Simlipal National Park
|Simlipal National Park|
|Area||845.70 square kilometres (326.53 sq mi).|
|Visitors||NA (in 2005)|
|Governing body||Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India|
Simlipal National Park (Oriya: ଶିମିଳିପାଳ ଜାତୀୟ ଉଦ୍ୟାନ) is a national park and an elephant reserve situated in the Mayurbhanj district in the Indian state of Odisha. Simlipal National Park derives its name from the abundance of Semul or red silk cotton trees that bloom abundantly in the locality.
The park has an area of 845.70 square kilometres (326.53 sq mi) and has some beautiful waterfalls like Joranda and Barehipani. Simlipal is home to ninety-nine Royal Bengal Tigers, 432 Wild elephants. Besides Simlipal is famous for Gaurs (Indian Bisons), Chausingha, as well as an orchidarium.
One can enter into Similipal through Pithabata (22 kilometres (14 mi) from Baripada) and 98 km via Jashipur. Entry permits can be obtained from the Range Officer, Pithabata check gate upon paying prescribed fees. Day visitors can enter between 6 AM & 12 Noon and visitors with reservation between 6 AM & 9 AM. Similipal National Park remains open from 1 October to 15 June only.
Simlipal elephant reserve originated mainly as a hunting ground for the royalty. It was formally designated a tiger reserve in 1956 and under Project Tiger in May 1973. “Mugger Crocodile Scheme” was started in the year 1979 at Ramatirtha, Jashipur.
The Government of Odisha declared Simlipal as a wildlife sanctuary in 1979 with an area of 2,200 square kilometres (850 sq mi). Later in 1980, the state government proposed 303 square kilometres (117 sq mi) of the sanctuary as a national park. Further in 1986, area of the national park was increased to 845.70 square kilometres (326.53 sq mi). Government of India declared Simlipal as a biosphere reserve in 1994. UNESCO added this national park to its list of Biosphere Reserves in May 2009. There are 10,000 people living in 61 villages in the forest. That is why Simlipal is yet to be declared a full-fledged park, despite its having the status of one of the fifteen biospheres of India.
Geography and climate
The park is located in the Mayurbhanj district in the Indian state of Odisha. Simlipal elephant Reserve is an ecosystem complete with forest vegetation (mainly sal trees), fauna and the adjoining Santhal tribal settlements. The park has a total area of 2,750 square kilometres (1,060 sq mi). The average elevation is 559.31 metres (1,835.0 ft). However, the entire Simlipal area is undulating, rising from 600 metres (2,000 ft) to 1,500 metres (4,900 ft). The high hills of Simlipal are surrounding Meghasani, the highest peak in the national park. At an altitude of 1,165 metres (3,822 ft), followed by Khairiburu at above 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) elevation. At least 12 rivers cut across the plain area. The prominent among them are Budhabalanga, Palpala Bandan, Kharkai River and Deo. This sprawling forest also has many waterfalls such as, Joranda 493 feet (150 m) and Barehipani that are a perpetual attraction to the tourist, the latter at an elevation of 1,308 feet (399 m) gives a panoramic view of the park. It has withstood two cyclones in 1982 and 1999 without any prominent damages.
Caution: Cerebral malaria
Simlipal falls under a high cerebral malaria-prone zone. In cerebral malaria the sequestrated red blood cells can breach the blood brain barrier possibly leading to coma. Cerebral malaria, if not detected, causes death within 15 days of infection.
Initial symptoms of cerebral malaria are often mistaken as those of acute jaundice. There have been many recorded cases of death due to cerebral malaria after visits to Simlipal. Therefore, it is extremely important for tourists to be aware of the threats posed by cerebral malaria before planning a visit to Simlipal. For further information on deadly infection threats related to forest visits in India, one may refer to the website[clarification needed] of the Centre for Tropical Medicine and Parasitology, Kolkata, India[clarification needed].
Flora and fauna
The park is a treasure house of 1076 species of plants belonging to 102 families. 96 species of orchids have also been identified here. It has a mixed type of vegetation known as Odisha semi-evergreen forests with tropical moist broadleaf forest and tropical moist deciduous forests with dry deciduous hill forest and high level Sal forests. The grasslands and the savannas provide grazing grounds for the herbivores and hiding place to the carnivores. The forest boasts of innumerable medicinal and aromatic plants, which provide a source of earnings for the tribal people. Eucalyptus, plantated by the British during the 1900 are also found.
A total of 42 species of mammals, 242 species of birds and 30 species of reptiles have been recorded in Simlipal National Park. The major mammals include Tiger, Leopard, Asian elephant, Sambar, Barking deer, Gaur, Jungle cat, Wild boar, Chausingha (four horned antelope), Giant squirrel and Common langur. 231 species of birds nest in these forests. Red Junglefowl, Hill Mynah, Peacock, Alexandrine Parakeet, Crested Serpent Eagle are the commonly found birds. The Grey Hornbill, Indian Pied Hornbill, Malabar Pied Hornbill and Indian Trogon are also found in the reserve. Apart from the large number of mammals and bird species, the park has a sizeable population of reptiles, which includes snakes and turtles. The "Mugger Crocodile Management Programme" has helped the Mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) to survive and flourish on the banks of Khairi river.
- "Simlipal National Park". Department of tourism, Odisha. Retrieved 12 December 2009.
- Jena 2005, p. 110
- Jena 2005, p. 112
- "Three Indian sites added to UNESCO list of biosphere reserves". Sify News. 27 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-30.
- "UNESCO Designates 22 New Biosphere Reserves". Environment News Service. May 27, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-30.
- Jena 2005, p. 111
- Adams S, Brown H, Turner G, "Breaking down the blood–brain barrier: signaling a path to cerebral malaria?", Trends Parasitol v. 18 no. 8, pp. 360–6 (2002) pmid 12377286 doi 10.1016/S1471-4922(02)02353-X
- "Report of the Fact Finding Team on Infant Death in Simlipal Sanctuary".
- Jena, Mona Lisa (2005). "Similipal's Scenic Splendor". Women's Era 32 (752): 110–112.
- Simlipal National Park travel guide from Wikivoyage