Wildlife Sanctuaries in India Beyond the Usual Suspects

Wildlife Tourism in India tends to be predictable. You go to sanctuaries in India searching for the big cat, the tiger, at Pench, Bandhavgarh, Kanha or Jim Corbett or theRhinos of Kaziranga, Assam. There are few other animals that make to the list like the elephants in the forests of the states of Kerala, Tamilnadu and Karnataka. There are many more Wildlife Sanctuaries in India that offer a different experience, though you must be willing to forget about the tiger for a while. At times, the experience at these places is more peaceful as the crowd is yet to arrive.


These are some experiences collated from our contributors.


The Blackbuck National Park at Velavadar
The Blackbuck National park at Velavadar is a lesser known getaway from Mumbai. It is the only tropical grassland in India to be given the status of a national park. If you have ever wondered how the African savannah looks then this place will give you taste of it; the grassland lets you spot animals from quite a distance.
This park is small and covers a total area of ~35 sq. kms. It has more than 3500 black bucks. It is interesting to see the various activities of the blackbuck: grazing, graciously leaping, mating, locking horns with fellow males or simply staring back at you.
The adjoining Gulf of Khambhat supports a variety of aquatic flora and fauna, whereas the grassland attracts the blackbucks and also serve as world’s largest communal roosting site for the harrier bird.
Read more here.


The Leopards of Bera, Rajasthan
Bera is a small village in Rajasthan, best known for it’s growing population of leopards. Interestingly these leopards are found in natural caves. The granite rock formations creates a perfect haven for the leopards, and the abundant livestock in the nearby villages satiates their appetite. There are some good camps for accommodation in the area.
Jawai Dam is close to Bera and attracts many migratory birds in the winter months. The natural setting of mountains and wide expanse of water is extremely serene and beautiful, punctuated only by the sounds of birds. You might also catch some crocodile action and of course, the pesky langurs.
Read more here.


The Turtles of Velas
Olive Ridley turtles are endangered species and have a low surviving ratio. Velas, in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra, has a program to help conserve the turtles. The season runs from March to April when the female turtles come to lay their eggs in nests dug into the sand. Over the past few years, this region has become popular and photographers, volunteers and travellers descend to this area. The eggs hatch after around 55 days and during this period they need to be kept safe from predators-animals and man.
Read more here.


The Tigers Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR)
If you cannot imagine a wildlife-holiday without that majestic creature making an entrance, then maybe you could choose Tadoba instead of the popular parks in M.P. Tadoba is arguably the best breeding ground for tigers as the survival rate of cubs is very high. There are more than 100 tigers in the core reserve, buffer area and surrounding regions. Tigers are the star attraction and with a good ranger, you are sure of at least one sighting in two safari trips.
The Forest is teeming with wildlife that includes sambar, deer, bison, wild dogs, jackals, panthers, chital, barking deer, sloth bears, leopards, blue bulls, langurs and several bird species.
Read more here.


This list is not exhaustive by any means, but it does have a few options beyond the usual suspects. Chart your own course and get with nature in 2015!

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