A special category of animal sanctuaries in India is the tiger reserve, a consequence of the 1970 Project Tiger. One of these is the Sundarbans, a unique swamp forest that is the last remaining bastion of the Royal Bengal Tiger. This sanctuary and others like it, developed to save the once fast-vanishing tiger, have succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of the Project’s founders; now the increasing tiger population in these reserves does not have the space it needs and this is causing fresh problems
Is a relatively large area of one or more eco-systems that have not materially altered by human exploitation and occupation. Here plants, animals geomorphological sites and habitats for special scientific education and recreation are preserved. Its boundaries are fixed by legislation.
It is similar to a national park but is dedicated to protect wildlife and conserve species. Its boundaries are not sacrosanct.
Both national Parks and wild life sanctuaries together constitute 15.60 million hectares and form 4.75% of the geographical area of the country and referred as Protected Area (PA).
Network of 668 protected areas has been established extending over 1,61,22,157 Sq.Km (4.90% of total geographic area) comprising more than 102 national parks, 47 conservation reserve 515 wild life sanctuaries including marine parks, high altitude parks and parks in protected areas in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Of these parks, 26 may be considered major wildlife parks or wildlife systems in urban areas (e.g. Guindy in Madras and Bannirgatta in Bangalore). In all 39 tiger reserves and 20 elephant reserves have been designated for species specific management of tiger and elephant habitats. Among the reserves, several are of special significance. The Asiatic lion, one of the rarest and most important wild animals in India, where alone it
survives, is found in only two parts of the country: the famed Gir National Park in Gujarat and the lesser known Chandraprabha Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh, where Gir lions have recently been introduced. The one-horned rhinoceros, another once vanishing species, is now protected in Assam’s Kaziranga National Park and Manas Wildlife Sanctuary.
But the species is much sought after by poachers who covet its horn, much in demand in East Asia for aphrodisiac preparations. The D3chigam National Park in Kashmir protects the hangul (the Kashmir stag).
The Country’s tiger projects are in Manas (Assam), Palamau (Bihar), Simlipal (Orissa), Corbett National Park (Uttar Pradesh), Dhakna Kolkaz (Melghat, Maharashtra), Kanha (Madhya Pradesh), Periyar (Kerala), Ranthambhor (Rajasthan), Sariska (Rajasthan), Bandipur (Karnataka), Sundarbans (West Bengal), Baxa (West Bengal), Indrawati (Madhya Pradesh), Nagarjuna Sagar (Andhra Pradesh), Nam Dapha (Arunachal Pradesh) and Dudwa (Uttar Pradesh).
The wildlife reserves are fairly widely dispersed, providing for the needs of animal lovers in all parts of the country and providing protection to a very varied animal population. It is also clear that some states, Kerala for example, are better endowed with wildlife than others, but, generally speaking, the north is richer in animals than the south.
The proportion of area under forest in India is largest in the north-eastern states (Manipur, Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland), where more than half the total geographical area is forested. But the states here are so small that their protected forest areas compare poorly with areas allocated for national parks and sanctuaries elsewhere. The largest areas reserved for sanctuaries are in Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka.