Blackbuck National Park, Velavadar
The “vidi” (grassland) of the maharaja of the princely state of Bhavnagar for hunting the blackbucks with his famous hunting cheetahs….
Established in 1976 in the Bhal region of Saurashtra, the park is located around 42 km from the district headquarters city of Bhavnagar. Hugging the coasts of the Gulf of Khambhat on the south, it is spread over an area of 34.08 km2, which was primarily a “vidi” (grassland) of the maharaja of the princely state of Bhavnagar for hunting the blackbucks with his famous hunting cheetahs. On the northern side, it is surrounded by wastelands and agriculture fields. The national park has been classified as 4B Gujarat-Rajwada biotic province of semi-arid bio-geographical zone.
Flat land, dry grasses and herds of antelope have always attracted visitors to this park which has a grassland ecosystem. Successful conservation programs for the blackbuck, wolf and lesser florican (a bustard) are ongoing. Considered to be an endemic Indian species, the lesser florican, which once lived throughout the country, has become endangered in recent decades. Today, the largest population is in this park. Local wolf numbers are increasing, as are striped hyena, with sightings quite frequent during daylight in winter
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