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a walk on the wild side

Dudwa Tiger Reserve, Uttar Pradesh

Location Indo-Nepal Border
Speciality Tigers

Dudwa Tiger Reserve constitutes of mosaic of grasslands, marshes, lakes and sal (Shorea robusta) forests. It is as wild as can be.

Duliwa Tiger, situated on the Indo-Nepal border in District Lakhimpur-Kheri of Uttar Pradesh, with an area of 614 sq. km. is one of the finest of the few remaining examples of the excedingly diverse and productive terai eco-systems. The northern edge of the Reserve lies along the Indo-Nepal border and the southern boundary is marked by the River Suheli. It is home to a large number of rare and endangered species which include tiger, leopard, swamp deer, hispid hare, Bengal flovican, etc.

The Kishanpur Sanctuary, located about 30 km. from Dudwa, is the other constituent of the Reserve, spread over-about 200-sq. km., lies on the banks of the River Sharda and is surrounded by sal forests of the adjoining reserved forests.

The grasslands of the Reserve are the habitat of the largest kind of Indian deer - the swamp deer or the bavasingha, so called because of their magnificent antlers (bara- twelve; singha-antler). Decline in their habitats led to a drastic decline in numbers and a small area named Sonaripur Sanctuary was set aside in 1958 for the conservation of this rare species of deer. Later, it was upgraded to cover an area of 212 sq. km. and was renamed the Dudwa Sanctuary. In 1977, the area was further extended to include over 614 sq. km. And was declared a National Park. Eleven years later, in 1988, when Dudwa became a part of Project Tiger, the area of the Kishanpur Sanctuary was added to create the Dudwa Tiger Reserve. About 1800 barasingha are to be found in the Reserve and majestic herds are especially seen in the grassy wetlands of the Sathiana and Kakmha blocks.

Dudwa has also the ideal kind of tervainfov the Indian vhino, once found here in large numbers, hunted down and had completely disappeared from this area by 1878. More lately, it was feared that epidemics and disease would wipe out the existing populations of rhino in Assam, West Bengal and Nepal and a decision was taken to distribute some in other suitable areas. In an exciting experiment, one male and five female rhinos were relocated here from Assam and Nepal, in 1985. Now well settled in Dudwa, their numbers have increased. At present, tourists are not allowed in the rhino area.

The Reserve has also a fair density of tigers. Standing as it does at the top of the food chain, the tiger can only be protected by the total conservation of its natural environment and the Project Tiger has reinforced this at Dudwa. Despite its numbers, sightings of the tiger are rare, due to the dense nature of the forest cover.

Dudwa did have a large herd of elephants during the 1960's and 70's a herd of about 30 that migrated here after the destruction of their habitat in Nepal. They have returned since to a little sanctuary across the border in Nepal. The Reserve, however, does have range of fascinating wildlife. Included in their number are sloth bear, ratel, civet, jackal, the lesser cats like the leopard cat, fishing cat and jungle cat; varieties of deer - the beautiful spotted deer or chital, hog deer and barking deer The hispid hare, a dark brown animal with bristly fur - last seen in the area in 1951 and believed to have become extinct, was rediscovered in 1984 to the great interest of conservationists. The short nosed crocodile - the mugger and otters can be seen along the riverbanks as weII as pythons and monitor lizards.

A bird watchers' haven, Dudwa is noted for its avian variety - about 400 species. Its swamps and several lakes attract varieties of waterfowl. Being close to the Himalayan foothills, Dudwa also gets its regular winter visitors - the migratory water birds. The Banke Tal is perhaps the most popular spot for bird watchers. There are egrets, cormorants, herons and several species of duck, geese and teal.

Noted for the variety of storks that make their home here, Dudwa has the sarus crane - elegant in its grey and red livery, black necked storks, white necked storks, painted storks, open billed storks and adjutant storks. Raptors like the grey headed fishing eagle, PaIlas fishing eagle and marsh harriers can be seen circling over the lakes in search of prey - creating pandemonium among the waterfowl as they swoop low.

An extraordinary range of owls are also to be found a t the Reserve. These include the great Indian horned owl, the brown Fish owl, the dusky horned owl, scops owl, jungle ow2et, the brown wood owl, and tawny fish owl. Colourful birds - varieties of woodpeckers, barbets, minivets, bulbuls, kingfishers, bee-eaters, orioles, drongos and hornbi2ls are all part of its rich bird life.

A rather fragile paradise, Dudwa is a noteworthy attempt at preserving a natural biosphere for the coming generations.

Wildlife that can be sighted :

Tiger, swamp deer, hog deer, barking deer, sambar, wild boar, sloth bear, rhesus monkey, langur, crocodile, jackal, leopard etc. Resident birds include hornbills, jungle fowl, peafowl, partridges, woodpeckers, thrushes, orioles, bee-eaters, baya, minivets, roller, drongos, bulbuls, etc. Rivers, nalas and ponds which comprise roughly 2% of the Reserve area attract birds like clucks, geese, cormorants, ibis, herons, storks, kites, fishing eagles, etc.

General Details :
Area 614 sq. km.
Year of Establishment 1977
Location Along the Indo-Nepal border in the Lakhimpur-Kheri District of Uttar Pradesh.
Headquarters Lakhimpur (Kheri), UP, India
Altitude 150-183 meters Nearest Town: Palia
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