The state of Gujarat is one among the few emerging states of India and is famous for its investment friendly government and the infrastructure as well as the plain lands of the Kachch and the vast coastline. For those unaware, the state of Gujarat has been one of the main centers of the Indus valley civilization and its per capita GDP is higher than the national average. In short, its an emerging state.
Coming to where I’m interested, Gujarat has about 7.4% of its total geographical area under forest cover. It has four national parks and 21 sanctuaries. It’s the only home of the endangered Asiatic lions outside Africa. Detailed discoveries and researches have shown that Gujarat is home to one of the largest clutch of dinosaur hatcheries in the world. From the tourism perspective, Gujarat is one of the most popular states in the country for tourism with the attractions being the Gir lions to the Marine National park to the plains of Kutch and being home to personnel like Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhai Patel.
I’m currently on a wildlife and birding tour of Gujarat covering the below places. Yes, I’m skipping Gir this time that has a plan to be covered separately with my friends.
Blackbuck Natioanl Park, Velavadar
It’s situated in the Bhavnagar district of Gujarat and spreading over a area of 34sqkm, the grassland is home to the Blackbuck Antelopes, the Wolf and the endangered Lessar Florican among others. During the winters, large number of migrant birds like the Harriers, Falcons, Kestrels roost in the grasslands that also signifies its importance as a biodiversity hub supporting vast forms of life.
Lying in the Jamnagar district and just south of the Gulf of Kutch and is also known as the Oil city of India. Khijadia bird sanctuary located just 10kms from the city is considered one of the important sites for ecological research and education. It’s a combination of freshwater lakes, saltpans, saline land and mangrove scrub habitats supporting vast varieties of birdlife, both resident and migratory. India’s first marine sanctuary, the Marine National Park is located here in the Arabian sea and is famous for its coral reefs and mangroves.
Little Rann of Kutch
Its primarily a salt marsh and is famous as the world’s last refuge of the Indian Wild Ass conservation and is also know as the Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary. Its an ecologically important area for wildlife and many local and migrant bird species that refuge here. The traditional salt panning activity is one concern that is threatening to destroy the entire ecology of the region.
Greater Rann of Kutch
The GRK is a seasonal salt marsh located in the Thar desert in the Kutch district of Gujarat and is reputed to be the largest salt desert in the world. This is one of the hottest areas of India with summer temperatures peaking up to 50degC and winter temperatures often going below 0degC. In winters, GRK is a breeding ground for flamingoes and pelicans and is the only place in India where flamingoes come to breed. The marshes are also a resting place for migratory birds and are home to over 200 species of birds.
Ciao soon :)