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Uttar Pradesh: Dudhwa National Park and Tiger Reserve
Dudhwa National Park and Tiger Reserve:
In 1958, 62 sq kilometers of forests lands were declaired Sonaripur wildlife sanctuary. In 1965 the area was further increased to 212 sq kms. It was then christened as Dudhwa. In 1977, it was declaired a national park, and the area was further increased to 614 sq. km. The core area is 490 sq km, and the buffer area is 128 sq km. In 1988, it was merged with Kishanpur sactuary, and Dudhwa became a tiger reserve, and is one of the 28 parks of Tiger project. In 1997, according to tiger census, Dudhwa had 129 tigers, a figure that was possibly grossly inflated. Today, it faces the safe fate as of Sariksha, with possibly no tigers.
There are hardly any reports of poaching, but the park is susceptible to heavy poaching. This is because:
The forest officers are distributed far and wide, with too few on the job.
Some people are permitted to use the roads and railway lines that go through the park. If they choose to poach, there is little the forest guards can do.
Three sides of the forests are agricultural lands, and the Govt. have be generous is granting arms license in the name of protection of crops. Whenever animals stray into these farmlands, the farmers can easily kill them and consume them, and it would not come to the notice of the guards, as they are inside the park.
The entire northen boundary of the park is the international boundary of Nepal, which does not help the cause.
A clear cut indicator is the decline in population of the swamp deer. Hog deer, spotted deer and wild boars population have also heavily reduced. There are no tiger sightings as well.
Dudhwa happened due to the herculean efforts of Billy Arjun Singh. But the Govt. did not do enough to make the park viable. It is classic case of Man's interest versus nature. The swamp lands, which were the life blood of the park, has been converted into farmlands. This has also resulted in increased floods.
Building of a dam has further deteriorated the living areas of the forests, due to inundation.
To quote Mr. S.Deb Roy : "The area of Dudhwa National Park is ecologically not viable. This National Park has become an island, on which very severe pressure are being extrated by the ever increasing human population in this area, which has resulted into a sad decline of the indicator species like swamp deer as also the tiger. The natural productivity and hence the carrying capacity is probably on the decline, caused by the abuse. No management authority may be able to save the situation, particularly on the face of the terrorist infestation, that has recently taken over, unless there is a strong political will to back it up."
Billy Arjun Singh, Former Member Steering Committee of Project Tiger states, "The forest department has publicly stated that there are 104 tigers in the Park, when there are probably not more than 20. In addition the Park authorities have allowed the construction of a barrage on the boundary river, which has drowned out a large segment of these deer population, and water logged and degraded their habitat. There is just not enough prey to sustain 104 tigers."
"In addition the activity of poachers, and the presence of terrorists will soon put an end to the Park, which has an entry in my Visitors Book in 1980 by Brijendra Singh. "Sighted nine tiger, and a elephant herd and a mighty tusker in one week"."
It is quite possible that Dudhwa National Park does not have any more tigers now.
Man eating, tiger killing, poaching, encroachment, railway tracks and roads, are serious problems that Dudhwa faces in its survival, and unless there is a strong political will, the park is heading to its end.
About Dudhwa National Park:
It is in the foothills of Himalayas, in the Tarai region. The forests are plush with Sal, Teak, Bahera, Sesham, Khair and Eucalyptus making for the dense forests. The height is distributed between 150 meters to 183 meters. There are many mountain streams cutting through the forests. Lakes and ponds abound. The Mohana river in the north and the Suheli river in the south have created natural boundaries. The Kali river of Nepal also flows into it. It is called Sarada river here.
Rhinos have been introduced in this Jungle. The other inhabitants are swamp deer or gonda, leopards, barasinga deer, sambar deer, chital deer, hog deer, barking deer, sloth bear, nilgai, wild boar, black bucks, elephants, otters, crocodiles, different types of snakes and birds. Migratory birds also visit the park in winters. The different lakes provides them good refuge.
There is no safari arranged by the park authorities. However, you can rent minibuses and jeeps in share to tour the park. Elephants can also be hired for four hours. December to March are the best times to visit, though the park is open from 15th November to 15th June.
You can also visit the Krishnapur Sanctuary, about 30 kilometers from Dudhwa.
How to reach:
Mailani falls on the North East Railways. Trains connect it from Lucknow, Berili, Agra etc. Refer to our transport links for more information. Dudhwa is 42 kilometers from Mailani and is also connected by meter gauge railway line from there. You can also reach Dudhwa from Shahjahanpur via Palia.
There are dearth of cars at Dudhwa. Cars are available from Palia.
It is also connected by buses from Lucknow (238 kms), Bereily (260kms), Delhi (420 Kms) to Palia, which is 5 kms from Dudhwa. Nearest Airport in Lucknow.
You can also hire a car from any of the above-mentioned places and reach Dudhwa directly.
Refer to our transport booking links below for options.
Where to Stay:
There are options to stay at Sathiana and Dudhwa. But choose to stay at Dudhwa only. Refer to our hotel booking links below to make your selection and to book online.