The Dudhwa National Park spread over a 680 square kilometer area is located in the sub-Himalayan Terai Belt region in the Lakhimpur-Kheri Districts of the Indian State of Uttar Pradesh. It is the last remnant of the Terai region and one of the most endangered ecosystems on our planet today. To the north it forms an International border with Nepal while River Suheli marks the southern boundary of this National Park.
A complex eco-system comprising of dense Sal jungles, Grasslands and Swamps that are home to 47 species of mammals, of which 13 are endangered, along with the Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary it was declared as the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve in the year 1988. Dubbed as the ‘Jurassic Park of India’, these forests are made up of some of the finest Sal trees which are about 150 years old and over 70 feet tall. This park is also said to have a good number of tigers (almost 101), and four leopards. It was here in 1984 that a major Rhinoceros Rehabilitation Project was started and five Rhinos were relocated from Assam and Nepal for this purpose.
The other animals of the park include the Hispid Hare, Swamp Deer, Sambar Deer, Barking Deer, Spotted Deer, Hog Deer, Sloth Bear, Ratel, Jackal, Civet, Jungle Cat, Fishing Cat and the Leopard Cat. The Dudhwa National Park also boasts of a rich birdlife recorded well over 350 species. These include the Swamp Francolin, the Great Slaty Woodpecker and the Bengal Florican. The migratory birds include Painted Storks, Black & White Necked Storks, Sarus Cranes, Woodpeckers, Barbets, Kingfishers, Bee-Eaters, Bulbuls and many others. This National Park in short, is a great floral and faunal wealth, put together by this delicately balanced sub-Himalayan ecosystem, serving to preserve a whole lot of endangered species decreasing and vanishing by the day.
Dudhwa National Park – Swamp Deer: This species of deer is native to India and Nepal, and is locally known as the ‘Barasingha’. The most striking feature of this deer is the antlers, with 10-14 tines on a matured stag, are found in good numbers in the Terai region of Uttar Pradesh, Assam and in the Sunder bans of West Bengal. These stags are however smaller than the Sambar Deer and are found to weigh around 180 kg. There was a time when they were abundantly found throughout the Indian sub-continent which now, has disappeared from most parts except for this sub-Himalayan slim northern Terai belt.