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Wild Life Tour with Keoladeo National Park

Keoladeo Park Keoladeo National Park (KNP) - one of the most enchanting waterfowl refuges in the world. At the confluence of the Gambhir and Banganga rivers in Bharatpur district of Rajasthan. Formerly known as the Bharatpur Ghana Bird Sanctuary, the park, which has been extensively modified and managed by man, supports enormous congregations of migratory waterfowl in winter, and massive colonies of breeding, fish-eating birds in the monsoon and autumn. Besides the enormity in number and variety of these birds, the possibility of watching them from close quarters is the major attraction of this park. The rare and most endangered of the cranes, the Siberian crane, which is reported to winter regularly only in Bharatpur in India, is the star visitor to KNP. Since the wetland is surrounded by a variety of terrestrial habitats, chances of sighting semi - aquatic and land birds are also high, making it all the more impressive to any bird lover and giving it the name 'bird paradise'.
KNP became a Ramsar Site in 1981 and a World Heritage site in 1985 giving it the international recognition it deserves

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Keoladeo (Bharatpur) National Park (27°10'N, 77°31'E) is a World Heritage Site situated in eastern Rajasthan. The park is 2 kilometers (km) south-east of Bharatpur and 50km west of Agra. Park is spread in 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.


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Flora
A semi-arid biotype, the park is the only area with much vegetation, hence the term 'Ghana' meaning 'thicket'. The principal vegetation types are tropical dry deciduous forest, intermixed with dry grassland in areas where forest has been degraded. Apart from the artificially managed marshes; much of the area is covered by medium-sized trees and shrubs. Forests, mostly in the north-east of the park, are dominated by kalam or kadam, jamun and babul.

Forestly, mostly in the north-east of the park, are dominated kalam or Mitragyna Parvifolia, Jamun Syzygium Cuminii and Babul Acacia Nilotica. The open woodland is mostly Babul with a small amount of Kandi Prosp\opis Spicigera and ber Zizyphus. Scrublands are dominated by Ber and Kair Capparis Decidua.[6] Piloo Salvadora Oleoides ans Salvadoria 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.

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Fauna
Keoladeo National Park is popularly known as “bird paradise”. Over 370 bird species have been recorded in the part. Ornithologically, the park assumes significance in two respects. One because of its strategic location being 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. Two, it has been the only regular wintering area in India for the rare and highly endangered Siberian Crane.

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.

Fauna Among landbirds is 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.




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Mammals
Mammalian fauna of Keoladeo National Park is equally rich with 27 identified species.[7] Blue bull, feral cattle, and spotted deer are common while Sāmbhar are few. Wild boar and porcupine are often spotted sneaking out of the Park to raid crop fields. Two species of Mongoose, and the small Indian mongoose, and the common 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.Jackals and Hyenas are also sighted and have taken up the role of predators and feed on birds and rodents. Many species of rats, mice, gerbils and bats are also found in the Park.Jackals and Hyenas are also sighted and have taken up the role of predators and feed on birds and rodents. Many species of rats, mice, gerbils and bats are also found in the Park.

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Keoladeo
The sanctuary was created 250 years ago and is named after a Keoladeo (Shiva) temple within its boundaries. 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 19S6 and a Ramsar site under the Wetland Convention in October 1981.In 1985, the Park was declared a World Heritage Site under the world Heritage Convention. It is a reserve forest under the Rajasthan Forest Act, 1953 and therefore, is the property of the State of Rajasthan of the Indian Union.

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