home to an unending variety of wildlife. The rich wildlife that Gujarat boasts of may be attributed to its singular ecosystem diversity and thus it is no wonder that many regions of Gujarat are looked upon as the safest haven for the rarest species of wildlife. For wildlife enthusiasts Gujarat has turned out to be one of the nation’s wealthiest destinations. Today there are innumerable National Parks and Wild Life Sanctuaries in Gujarat. The top 10 ones are listed as follows-
Asiatic Lion – Ssasangir
What makes Gir National Park a truly renowned National Park of the country is its huge population of Asiatic Lions. Two significant landmarks are only few kilometers away from this national park; i.e. Somnath at a distance of about 43kms and Junagadh at a distance of about 60kms. Apart from Asiatic Lions, this National Park is an abode of many other animals too such as ruddy mongoose, ratel, rusty spotted cat, civets, pangolin, paradise flycatchers and many more.
Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary
Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary falls along the coastal lands in vicinity to Jamnagar. The sanctuary covers an area of about 6sqkms and you could spot a whopping 220 bird’s species here. The major type of birds that you come across in this sanctuary include Indian skimmer, herons, ducks, flamingoes, great crested grebe, spoonbill, storks, purple moorhen, darter, Pelicans, gulls, egrets, terns, ibises, jacanas, little grebe and many more. The sanctuary also offers room to some other animals apart from birds. Jackals, blue bulls, mongoose, jungle cat too can be spotted here.
Gaga Wildlife Sanctuary
This sanctuary covers some 33287 hectares and is counted as one of Gujarat’s smallest wildlife habitat. It falls within the district of Jamnagar and its strategic positioning on the famous Gulf of Kutch makes it an abode of some of the country’s most endangered wildlife species such as India Wolf, Houbara Bastard. The sanctuary houses nearly 12 mammal species, 88 bird species and 8 reptile species. You can also spot a huge number and variety of spiders, termites, wasps, moths, butterflies and honeybees at this sanctuary. The prime time to visit is between months March-October.
Vansda National Park
This very popular National park of Gujarat covers a small area of only 23 sq km but its wildlife reserves is truly huge when compared to its limited size. At this National Park, you would come across animals like hyena, wild boar, four horned antelope, Indian porcupine, leopard, hanuman langur, barking deer, rhesus macaque, jungle cat, Russle’s Viper, python, flying squirrel etc. The bird species found in this park amount to some 155 and include birds like yellow back sunbird, Malabar trogon, pompadour pigeon, grey hornbill, shama, forest spotted owlet, jungle babbler, great Indian black woodpecker etc.
Wild Ass Sanctuary
This wildlife sanctuary covers an area of about 5000 sq km is the largest of all Gujarat wildlife reserves. It falls on the Little Rann of Kutch region and is a reserve for the Indian Wild Ass, which is almost now extinct. There is no other such reserve in the entire country and that is what makes this sanctuary unique and famous. The sanctuary is also home to many other endangered and rare animal and bird species. Thus along with Wild Ass, you would come across sarus crane, Dalmatian pelican, black cobra, desert fox, falcons, hawks, houbara bastard etc here. So don’t miss to visit this beautiful & unique Ass Sanctuary of Rann for your next Gujarat Kutch trip.
Jessore Sloth Bear Sanctuary
This sanctuary falls just on the Gujarat-Rajasthan border and is an abode of a huge population of sloth bear, a quite endangered species now. Also you can come across other animals like wild boars, blue bulls, sambars, porcupines, leopards etc here. 405 plants species, 105 bird’s species found in this sanctuary make wildlife enthusiasts and botanists highly excited.
Barda Wildlife Sanctuary
The Barda Hills Wildlife Sanctuary is famed enough not only for its rich wildlife but also for two other things; i.e. the rare plant species with extraordinary medicinal properties thriving in the region and secondly for the many Gujarati ethnic tribes inhabiting the region, namely Rabaris, Gadhvis, Maldharis and Bharvads. The animals that you get to see in this sanctuary are Asiatic lions, leopard, wolf, hyena, blue bull, jackal, wild boar, spotted eagles and many more. Visit between months mid June-November to enjoy the wildlife in the sanctuary at its best.
Kutch Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary
This Sanctuary falls in Gujarat’s Kutch district and serves as a reservoir of the Great Indian Bastard. This sanctuary ranks second as a Bastard conservator sanctuary after the one that Rajasthan has. Along with Bastard, you come across other animals and birds such as grey francolin, sand grouses, common cranes, harriers, striped hyena, wolf, desert cat etc here. Ideal time to visit this sanctuary is between the months March-August.
Blackbuck National Park
This National park in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar district is a sprawling grassy abode of a huge population of Blackbucks, that which makes it quite famous. The area that the park covers is nearly 34 sq km. Wild pigs, Indian fox, Indian Wolf, Jungle Cat, Jackal, Hares etc are some of the other animals that you get to see here. Visit between months March-July to enjoy the best of the wildlife in the park.
Thol Lake Bird Sanctuary
Thol Lake Bird Sanctuary
Visit the Thol lake bird Sanctuary at a distance of about 10kms from the city of Ahmadabad only to enjoy the interesting sight of 100+ bird species hovering and chirping over the pellucid lake area and surrounding marshes covering some 7 sq km. You could spot birds like spoonbills, cranes, ducks, whistling teals, herons, pelicans, flamingoes, egrets, geese here. The ideal time to get the best view of these feathery guests is between months February-November.
So these are the top 10 national parks and wildlife sanctuaries of Gujarat.