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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Manas Wildlife Sanctuary

Declared as world heritage site in 1985, the Manas Wildlife Sanctuary is a Project Tiger reserve. Situated in Assam, it is stretched over 2,837 sq km and consists of mainly low-lying sal forests and grasslands. It is to the south of the Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan. It was originally known as North Kamrup and was first declared as the wildlife sanctuary in 1928. It has made up to the list of `World Heritage in Danger' sites. Besides the tigers (second-largest population in India), this national Park is also famous for housing the rare species of golden langurs and red pandas. Other species that one can spot here are elephants, rhinos, swamp deers, gaurs, clouded leopards, golden cats, pangolins, fishing cats, pygmy hogs and leopards.Besides the terrestrial wildlife, there are more than 450 species of birds including the great pied hornbills and the Bengal floricans. Manas National Park is 176 km from Guwahati, the capital of Assam. Elephant rides at dawn is the best way to see the wildlife in the park though boat rides in Manas and Hakua rivers, allow you to watch the animals and birds that gather around these rivers to drink water closely. The best season to visit this National Park is from October to April and monsoons that usually come around June to September, should be avoided as the park gets flooded during that time and even the animals and birds hide in safer and obscure spots of the park. Situated amongst the foothills of the Bhutan Himalayas, Manas National Park is currently threatened by deforestation, poaching and insurgency.

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