Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary

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Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary
মহানন্দা অভয়ারণ্য
Map showing the location of Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary  মহানন্দা অভয়ারণ্য
Map showing the location of Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary  মহানন্দা অভয়ারণ্য
Location Darjeeling, West Bengal, India
Nearest city Siliguri
Coordinates 26°28′52″N 88°15′50″E / 26.481°N 88.264°E / 26.481; 88.264Coordinates: 26°28′52″N 88°15′50″E / 26.481°N 88.264°E / 26.481; 88.264

Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary is located on the foothills of the Himalayas, between the Teesta and Mahananda rivers.

Location and History[edit]

Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, India. It comes under Darjeeling Wildlife division and can be reached from Siliguri in 30 minutes. Sukna, the gateway to the sanctuary, is only 13 km from Siliguri and 28 km from Bagdogra airport. The sanctuary sprawls over 159 km2 of reserve forest and was started as a game sanctuary in 1955. In 1959, it got the status of a sanctuary mainly to protect the Indian bison and royal Bengal tiger, which were facing the threat of extinction.[1]

Geography and animal species[edit]

The forest type in Mahananda WLS varies from riverain forests like Khayer-Sisoo to dense mixed-wet forest in the higher elevation in 'Latpanchar' area of Kurseong hills. The variation in altitude and forest types helps the existence of a large number of species of mammals, birds and reptiles. The important mammalian species include royal Bengal tiger, Indian elephants, Indian bison, chital (spotted deer), barking deer, sambar, rhesus monkey, many species of lesser cat like fishing cat and jungle cat, Himalayan black bear, leopard including clouded leopard, and many other smaller animals like rare mountain goat (serow), porcupines, snakes, etc. The sanctuary also holds hundreds of feathered species. The exciting list includes some very endangered species like fairy-bluebird and Himalayan pied hornbill. Among the others swallow, swift, thrush, babbler, warbler, roller, minivet and sunbird can be found in abundance.