India is a country with a diverse range of flora and fauna. India has a wide range of wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, and conservation reserves that offer a glimpse into the country’s biodiversity. One such sanctuary that attracts bird lovers from all over the world is the Okhla Bird Sanctuary.
One of the most highly rated, Located in the Gautam Buddha Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh, the Okhla Bird Sanctuary is a protected area spanning an area of approximately 4 square kilometres. Okhla Bird Sanctuary is situated on the banks of the Yamuna River and is home to over 300 species of birds, including both migratory and resident birds.
Video Credit – Okhla Bird Sanctuary: Maya Sharma
History and Background of Okhla Bird Sanctuary
Okhla Bird Sanctuary was established in 1990 to protect the natural habitat of bird species in the region. The Uttar Pradesh Forest Department and the Ministry of Environment and Forests created the sanctuary. It was declared a bird sanctuary in 1994 under the Nature Protection Act 1972.
The Okhla Bird Sanctuary is part of the larger Okhla Embankment, which was built across the Yamuna River in 1978 to regulate the flow of the river. The park’s riverside location makes it an ideal habitat for a variety of bird species, including migratory birds that visit the reserve during the winter months.
Flora and Fauna in Okhla Bird Sanctuary
Okhla Bird Sanctuary is home to many different species of birds, making it a paradise for bird watchers or in simple words tourists and photographers. Some of the bird species found in the sanctuary are Indian Spotted Eagle, Kingfisher, Purple Sunbird and Indian Gray Hornbill. During the winter months, migratory birds such as the Siberian lapwing, the northern tip, the lapwing and the Eurasian lapwing visit the sanctuary.
Besides birds, the sanctuary is home to several species of mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Common mammals found in the sanctuary are Indian hare, Indian grey mongoose and Indian civet. Reptile species found in the sanctuary include the Indian python, lizard and various snakes. The sanctuary is also home to several species of amphibians, including the Indian bullfrog and the green frog.
River forests and meadows dominate the flora of the sanctuary. Species such as Neem, Peepal, Jamun and Babul are found in the forest, while the grasslands consist of a variety of grasses and shrubs.
Activities at the Sanctuary
The Okhla Bird Sanctuary offers different wildlife activities for visitors. There are several watchtowers from where visitors can observe the birds and wildlife in their natural habitat. There are also several nature trails and walking paths in the sanctuary, providing visitors with an opportunity to explore the sanctuary’s flora and fauna closely.
For bird enthusiasts, the Okhla Bird Sanctuary has a bird-watching experience that is unmatched in the region. Visitors can hire a guide to take them on a tour of the sanctuary, providing them with insights into the various bird species found in the sanctuary.
The Okhla Bird Sanctuary also has a visitor centre that provides information about the sanctuary’s history, flora, and fauna. The centre has several exhibits showcasing the sanctuary’s biodiversity and conservation efforts.
The Okhla Bird Sanctuary is a protected region, and several conservation initiatives have been put in to ensure the preservation of the flora and fauna there. The Uttar Pradesh Forest Department has the responsibility of monitoring the management and conservation of the sanctuary.
The sanctuary has a management plan in place that describes the various steps taken to preserve the biodiversity of the sanctuary. The strategic plan focuses heavily on managing habitats, protecting endangered species, and promoting ecotourism in the area.
Pollution is one of the main hazards to the Okhla Bird Sanctuary. The Yamuna River, which flows through the sanctuary, is heavily polluted and the sanctuary is situated in an urban area. In order to protect the biodiversity of the sanctuary, efforts are being taken to reduce the river’s and its tributaries’ pollution levels.
Further creating threats to the sanctuary are encroachment and illegal fishing. The sanctuary is protected against encroachment and illegal fishing because of the efforts of the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department. The government has deployed forest guards to patrol the sanctuary’s boundaries and set up a control room to keep an eye on the illegal activity there.
Conclusion and Final words on Okhla Bird Sanctuary:
The Okhla Bird Sanctuary is a unique beautiful environment that offers a glimpse into the avian biodiversity of the region. The Yamuna River’s banks and the sanctuary’s rich flora and fauna make it a shelter for environment lovers and bird aficionados.
The Okhla Bird Sanctuary has been preserved thanks to conservation efforts made by the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department, and ecotourism initiatives have been created to encourage sustainable travel to the region. Bird watching, nature walks, and teaching about the sanctuary’s conservation activities are all available to visitors.
However the biodiversity of the sanctuary is severely threatened by pollution and illegal activity. In order to ensure the survival of the sanctuary’s flora and wildlife for present and future generations to enjoy, it is essential for visitors to act decently and follow the regulations.
What is Okhla Bird Sanctuary, and where is it located?
Okhla Bird Sanctuary is a protected area located in the Gautam Buddha Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh, India, on the banks of the Yamuna River.
What is the size of the Okhla Bird Sanctuary?
The Okhla Bird Sanctuary covers an area of approximately 4 square kilometres.
How many species of birds are found in the Okhla Bird Sanctuary?
Over 300 species of birds, including both resident and migratory birds, have been found in the Okhla Bird Sanctuary.
What are some of the common bird species found in the sanctuary?
Some of the common bird species found in the Okhla Bird Sanctuary include the Indian spotted eagle, common kingfisher, purple sunbird, Indian grey hornbill, Siberian crane, Northern pintail, Ruff, and Eurasian wigeon.
What other wildlife can be found in the sanctuary?
Apart from birds, the sanctuary is home to several species of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians, including the Indian hare, Indian grey mongoose, Indian civet, Indian python, monitor lizard, and various species of snakes and frogs.
What are the activities that visitors can enjoy in the sanctuary?
Visitors can enjoy bird-watching, nature walks or walking on the open grounds, and exploring the sanctuary’s flora and fauna closely. The sanctuary has several watchtowers, nature trails, walking paths, and a visitor centre with exhibits showcasing the sanctuary’s biodiversity.
What are the conservation efforts in place to protect the sanctuary’s flora and fauna?
The management and conservation of the sanctuary are under the authority of the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department. The sanctuary has an established management plan that focuses on maintaining habitat, protecting threatened animals, and promoting ecotourism in the area. Also, the department has taken action to stop fishing and encroachment on the sanctuary.
What are the major threats to the Okhla Bird Sanctuary?
Due to the sanctuary’s urban setting, pollution poses a serious threat towards its biodiversity. Extremely contaminated water flows across the sanctuary’s Yamuna River. The wildlife and plants of the sanctuary are also affected by illegal activities like encroachment and fishing.