Our Beautiful World

A mosaic of dry grasslands, woodlands, woodland swamps, and wetlands

Keoladeo Ghana National Park formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

The Keoladeo National Park or Keoladeo Ghana National Park formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India
is a famous avifauna sanctuary that plays host to thousands of birds especially during the winter season. Over 230 species of birds are known to
have made the National Park their home. It is also a major tourist centre with scores of ornithologists arriving here in the hibernal season. It was
declared a protected sanctuary in 1971. It is also a declared World Heritage Site.

Keoladeo Ghana National Park is a man-made and man-managed wetland and one of the national parks of India. The reserve protects Bharatpur
from frequent floods, provides grazing grounds for village cattle and earlier was primarily used as a waterfowl hunting ground. The 29 km reserve
is locally known as Ghana, and is a mosaic of dry grasslands, woodlands, woodland swamps, and wetlands. These diverse habitats are home to
366 bird species, 379 floral species, 50 species of fish, 13 species of snakes, 5 species of lizards, 7 amphibian species,7 turtle species, and a
variety of other invertebrates. Every year thousands of migratory waterfowl visit the park for wintering breeding etc. The Sanctuary is one of the
richest bird areas in the world. It is known for nesting of its resident birds and visiting migratory birds incl. water birds. The rare Siberian cranes used to winter in this park but this central population of Siberian Cranes is now extinct. According to Sir Peter Scott Keoladeo Sanctuary is the
world’s best bird area.

Siberian Crane (This is the last pair which visited Bharatpur)
In 1965 there were aboout 200 cranes here.
Navneet, http://picasaweb.google.com

The sanctuary was created 250 years ago. Initially, it was a natural depression; and was flooded after the Ajan Bund was constructed by
Maharaja Suraj Mal, the then ruler of the princely state of Bharatpur, between 1726–1763. The bund was created at the confluence of two
rivers, the Gambhir and Banganga. The park was a hunting ground for the maharajas of Bharatpur, a tradition dating back to 1850, and duck
shoots were organised yearly in honor of the British viceroys. In one shoot alone in 1938, over 4,273 birds such as mallards and teals were
killed by Lord Linlithgow, the then Governor-General of India.

The park was established as a national park on 10 March 1982. Previously the private duck shooting preserve of the Maharaja of Bharatpur
since the 1850s, the area was designated as a bird sanctuary on 13 March 1956 and a Ramsar site under the Wetland Convention in October
1981. The last big shoot was held in 1964 but the Maharajah retained shooting rights until 1972. In 1985, the Park was declared a World
Heritage Site under the world Heritage Convention. In 1982, grazing was banned in the park, leading to violent clashes between local farmers
and the government.

The park is 2 kilometers south-east of Bharatpur and 50 km west of Agra.
The Park is spread over approx 29 square kilometer area.
One third of the Keoladeo National Park habitat is wetland systems with
varying types of microhabitats having trees, mounds, dykes and
open water with or without submerged or emergent plants.
The uplands have grasslands (savannas) of tall species of grass together
with scattered trees and shrubs present in varying density.

A similar habitat with short grasses, such as Cynodon dactylon and Dicanthium annulatum also exists. Woodlands with thickets of huge
Kadam trees (Neolamarckia cadamba) are distributed in scattered pockets. Richness and diversity of plant life inside the Park is remarkable.
The Park’s flora consists of 379 species of flowering plants of which 96 are wetland species. The Wetland is a part of the Indo-Gangetic
Great Plains.

Cynodon dactylon
Dicanthium annulatum

In an area characterized by sparse vegetation, the park is the only spot which has dense vegetation and trees. The principal vegetation types
are tropical dry deciduous forests intermixed with dry grasslands. Where the forest has degraded, the greater part of the area is covered
with shrubs and medium sized trees. The park is a fresh water swamp and is flooded during the monsoon. For most part of the year,
effective wetland is only 10 km2. The rest of the area remains dry.

Dykes divide the wetland into ten units. Each unit has a system of sluice gates to control its water level. Depth of water ranges from 1 metre
to 2 metre during rains (July, August and September). In subsequent months, October to January, the level gets lowered. The area starts
drying from February. In May and June, the entire area dries. Water remains only in some depressions. This alternate wetting and drying
helps to maintain the ecology of the fresh water swamp, ideal for water-fowl and resident water birds. Arrangement to pump water from
deep tube wells to fill small depressions to save seeds, spores and other aquatic life also exist. They are also helpful in extreme years of

During 1988, mean maximum temperature ranged from 20.9° Celsius in January to 47.8°C in May, while the mean temperature varied from
6.8°C in December to 26.5°C in June. The diurnal temperature variation ranged from 5°C in January to 50°C in May. Mean relatively
humidity varied from 62% in March to 83.3% in December. The mean annual precipitation is 662 millimeters, with rain falling on an
average of 36 days per year. During 1988 only 395mm of rain fell during 32 wet days.

Local observers have noted the shrinking of habitat for aquatic plant species in the Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur, Rajasthan,
northern India, after a number of years of drought and upstream water abstraction.

Forests, mostly in the north-east of the park, are dominated by kalam or kadam, Neolamarckia cadamba, Mitragyna parvifolia,
jamun, Syzygium cumini, and babul, Acacia nilotica. The open woodland is mostly babul with a small amount of kandi (Prosopis cineraria) and ber (Zizyphus).

Neolamarckia cadamba
Photo: J.M.Garg
Mitragyna parvifolia
Syzygium cumini
Acacia nilotica

Piloo (Salvadora oleoides and Salvadora persica) also present in the park and happens to be virtually the only woody plants found in areas of
saline soil. The aquatic vegetation is rich and provides a valuable food source for waterfowl.

Macro invertebrates such as worms, insects and mollusks, though more abundant in variety and numbers than any other group of organisms, are
present mostly in aquatic habitats. They are food for many fish and birds, as well as some animal species, and hence, constitute a major link in
the food chain and functioning of the ecosystem. Land insects are in abundance and have a positive effect on the breeding of land birds.

Keoladeo National Park is popularly known as “bird paradise”. Over 370 bird species have been recorded in the park. Ornithologically, the park
assumes significance in two respects: One because of its strategic location as a staging ground for migratory waterfowl arriving in the Indian
subcontinent before dispersing to various regions. Further waterfowl converge here before departing to breeding grounds in western Palearctic
region. In addition, the wetland is a wintering area for massive congregations of waterfowl. It is also the only regular wintering area in India for the Critically Endangered Siberian Crane. (See above)

The park's location in the Gangetic Plain makes it an unrivalled breeding site for herons, storks and cormorants, and an important wintering
ground for large numbers of migrant ducks. The most common waterfowl are gadwall, shoveler, common teal, cotton teal, tufted duck,
comb duck, little cormorant, great cormorant, Indian shag, ruff, painted stork, white spoonbill, Asian open-billed stork, oriental ibis, darter,
common sandpiper, wood sandpiper and green sandpiper. Sarus crane, with its spectacular courtship dance, is also found here.

Among landbirds are a rich assortment consisting of warblers, babblers, bee-eaters, bulbuls, buntings, chats, partridges and quails. Grey hornbill
and Marshall's iora are also present. There are many birds of prey including the osprey, peregrine, Pallas' sea eagle, short-toed eagle, tawny eagle,
imperial eagle, spotted eagle and crested serpent eagle. Greater spotted eagle has recently been recorded breeding here, a new breeding record for
the species in India.

A male Sambar deer
Photo:Wikigringo, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sambhar_deer.jpg

Mammalian fauna of Keoladeo National Park is equally rich with 27 identified species. Blue bull, feral cattle, and spotted deer are common while
sambar are few. Wild boar and porcupine are often spotted sneaking out of the Park to raid crop fields. Two species of Mongoose, the small
Indian mongoose and the common Indian Gray Mongoose, are occasionally found. Two species of lesser cats – the jungle cat and the fishing
cat and two species of civets – common palm civet and small Indian civet though rare are present. The smooth Indian otter can be seen attacking
birds such as coots and at times crossing the woodlands. Jackals and Hyenas are also sighted and have taken up the role of predators and fee
d on birds and rodents. Many species of rats, mice, gerbils and bats are also found in the Park.

Other Species
Fish fauna of the park comprises 43 species, of which 37 enter the park along with the water from Ajan Bund, and six species are breeding residents. During a good rainy season the park receives around 65 million fish fry and fingerlings. The fish population and diversity are very important as they form the food source of many birds.

Langur taken in Pench National Park, India
Photo: Siddhi , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Langur.jpg

Herpetofauna of Keoladeo National Park is very rich. Out of the ten species of turtles that are seen in Rajasthan, seven are present in this park.
Besides this, there are five lizard species, thirteen snake species and seven species of amphibians. The Bullfrog and skipper frog are commonly
found in the wetlands. It is very easy to see a python out of its burrow and basking in the sun on a sunny winter day. The common monitor lizard,
Indian porcupine and Bi-colored leaf-nose Bat have been seen in the same burrow as that of the python. The poisonous snakes found in the park
are krait, cobra and Russell’s viper. Primates are rhesus macaque and langur. Large predators are absent, leopards having been deliberately
exterminated by 1964, but small carnivores include Bengal fox, jackal, striped hyena, common palm civet, small Indian civet, Indian grey mongoose
(Herpestes edwardsi), fishing cat, leopard cat, jungle cat and smooth-coated otter. Ungulates include blackbuck, chital, sambar, hog deer, nilgai
and wild boar and feral cattle. Other mammals include Indian porcupine and Indian hare. During the year 2007–2008 attempts have been
made to eradicate Prosopis Juliflora/ Cineraria to rid the park of mono culture and enable natural vegetation to regenerate.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keoladeo_National_Park and others.



over 250


over 500


over 225
Web www.vulkaner.no

This page has been made with Macromedia Dreamweaver