Rajaji National Park
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|Rajaji National Park|
|Nearest city||Saharanpur and Dehra Dun|
|Area||202,630 acres (820.0 km2)|
|Governing body||Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Uttarakhand|
Rajaji National Park is an Indian national park and tiger reserve that encompasses the Shivaliks, near the foothills of the Himalayas. The park is spread over 820 km2., and three districts of Uttarakhand: Saharanpur, Dehradun and Pauri Garhwal. In 1983, three wildlife sanctuaries in the area namely, Chilla, Motichur and Rajaji sanctuaries were merged into one.
Rajaji National Park has been named after C. Rajagopalachari (Rajaji), a prominent leader of the Freedom Struggle, the second and last Governor-General of independent India and one of the first recipients of India's highest civilian award Bharat Ratna (in 1954).
Tiger reserve status
Rajaji National Park of India is nestled between the Shivalik ranges and the Indo-Gangetic plains. Broadleaved deciduous forests, riverine vegetation, scrubland, grasslands and pine forests form the range of flora in this park. The dense jungles here are home to vivacious wildlife. The varied topography of the national park is also responsible for vivid animal life inhibited here. The under-wood is light and often absent, consisting of rohini Mallotus philippensis, amaltas Cassia fistula, shisham Dalbergia sissoo, Sal Shorea robusta, palash Butea monosperma, arjun Terminalia arjuna, khair Senegalia catechu, baans Dendrocalamus strictus, semul Bombax ceiba, sandan, chamaror Ehretia, amla Phyllanthus emblica, kachnar Bauhienia variegata, ber Ziziphus mauritiana, chilla Casearia, bel Aegle marmelos, etc.
Rajaji National Park is predominantly formed from dense green jungles, and this environment forms a habitat for a number of animals. The park is at the northwestern limit of distribution for both elephants and tigers in India. The park is most renowned for its elephants. The mountain goat, goral is another noteworthy resident. It is mainly confined to the precipitous pine-covered slopes. Besides the huge pachyderms and the nimble goats, you might come across huge herds of chital, sometimes as many as 250 to a herd. sambar, barking deer, hog deer, nilgai, wild pigs and sloth bears also inhabit these forests though you may not always catch a glimpse of these. The rhesus macaque and the common langur are fairly common here. Tigers and leopards are the prime predators in Rajaji. The leopard cat, jungle cat, civet and yellow-throated marten are other carnivores. Mammals like the hyena, jackal and the Bengal fox scavenge in the park. The Himalayan black bear though uncommon, can be sighted in the higher reaches of the park. Other wild animals found in the park include:
- Asian elephant
- Bengal tiger
- Jungle cat
- Striped hyena
- Indian hare
- Sloth bear
- Himalayan black bear
- King cobra
- Barking deer
- Wild boar
- Rhesus macaque
- Indian langur
- Indian porcupine
- Monitor lizard
Over 315 species of birds are found in the park, whereas the wider region has over 500 species of birds, including both residents and migrants. The most prominent avian species include pea fowl, vultures, woodpeckers, pheasants, kingfishers and barbets, supplemented by a number of migratory species during the winter months. The park is also home to the great pied hornbill, pied kingfisher and the fire tailed sunbird. This area is the first staging ground after the migratory birds cross over the Himalayas into the Indian subcontinent.
In 2015 field employees of the Forest Department working with the Rajaji Tiger Reserve had decided to boycott the wildlife census to begin shortly in the park to protest the delay in payment of salary for November.
- Rajaji Archived 19 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine. Official website of Haridwar.
- Article, NDTV.com, 10 April 2010
- "Rajaji reserve staff to boycott census". Tribune India. Dec 2015.