Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary

Mahananda Wildlife Sancturyis 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.

Geography and Animal Species:
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. Among the others swallow, swift, thrush, babbler, warbler, roller, minivet and sunbird can be found in abundance.

Park Activities:
The sanctuary is an ideal place for wildlife lovers. Several glades, hides and watchtowers have been created near natural saltlicks and streams to invite wild animals. The railway cabin in the abandoned Gulma station inside the core area of the sanctuary has been converted into a watchtower. The tower is located besides the Gulma River and is an ideal place for wildlife viewing. There are a number of rest houses in the sanctuary, including two in Sukna and arguably the best one in Latpanchar.

Latpanchar:
At 4000 ft above sea level, Latpanchar is the highest place in Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary. It is 44 km from Siliguri and can be reached by a 13-km drive from Kalijhora on the Siliguri-Gangtok national highway. 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.

 

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