}Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary
is located on the foothills of Himalayas
, between the Teesta
rivers. Animal species found here are elephant
, Indian bison
, barking deer
, Rhesus monkey
, fishing cat
, jungle cat
, sambar (Cervus unicolor), and cheetal. The rare mountain goat (Serow) can be sighted here.
Location and History
Mahananda Wild Life Sanctuary
is situated in the Darjeeling
district of West Bengal
. It comes under Darjeeling Wild Life division and can be reached from Siliguri
in 30 minutes. Sukna, the gateway to the sanctuary, is only 13 km from Siliguri and 28 km from Bagdogra
Airport. The sanctuary sprawls over 159 km² of reserve forest and was started as a game sanctuary in 1955
. In 1959
it got the status of a sanctuary mainly to protect the Indian Bison
and Royal Bengal Tiger
, which were facing the threat of extinction.
Geography and Animal Species
The forest type in Mahananda WLS varies from riverain forests like Khayer-Sisoo
to dense mixed-wet forest
in the higher elevation in 'Latpanchar' area of Kurseong
hills. The variation in altitude and forest types helps the existence of a large number of species of mammals, birds and reptiles. The important mammalian species include Royal Bengal Tiger, Indian elephants
, Indian bison, spotted deer
, barking deer
, many species of lesser cat, Himalayan black bear
including clouded leopard
and many other smaller animals like rare mountain goat (Serow), porcupines, snakes, etc. The Sanctuary also holds hundreds of feathered species. The exciting list includes some very endangered species like fairy blue bird
, Himalayan pied hornbill
,etc. Among the others; swallow, swift, thrush, babbler, warbler, roller, minivet, sunbird can be found in abundance.
The sanctuary is an ideal place for wildlife lovers. Several glades, hides and watchtowers have been created near natural saltlicks and streams to invite wild animals. The railway cabin in the abandoned Gulma Station inside the core area of the sanctuary has been converted into a watchtower. The tower is located besides the Gulma River
and is an ideal place for wildlife viewing. There are a number of rest houses in the sanctuary including two in Sukna and arguably the best one in Latpanchar.
Latpanchar: At 4000ft above sea level, Latpanchar is the highest place in Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary. It is 44 km way from Siliguri and can be reached by a 13 km drive from Kalijhora on the Siliguri-Gangtok national highway.