Stretching over an area of some 811 sq km (with a core area of 648 sq km), Dudhwa National Park lies amid the warm, tropical forests of the terai, in the foothills of the Himalayas. Sprawling along India’s border with Nepal, Dudhwa is a tiger reserve, and lies north of the Suheli river.
The park’s thick sal forests, extensive grasslands and wet marshes harbour a wide range of wildlife, including tiger, swamp deer (barasingha), elephant, jackal, sloth bear, leopard cat, jungle cat, civet, fishing cat and a vast number of birds.
Dudhwa’s birds, in particular, are a delight for any avid birdwatcher- plenty of painted storks, sarus cranes, owls, barbets, woodpeckers, minivets and many more, including some rare species like the Bengal florican. Much of the park’s avian fauna is aquatic in nature, and is found around Dudhwa’s lakes- especially Banke Tal.
The great Indian one-horned rhino, which was hunted out of existence in this part of the country by the end of the 19th century, has also now been reintroduced in Dudhwa from other sanctuaries in Nepal and India. Brought to Dudhwa in 1985, rhino populations have increased marginally over the years since.
Dudhwa had, in the recent past, been facing problems of encroachment and poaching, both of which have had an adverse effect on the park’s ecology. Swamp deer populations, especially, had fallen, but recent surveys show that the park’s recovering, slowly but surely.