SPR 2020: Biosphere Reserves, Important National Parks & Wildlife Sanctuaries in News

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Biosphere Reserves under UNESCO's Man and Biosphere Reserve Programme 
Biosphere Reserves State Important Facts
Nilgiri Parts of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka
  • River:
    • Bhavani, Moyar, Kabini (tribuatries of Cauvery), Chaliyar, Punampuzha, etc.
  • Flora:
    • Forest Type: Moist Evergreen, Semi-Evergreen, Thorn, Savannah Woodland, Sholas, and Grassland
    • Endemic Flora: Vanda, Liparis, Bulbophyllum, Spiranthes, Thrixspermum
  • Fauna:
    • Endemic Fauna: Nilgiri tahr, Nilgiri langur, Lion – tailed macaque
  • Protected Areas:
    1. Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary (Also Tiger Reserve),
    2. Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary
    3. Bandipur National Park (Also Tiger Reserve),
    4. Nagarhole National Park (Also Tiger Reserve),
    5. Mukurthi National Park
    6. Silent Valley
  • Other Facts:
    • It is a World Natural Heritage Site
  • Tribals: 
    • Cholanaikans- primarily inhabit the southern Kerala State, especially Silent Valley National Park, and are one of the last remaining hunter-gatherer tribes of the region.
Nanda Devi Uttarakhand
  • River:
    • Rishi Ganga
  • Flora:
    • Forest Type: Mixed temperate and subalpine
    • Endemic Flora: Salep Orchid, Silverweed, Fairy candelabra, Fairy Primrose
  • Fauna:
    • Endemic Fauna: Himalayan tahr, Brown bear, Koklass pheasant
  • Protected Areas:
    1. Nanda Devi National park
    2. Valley of Flowers National Park
  • Other Facts:
    • The entire area is located within the Western Himalayas Endemic Bird Area (EBA).
    • Declared World Natural Heritage Site
  • Tribals: 
    • Bhotia tribe
Nokrek Meghalaya (part of Garo Hills)
  • River:
    • Ganol, Dareng and Simsang
  • Flora:
    • Forest Type:  Evergreen and semi-evergreen deciduous forests
    • Endemic Flora: Grand rasamala, White meranti, Lali, Chempaka, Wild lemon
  • Fauna:
    • Endemic Fauna: Stump tailed macaque, Pig-tailed macaque, Giant flying squirrel
  • Protected Areas:
    • Nokrek National Park
  • Tribals: 
    • Garo (Achikmande), Banias or Hajjons
Great Nicobar Andaman & Nicobar Islands
  • Flora:
    • Forest Type: Tropical and Sub-tropical Moist Broad-leafed Forest
    • Endemic Flora: Screw pine, Nipa palm, Ceylon ironwood
  • Fauna:
    • Endemic Fauna: Crab-eating macaque, Nicobar megapode, Giant robber crab, Nicobar serpent eagle
  • Tribals: 
    • Shompen and Nicobarese
Gulf of Mannar Tamil Nadu (Indian part of Gulf of Mannar)
  • River:
    • Rishi Ganga
  • Flora:
    • Forest Type: Tropical Dry Broad-leafed forest, seaweed communities, seagrass communities, coral reefs, salt marshes, and mangrove forests.
    • Endemic Flora: Morning glory, Jatropha, Halophila grass
  • Fauna:
    • Endemic Fauna: Sea Cow, Sea Anemone, Sea fans
  • Protected Areas:
    1. Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park
  • Other Facts:
    • First marine Biosphere Reserve in India
    • Falls within the Indo-Malayan realm
  • Tribals: 
    • Marakeyars, local people mainly engaged in fishing
Sunderbans West Bengal
  • River:
    • Meghna
  • Flora:
    • Forest Type: Tidal Swamp Forests, Saline Water Type Mixed Forests, Brackish Water Type Mixed Forests, Palm Swamp Type
    • Endemic Flora: Sundari, Passur, Nypa
  • Fauna:
    • Endemic Fauna: Bengal tiger, Bengal monitor lizard, Salvator lizard
    • Others: Gangetic dolphin, , estuarine crocodile, river terrapin, olive ridley turtle,
  • Protected Areas:
    1. Sundarban National Park /Sundarban Tiger Reserve
    2. Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary
    3. Lothian Wildlife Sanctuary
    4. Haliday Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Other Facts:
    • It is a World Natural Heritage Site 
Simplipal Odhisa
  • River:
    • Budhabalanga, Palpala Bhandan, Kharkai River, and Deo
  • Flora:
    • Forest Type: Northern Tropical Semi-Evergreen Forests, Northern Tropical Moist Deciduous Forests, Dry Deciduous Hill Forests, High-Level Sal Forest, Grassland and Savannah
    • Endemic Flora: Coix grass
  • Fauna:
    • Endemic Fauna: Red-breasted falconet, Slender-billed scimitar babbler, Ruddy mongoose
  • Protected Areas:
    1. Similipal Tiger Reserve,
    2. Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary 
    3. Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Other Facts:
    • The biosphere reserve has the largest zone of Sal in all of India.
  • Tribals: 
    • ErengaKharias and the Mankirdias, Ho, Gonda and Munda, etc.
Khangchendzonga Sikkim
  • River:
    • Teesta
  • Flora:
    • Forest Type:  Sub-tropical broad leaved hill forest, Himalayan wet temperate forest, and temperate broad-leaved forest, mixed coniferous forest, sub-alpine forests and dry alpine forest
    • Endemic Flora: Anemone, Uvaria, Sikkim Rhododendron, Sikkim Mahonia
  • Fauna:
    • Endemic Fauna: Tibetan sheep, Musk deer, Monal pheasant, Snow Patridge
  • Protected Areas:
    1. Kanchenjunga National Park
  • Other Facts:
    • India’s first Mixed Heritage Site
Panchmarhi Madhya Pradesh
  • River:
    • Denwa
  • Flora:
    • Forest Type:  Moist deciduous, dry deciduous, central Indian subtropical hill forest.
    • Endemic Flora: Sal tree, Selaginella fern, Palimorpha bamboo
  • Fauna:
    • Endemic Fauna: Barasinga, Wild buffalo, Red jungle fowl
  • Protected Areas:
    1. Bori Sanctuary,
    2. Pachmarhi Sanctuary
    3. Satpura National Park(These altogether has also been notified as Satpura Tiger Reserve)
  • Other Facts:
    • Pachmarhi BR area is often recognized as the “Genetic Express Highway” linking two biological hot spots of the country viz. Eastern Himalayas and the Western Ghats, also as the confluence of northern and southern types of vegetation.
  • Tribals: 
    • Gond, Korkustribes introduced the cultivation of potatoes and made use of honeycombs to produce honey in significant quantities for commercial use. Most primitive Bhariya Tribe are found here.
Agasthyamalai Kerala, Tamil Nadu
  • River:
    • Tambraparani
  • Flora:
    • Forest Type:  Thorn, moist deciduous and semi-evergreen
    • Endemic Flora: Rudraksha tree, Black plums, Gaub tree, Wild dhaman
  • Fauna:
    • Endemic Fauna:  Lion-tailed macaque, Slender loris, Great pied hornbill
  • Protected Areas:
    1. Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary
    2. Peppara Wildlife sanctuary
    3. Shendumey wildlife Sanctuary
    4. Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve.
  • Other Facts:
    • World Natural Heritage Site
    • Part of “Hottest biodiversity hotspots”
  • Tribals: 
    • Kani tribes from both Tamil Nadu and Kerala
Achanakamar-Amarkantak Chhattisgarh
  • River:
    • Narmada, Johilla and Sone, Ama Nallah
  • Flora:
    • Forest Type:  Tropical deciduous vegetation. Further classified into Northern Tropical Moist Deciduous and Southern Dry Mixed Deciduous forests
    • Endemic Flora: Several thallophytes, bryophyte, pteridophyte, gymnosperm, and angiosperm species found.
  • Fauna:
    • Endemic Fauna: Tigers, panthers, Chitals, blackbuck, giant squirrels, etc

Other Biosphere Reserves

Dibru-Saikhowa Assam
  • River:
    • Dibru, Bramhaputra
  • Flora:
    • Forest Type: Semi wet evergreen forests, tropical moist deciduous forest, bamboo, swamp forests, canebrakes, and grasslands.
    • Endemic Flora: Rauvolfia (Sarpagandhi), Benteak, Livistona (orchid)
  • Fauna:
    • Endemic Fauna: White-winged wood duck, Hollock-gibbon, Wild buffalo
  • Protected Areas:
    1. Dibru-Saikhowa National Park (was declared wildlife sanctuary in 1986)
  • Other Facts:
    • Not a part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR)
Dehang-Dibang Arunachal Pradesh
  • River:
    • Dehang, Debang, and their tributaries
  • Flora:
    • Forest Type: Sub-tropical broad-leaved, sub-tropical pine, temperate broad-leaved, temperate conifer, sub-alpine woody shrub, alpine meadow (monton), bamboo brakes, and grassland.
    • Endemic Flora: Tree fern, Begonia, Lady’s slipper orchid
  • Fauna:
    • Endemic Fauna: Red panda, Himalayan black bear, Green pit viper, Takin
  • Protected Areas:
    1. Mouling National Park
    2. Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Other Facts:
    • Not a part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR)
Kachchh Gujarat
  • River:
    • Luni, Rupen, West Banas drains into the area
  • Flora:
    • Forest Type:  Great Rann of Kachchh (GRK) and Little Rann of Kachchh (LRK) has mixed scrub, thorn, savannah in GRK.
    • Endemic Flora: Mangroves  in the eastern border of Banni grassland, inside the GRK a place locally known as Shrawan Kavadia
  • Fauna:
    • Endemic Fauna:  Indian wild ass, Greater and Lesser Flamingos
  • Protected Areas:
    1. Kachchh Desert Sanctuary
    2. Wild Ass Sanctuary (for the conservation of wild ass)
  • Other Facts:
    • Not a part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR)
Cold Desert Himachal Pradesh
  • River:
    • Pin, Chandrabhaga, Spiti
  • Flora:
    • Forest Type:  Cold, harsh climate with low mean annual rainfall-creating desert-like conditions
    • Endemic Flora: Herbs, shrub species
  • Fauna:
    • Endemic Fauna:  Tibetan guzzle, red fox, weasel, marmot, griffon, lammergeyer, golden eagle, snow cock, snow leopard, brown and black bear,ibex, etc
  • Protected Areas:
    1. Pin Valley National Park
    2. Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary
    3. Chandratal Wildlife Sanctuary
    4. Sarchu Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Other Facts:
    • Not a part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR)
Manas Assam
  • River:
    • Manas-Beki
  • Flora:
    • Forest Type: The monsoon forests of Manas lie in the Brahmaputra Valley semi-evergreen forests ecoregion.
    • Endemic Flora: Catechu tree, Sissoo, White siris
  • Fauna:
    • Endemic Fauna: Pygmy hog, Golden lungur , Assam roofed turtle
  • Protected Areas:
    1. Manas Wildlife Sanctuary
    2. Manas National Park
    3. Manas Tiger Reserve
  • Other Facts:
    • It is a World Natural Heritage Site 
Seshachalam Hills Andhra Pradesh
  • Flora:
    • Forest Type:  Both dry and Moist deciduous Type
    • Endemic Flora: Red Sanders and Slender Loris
  • Fauna:
    • Endemic Fauna:  Jungle cat, Great Mouse Deer, golden Gekos
  • Protected Areas:
    1. Sri Venkateswara National Park
    2. Sri Venkateshwara wildlife Sanctuary
  • Other Facts:
    • Not a part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR)
    • Tirupati Balaji temple is located here.
Panna Madhya Pradesh
  • River:
    • Ken
  • Flora:
    • Forest Type:  Southern Tropical Dry Deciduous Dry Teak Forest, Northern Tropical Dry Deciduous Mixed Forest, Dry Deciduous Scrub Forest, Boswellia Forest, Dry Bamboo Brakes, Anogeissus pendula Forest.
    • Endemic Flora: Panna represents the northern boundary of the natural distribution of teak and the eastern limits of teak-kardhai mixed forests.
  • Fauna:
    • Endemic Fauna:  Tiger, chinkara, , tree shrew, long-snouted crocodile, mugger Links the eastern and western wildlife populations of the Vindhyan ranges.
  • Protected Areas:
    1. Panna National Park/Panna Tiger Reserve
    2. Gangau Wildlife Sanctuary
    3. Ken-Gharial Wildlife sanctuary (dedicated to breeding programs and proper housing of Gharials)
  • Other Facts:
    • Not a part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR)



BR/NP/WS State Important Facts

International Biosphere Reserves

  • Lake Urmia is a hypersaline lake in northwest Iran.
  • Due to its unique aquatic ecosystem, it has been designated as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO and a National Park under the 1971 Ramsar Convention.
  • Located in northwestern Iran, climate change has reduced its size by about 80% over the past 30 years.

National Parks

Mukurthi National Park Tamil Nadu
  • Tamil Nadu government is constructing fire lines’ or ‘fire breaks’ ahead of summer and peak fire season.
  • Part of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve
  • Nilgiri Tahr is a Keystone species of the park
Madhav National Park Madhya Pradesh
  • Encroachment issues
  • Home to Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG)s like Saharia
Kanha National park Madhya Pradesh
  • Increase in population of Hard ground swamp deer (Barasingha)
  • Also, a Tiger Reserve
Kuno National Park
Madhya Pradesh
  • Possible site for the Cheetah reintroduction project
  • Previously a wildlife sanctuary, it was designated as National Park in 2018
Manas National Park Assam
  • India, Nepal, and Bhutan drafted a memorandum of understanding to create a trans-boundary wildlife conservation ‘peace park’ which will an extension of the Manas National Park
  • Also, a UNESCO Natural World Heritage site, Project tiger reserve, and a biosphere reserve.
Bandipur National Park/Tiger Reserve Karnataka
  • Ban on vehicular movement on the forest stretch of NH 766
  • Forest fires in 2019
  • Part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve
Bannerghatta National Park
  • Area of Eco-sensitive zone curtailed
  • part of the national park was designated as Bannerghatta Biological Park- also has a butterfly park, first in India
Sanjay Gandhi National Park Maharashtra
  • Death of last captive white tiger Bajirao
  • One of the major national parks existing within a metropolis limit
Desert National Park Rajasthan
  • NGT asked the Centre to prepare a time-bound action plan within two months for the protection of the Great Indian Bustards.
  • Home to Great Indian Bustard (Critically Endangered)
Ranthambhore National Park
  • Risk of transfer of canine distemper from the dogs to tigers and leopards
  • Also, a Tiger Reserve
Bhitarkanika National Park Odisha
  • Increase saltwater or estuarine crocodile population
  • Inundated by the rivers Brahmani, Baitarani, Dhamra, Pathsala.
  • Second-largest mangrove ecosystem in India, the first being Sundarbans (West Bengal)
  • It is a Ramsar site.
Gir National Park/Wildlife Sanctuary Gujarat
  • Asiatic Lion Conservation Project launched in 2019
  • The only surviving free-ranging population of the Asiatic lion exists in the Gir forest region

Wildlife Sanctuaries

  • Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary
  • Mollem National Park
  • Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Wildlife activists have demanded that certain areas in wildlife sanctuaries of the state be notified as ‘tiger reserve’.
Pakke Tiger Reserve Arunachal Pradesh
  • Arunachal Pradesh Government cleared 692.7 km highway through the reserve to build the East-West Industrial Corridor.
  • Bounded by Kameng River in the west and north, and by Pakke River in the east.
  • Famous for Hornbill Nest Adoption Programme
Malai Mahadeshwara Wildlife Sanctuary Karnataka
  • To be declared as Tiger Reserve. NTCA approval awaited
  • Part of a contiguous tiger habitat located very close to the tri-junction of the states of Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu
Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary Maharashtra
  • Indian gaur (Vulnerable) spotted in the sanctuary for the first time in recorded history
Thane Creek flamingo sanctuary
  • Concerns over ambitious bullet train project between Ahmedabad-Mumbai
  • Supports a large congregation of flamingos
Gahiramatha Marine Sanctuary Odisha
  • Odisha forest department put a ban on fishing in Gahiramatha Marine Sanctuary
  • Known as the world’s largest Olive Ridley rookery
 Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary  Bihar
  • Gangetic River Dolphin census conducted
  • Only dolphin sanctuary
Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve Tamil Nadu
  • It is the largest wildlife sanctuary in Tamil Nadu.
  • It is a part of the bigger tiger landscape and is also a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.
  • It is located at the strategic confluence of Western and Eastern Ghats. The reserve is a part of the watershed of the Rivers Moyar and Bhawani.
  • Pench Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh, and Periyar Tiger Reserve, Kerala have secured the highest MEE( MANAGEMENT EFFECTIVENESS EVALUATION OF TIGER RESERVES score)
  • Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu showed the highest increment in management since the last cycle
Bandhavgarh reserve forest Madhya Pradesh
  • For the first time, the Bandhavgarh reserve forest in Madhya Pradesh has a colony of elephants and is an unusual occurrence in Bandhavgarh.
  • Bandhavgarh National Park is spread at Vindhya hills in the Umariya district of Madhya Pradesh.
  • It was declared a national park in 1968 and then became Tiger Reserve in 1993
National Chambal Sanctuary
Madhya Pradesh
  • Recently declared as an eco-sensitive zone (ESZ)
  • Home to Gharial (critically endangered), Gangetic river dolphin (Endangered), and red-crowned roofed turtle (critically endangered)
Ratapani sanctuary
Madhya Pradesh
  • Madhya Pradesh government decided to declare the Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary a tiger reserve. Approval for the same was received by NTCA back in 2013.
  • Bhimbetka rock shelters are located within
Nauradehi Sanctuary Madhya Pradesh
  • It was declared a national park in 1968 and then became Tiger Reserve in 1993. Nauradehi Sanctuary
  • It is situated in Madhya Pradesh and spreads across two major river basins, namely the Narmada and Ganges.
  • It was in news for a successful tiger relocation program. It is also a potential site for the Cheetah Reintroduction in India from Africa.
Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve
Andhra Pradesh
  • Due to concerted efforts by the Tiger Conservation Foundation (TCF), the number of tigers in the Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR) in Andhra Pradesh has gone up.
  • It is spread over 3,800 sq.km. covering Guntur, Prakasam, and Kurnool districts in Andhra Pradesh and Nalgonda and Mahabubnagar in Telangana.
Atapaka bird sanctuary
Andhra Pradesh
  • The Atapaka bird sanctuary in Kolleru lake has become a safe breeding ground for two migratory bird species- grey pelicans and painted storks.
  • Kolleru, one of the largest freshwater lakes, was accorded a sanctuary status under the Wildlife Protection Act,1972. It is a Ramsar site and also identified as an “Important Bird Area” of India.
Amrabad Tiger Reserve Telangana
  • It is one of the largest tiger reserves in the country situated in Nallamala hill of Telangana.
  • Earlier, it was part of 'Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger reserve' but post-bifurcation, the northern part of the reserve is vested with Telangana and renamed as 'Amrabad Tiger Reserve'.
  • It is dominated by the Chenchus, a PVTG that has been coexisting with tigers and wild animals for a long without disturbing the ecological balance.
  • In 2017, the endangered species of mouse deer were reintroduced here.
Bhavani wildlife sanctuary
  • The State government is set to declare the 148-sq-km buffer zone of the Silent Valley National Park as Bhavani wildlife sanctuary. Encompassing parts of the Mannarkkad and Nilambur (South) forest divisions, the region will become the 25th protected area in the State.



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