Volume: 5, No: 12 ; December-2011
Established in 1976, Katarniaghat Sanctuary is situated in Terai area on the Indo-Nepal border in Bahraich District, Uttar Pradesh. The sanctuary is spread over an area of 400 sq km, and is home to a variety of animals such as tiger, leopard, swamp deer, blackbuck, chital, barking deer, sambhar, nilgai, sloth bear, wild boar, gharial and magar. November to June is the best time to visit here. Katarniaghat is well linked by road to other parts of the state. It is 44 km from Mihinpurwa. The nearest airport is at Lucknow, 225 km away.
BAHRAICH: Remaining under water and coming out only to breathe and then again going inside, the 100-odd gangetic dolphins found in Katarnighat wildlife sanctuary, locally called ‘Sus’ prove to be visual delight for the wildlife lovers, who flock here to catch a glimpse of the nature’s treasure.
Katarniaghat wildlife sanctuary is a part of the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve, and is located near the Indo-Nepal border, in the Terai area of Bahraich. The Gangetic dolphins, found in the region, are rare species. Earlier, it was found in Ganga river basin and all the linked rivers. But now, its habitat is limited to few rivers. Rivers like Brahmaputra, Ganga, Chambal constitute its natural habitats. In these rivers, around 2,500 dolphins are found. Gangetic dolphins have been included in the Schedule-I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
According to a recent population estimate of the Gangetic dolphins, by the World Wildlife Fund-India, UP is the only state where the dolphin population has increased since 2005. The earlier figure was 500, but now 547 dolphins have been reported from the state. In UP, dolphins are found in stretches of upper Ganga from Bijnore to Narora, Chambal on the borders of Etawah and Agra, and Gerua River in Bahraich’s Katerniaghat sanctuary.
The Gangetic dolphins float away from the rivers of Nepali mountains and fall in the Gerwua river, which later joins Ghaghra river and finally connects with Ganga. The population of Gangetic dolphins across the country is merely 600 of which their population at Katarniaghat wildlife sanctuary is 100. Regular monitoring and awareness programmes have led to an increase in the dolphin population in the state of Uttar Pradesh. The Gangetic dolphin or Platinista Gangetica was declared the national aquatic animal in 2009. The distribution range of the Gangetic dolphins in India covers Assam, Uttar Pradesh , Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and West Bengal.
According to initial estimates 547 dolphins have been reported in Uttar Pradesh. The earlier figure stood at 500, however, the survey in the state is in progress and certain areas are yet to be covered. On the Union government’s directions WWF started with the process of formulation of an action plan for conservation of dolphins across the country. As the first step they are surveying the dolphin population in various states to ascertain the exact figures. From the survey so far, it can be easily said that Uttar Pradesh is the only state in India where the number of dolphins in some stretches has increased,
According to the WWF-India estimates till now, the number of dolphins in Gerwua increased to 48 as compared to 36 in 2006. The survey at Narora in UP will be conducted next month. On surveying the area, it was found that the habitat here is favourable for dolphins. Eight calves were also sighted here. There are reports of dolphin sightings from Sharda, Rapti and Saryu rivers, where the survey will start soon. No estimation of dolphins has been made in these rivers in the past, so it will be a first such survey in this area.
Tornos has a special package for Dudhwa National Park & Katarniaghat. As these places do not have proper facilities for tourists we have a special wing that takes over the basic facilities of Forest Department and converts it into a proper comfortable facility for tourists. We would be delighted to work out a special package for the wildlife lovers.
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