Wildlife in Dudhwa National Park
National Park is spread over 490sq km along with a buffer area of over
100 Sq km. Besides massive grassland and swamps, Dudhwa National Park
is home to one of the finest Sal (Shorea robusta) forests in India.
Some of these trees are more than 150 years old and over 70 feet tall.
In 1976, the park had a population of 50 tigers, 41 elephants and 76
bears apart from five species of deer, more than 400 species of birds,
crocodiles and some other species of mammals and reptiles.
Dudwa National Park is a stronghold of the barasingha/ swamp deer,
which can be spotted in herds of hundreds. India is the only country
where this species of deer is found. It is interesting to note that
around half of the total Barasinghas on the Earth are present in
Dudhwa National Park. Smaller than the sambar, the barasinghas have 12
antlers that collectively measure up to 100 cm. A full-grown stag can
weigh as much as 180 kg and measure 135cm. The coat of the animal is
slightly woolly, dark brown to pale yellow, adapted perfectly to
camouflage in the tall grasses of the area.
During the winter season the swamps of Dudhwa echo with the frequent
wallowing of rutting stags. This is also the time for mock fights that
entail stiff postures and shrill calls rather than the actual locking
of the horns. With the onset of spring the herd gets ready to welcome
the newborn fawns. With the passage of winter the Barasinghas shed the
woolly coats. During this point of time the fights amongst the male
Barasinghas are minimal.
Tiger is another major attraction of the Dudhwa National Park. There
was once such a time when Dudhwa was severely affected by man-eating
tigers for which the structure of the Park was held responsible.
Dudhwa is probably the only Park that doesn't have adequate buffer
area to support the main wild/ Park. This is bound to create conflicts
between human beings and animals.
Besides the abovementioned animals, the avian life at Dudhwa is a
delight for any avid bird watcher. The marshland of Dudhwa national
park is home to around 400 species of resident and migratory birds
that include the Swamp Partridge, Bengal Florican, Great Slaty
Woodpecker, plenty of painted storks, owls, barbets, woodpeckers,
sarus cranes, minivets etc. It is to be noted that much of Dudhwa's
avian fauna is aquatic in nature and found around lakes.
The major vegetation types in and around Dudhwa National Park are
tropical semi-evergreen forest, tropical moist deciduous forest,
riparian and swamp and dry deciduous forest. The dominant tree species
are Shorea robusta, Eugenia jambolana, Terminalis tomentosa,
Terminalia belerica, Adina cordifolia, Dalbergia sissoo, and Bombax
malabaricum. Stretches of mesophyllous grasslands, locally called the
phantasm, interrupt the forests at many points in the National Park.