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JALDAPARA NATIONAL PARK

Jaldapara National Park is a national park situated at the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas in Alipurduar District of northern West Bengal and on the banks of the Torsa River. Jaldapara is situated at an altitude of 61 m and is spread across 216.51 km2 (83.59 sq mi) of vast grassland with patches of riverine forests. It was declared a sanctuary in 1941 for protection of its great variety flora and fauna. Today, it has the largest population of the Indian one horned rhinoceros in the state, an animal threatened with extinction, and is a Habitat management area (Category IV). The nearby Chilapata Forests is an elephant corridor between Jaldapara and the Buxa Tiger Reserve Near by is the Gorumara National Park, known for its population of Indian rhinoceros.

Toto tribes and Mech Tribes (Bodos) used to stay in this area before 1800. At that time this place was known as "Totopara". Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1941 for the purpose of protecting the Indian one-horned rhinoceros. In May 2012 it was declared a national park.

The forest is mainly savannah covered with tall elephant grasses. The main attraction of the park is the Indian one-horned rhinoceros. The park holds the largest rhino population in India after Kaziranga National Park in Assam. Other animals in the park include Indian leopard, Indian elephants, sambar, barking deer, spotted deer, hog deer, wild boars, and gaur.

Jaldapara is a paradise for bird watchers. It is one of the very few places in India, where the Bengal florican is sighted. The other birds to be found here are the crested eagle, Pallas\’s fish eagle, shikra, Finn\’s weaver, jungle fowl, peafowl (peacock), partridge, and lesser pied hornbill. Pythons, monitor lizards, kraits, cobras, geckos, and about eight species of fresh water turtles can also be found here. Many of the animals in the park are endangered, like the Indian one-horned rhino and elephants.

 

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