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Protected areas in India (National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries and Biosphere Reserves)

news-details Image Source Apr 28, 2021 13:41 IST · 11 min read

Protected Areas in India

India has a network of 868 Protected Areas covering a total of 1,65,088 km2 of geographical area of the country which is approximately 5.02%.

India has systematically designated its Protected Areas in four legal categories - National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Conservation Reserves and Community Reserves under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

National Park

A national park is a reserved area of land owned by the government which is protected from industrialization, human exploitation, and pollution.

National Park are declared for the purpose of protecting, propagating or developing wildlife or its environment, like that of a Sanctuary. Unlike a Sanctuary, where certain rights can be allowed, in a National Park, no rights are allowed.

National Parks cannot be downgraded to the status of a "sanctuary".

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and its World Commission on Protected Areas, has defined it as a Category II type of protected areas.

India's first national park was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park, now known as Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand.

Wildlife Sanctuaries

A wildlife sanctuary is a natural area owned by the government or a private agency for the protection of particular species of flora or fauna during a part of the year or in its entirety.

Wildlife Sanctuaries are the areas of adequate ecological, faunal, floral, geomorphological, natural or zoological significance. The Sanctuary is declared for the purpose of protecting, propagating or developing wildlife or its environment.

Certain rights of people living inside the Sanctuary could be permitted.

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has defined it as a Category IV type of protected areas.

Conservation Reserves

Conservation Reserves can be declared by the State Governments in any area owned by the Government, particularly the buffer zones adjacent to National Parks and Sanctuaries and those areas which link one Protected Area with another.

Such declarations should be made after having consultations with the local communities.

These are declared for the purpose of protecting landscapes, seascapes, flora and fauna and their habitat. The rights of people living inside a Conservation Reserve are not affected.

Community Reserves

These can be declared by the State Government in any private or community land, not comprised within a National Park, Sanctuary or a Conservation Reserve, where an individual or a community has volunteered to conserve wildlife and its habitat.

As in the case of a Conservation Reserve, the rights of people living inside a Community Reserve are not affected.

Biosphere reserves

Biosphere Reserve (BR) is an international designation given by UNESCO to areas of terrestrial and coastal or marine ecosystems or its amalgamation.

The biosphere reserve network was launched in 1971 by UNESCO, two years after the initiation of MAB - Man and the biosphere program.

Biosphere Reserves are nominated by national government which meets a minimal set of criteria under the Man and Biosphere Reserve Program of UNESCO.

The Government of India established 18 biospheres in the country (categories generally relating to IUCN Category V Protected areas).

11 of the 18 biosphere reserves in the country are a part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) which is based on the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme list.

State wise list of Biosphere Reserves in India

Name of Biosphere Reserve Location (States)
Nilgiri Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka
Nanda Devi Uttarakhand
Nokrek Meghalaya
Great Nicobar Andaman And Nicobar.
Gulf of Mannar Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri Lanka (Tamil Nadu).
Manas Assam
Sunderbans Part of the delta of Ganges and Brahmaputra river system

(West Bengal).
Simlipal Orissa.
Dibru-Saikhowa Assam.
Dehang-Dibang Arunachal Pradesh.
Pachmarhi Madhya Pradesh
Khangchendzonga Sikkim.
Agasthyamalai Kerala.
Achanakamar - Amarkantak M.P. and Chhattishgarh State.
Kachchh Gujarat
Cold Desert Himachal Pradesh.
Seshachalam Hills Andhra Pradesh.
Panna Madhya Pradesh.


State wise list of National Parks in India

State/Union Territory Total Parks National Parks Name
Andaman & Nicobar Islands 9 Campbell Bay National Park
Galathea Bay National Park
Mahatama Gandhi Marine (Wandoor) National Park
Middle Button Island National Park
Mount Harriett National Park
North Button Island National Park
Rani Jhansi Marine National Park
Saddle Peak National Park
South Button Island National Park
Andhra Pradesh 3 Papikonda National Park
Rajiv Gandhi (Rameswaram) National Park
Sri Venkateswara National Park
Arunachal Pradesh 2 Mouling National Park
Namdapha National Park
Assam 5 Dibru-Saikhowa National Park
Kaziranga National Park
Manas National Park
Nameri National Park
Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park
Bihar 1 Valmiki National Park
Chhattisgarh 3 Guru Ghasidas (Sanjay) National Park
Indravati (Kutru) National Park
Kanger Valley National Park
Goa 1 Mollem National Park
Gujarat 4 Vansda National Park
Blackbuck (Velavadar) National Park
Gir National Park
Marine (Gulf of Kachchh) National Park
Haryana 2 Kalesar National Park
SultaNational Parkur National Park
Himachal Pradesh 5 Great Himalayan National Park
Inderkilla National Park
Khirganga National Park
Pin Valley National Park
Simbalbara National Park
Jammu and Kashmir 4 City Forest (Salim Ali) National Park
Dachigam National Park
Kishtwar National Park
Jharkhand 1 Betla National Park
Karnataka 5 Anshi National Park
Bandipur National Park
Bannerghatta National Park
Kudremukh National Park
Nagarahole (Rajiv Gandhi) National Park
Kerala 6 Anamudi Shola National Park
Eravikulam National Park
Mathikettan Shola National Park
Pambadum Shola National Park
Periyar National Park
Silent Valley National Park
Madhya Pradesh 9 Bandhavgarh National Park
Fossil National Park
Indira Priyadarshini Pench National Park
Kanha National Park
Madhav National Park
Panna National Park
Sanjay National Park
Satpura National Park
Van Vihar National Park
Maharashtra 6 Chandoli National Park
Gugamal National Park
Nawegaon National Park
Pench (Jawaharlal Nehru) National Park
Sanjay Gandhi (Borivali) National Park
Tadoba National Park
Manipur 1 Keibul-Lamjao National Park
Meghalaya 2 Balphakram National Park
Nokrek Ridge National Park
Mizoram 2 Murlen National Park
Phawngpui Blue Mountain National Park
Nagaland 1 Intanki National Park
Odisha 2 Bhitarkanika National Park
Simlipal National Park
Rajasthan 5 Mukundra Hills National Park
Desert National Park
Keoladeo Ghana National Park
Ranthambhore National Park
Sariska National Park
Sikkim 1 Khangchendzonga National Park
Tamil Nadu 5 Guindy National Park
Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park
Indira Gandhi (Annamalai) National Park
Mudumalai National Park
Mukurthi National Park
Ladakh 1 Hemis National Park
Telangana 3 Kasu Brahmananda Reddy National Park
Mahaveer Harina Vanasthali National Park
Mrugavani National Park
Tripura 2 Clouded Leopard National Park
Bison (Rajbari) National Park
Uttar Pradesh 1 Dudhwa National Park
Uttarakhand 6 Corbett National Park
Gangotri National Park
Govind National Park
Nanda Devi National Park
Rajaji National Park
Valley of Flowers National Park
West Bengal 6 Buxa National Park
Gorumara National Park
Jaldapara National Park
Neora Valley National Park
Singalila National Park
Sunderban National Park