The state of Gujarat is located in western India is renowned for its topographical and cultural diversities. Being the cradle of the Indus Valley Civilization, Gujarat has always remained a prominent cultural and trade centre throughout the history of India. There are many attractions that dot this state and travellers come here from far and wide to explore the beauty of this region.
One such attraction here are the many wildlife sanctuaries that Gujarat has. It is believed that these sanctuaries hold over 40 species of animals, of which some are rare and endangered. It is a hub for wildlife addicts and photographers who come here to be up close with these magnificent beasts and learn more about them. Here is a guide to five thrilling wildlife sanctuaries in the state of Gujarat.
1. Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary
The Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary, also known as the Wild Ass Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Little Rann of Kutch in Gujarat and is the largest wildlife sanctuary in India. It was established in 1972, and is under the Wildlife Protection Act that ensures the protection of the endangered Indian Wild Ass. This arid land is home to these endangered animals and travellers coming here can get a glimpse into their lifestyle.
Taking a walk.
Photo Courtesy: Sballal
2. Gir National Park
The Gir Forest National Park, is also known as Sasan-Gir and is a forest as well as a wildlife sanctuary in Gujarat. It is the sole home of the Asiatic Lions that is among the most endangered species. The forest area of Gir and its lions were declared as 'protected' in the early 1900s by the Nawab of Junagadh in order to ensure the conservation of the lions whose population had plummeted to only 15 at the time due to hunting. The sanctuary is home to many more animals namely Leopards, Hyenas, Chital, Nilgai, Wild Boar, etc. Tourists coming here can go on a safari into the forest to see these amazing creatures and know more about them. It is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers who can closely watch these animals and appreciate their beauty.
Resting under the shade.
Photo Courtesy: Asim Patel
3. Narayana Sarovar Sanctuary
Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary also popularly known as Narayan Sarovar Wildlife Sanctuary or Narayan Sarovar Chinkara Sanctuary is a unique eco-system in the Lakhpat taluka of Kutch district. The desert forest in this sanctuary is said to be the only one of its kind in India. Located in the arid zone, a part of it is a seasonal wetland. It has 15 threatened wildlife species and has desert vegetation comprising of thorn and scrub forests. Its biodiversity has some rare animals, birds, and rare flowering plants. The Wildlife Institute of India has identified this sanctuary as one of the last remaining natural habitats of the Cheetah in India. The most sighted animal here is the Chinkara that is also the flagship species of the sanctuary. Tourists visiting this place can set out on a jeep safari and get up close with these beasts.
A lonesome Chinkara at the Sanctuary.
Photo Courtesy: Aditya Laghate
4. Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary
The Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the Great Rann of Kutch and was declared a sanctuary in February 1986. It is one of the largest seasonal saline wetlands in the region and by October-November each year, rain water dries up and the entire area turns into saline desert. The sanctuary supports wide variety of water birds and wildlife. It encompasses a true saline desert where thousands of Greater Flamingo nest in the world famous ‘Flamingo City' located in the mud flats of the Rann, about 10 km from Nir outpost on Kala Dungar hill. It is the only area where flamingos congregate to breed regularly. Visitors who travel here can see these amazing birds. It is a haven for bird lovers, who come here from far and wide to learn more about these birds.
Flamingos searching for food.
Photo Courtesy: Sankara Subramanian
5. Barda Wildlife Sanctuary
The Barda Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Gujarat and has several forest sub-types, such as southern tropical forest, southern dry mixed deciduous forest, and northern tropical thorn forest. The most notable wildlife here includes Nilgai, Chinkara and wolf. Barda was also known to have had a permanent population of lions but they are believed to have deserted the area towards the end of the 19th century. Wildlife enthusiasts coming here can head out on a safari and see these amazing beasts.
A mother playing with her children.
Photo Courtesy: Golo