National Chambal Wildlife Sanctuary
National Chambal Sanctuary, also called the National Chambal Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary, is a 5,400 km2 (2,100 sq mi) tri-state protected area in northern India for the critically endangered gharial (small crocodiles), the red-crowned roof turtle and the endangered Ganges river dolphin. Located on the Chambal River near the tripoint of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, it was first declared in Madhya Pradesh in 1978, and now constitutes a long narrow eco-reserve co-administered by the three states. Within the sanctuary, the pristine Chambal River cuts through mazes of ravines and hills with many sandy beaches.
The critically endangered gharial crocodile and the red-crowned roof turtle live here, and together with the endangered Ganges river dolphin are the keystone species of the sanctuary. Other large threatened inhabitants of the sanctuary include muggar crocodile, smooth-coated otter, striped hyena and Indian wolf. Chambal supports 8 of the 26 rare turtle species found in India, including Indian narrow-headed softshell turtle, three-striped roof turtle and crowned river turtle. Other reptiles who live here are: Indian flapshell turtle, soft shell turtle, Indian roofed turtle, Indian tent turtle and monitor lizard.
Mammals of less concern which live here include: rhesus macaque, Hanuman langur, golden jackal, Bengal fox, common palm civet, Indian small mongoose, Indian grey mongoose, jungle cat, wild boar, sambar, nilgai, blackbuck, Indian gazelle (chinkara), northern palm squirrel, porcupine, Indian hare, Indian flying fox and hedgehog.
The National Chambal Sanctuary is listed as an important bird area (IBA) IN122 and is a proposed Ramsar site. At least 320 species of resident and migratory birds inhabit the sanctuary. Migratory birds from Siberia form part of its rich avian fauna. Vulnerable bird species here include the Indian skimmer, sarus crane, Pallas’s fish eagle and Indian courser. The pallid harrier and lesser flamingo are near threatened. Winter visitors include black-bellied terns, red-crested pochard, ferruginous pochard and bar-headed goose. Other species include great thick-knee, greater flamingos, darters, and brown hawk owl.
Common plants in the sanctuary include khair (Acacia catechu), palash (flame of the forest, Butea monosperma), churel (Indian elm tree, Holoptelia integrifolia), ber (Indian plum, Ziziphus mauritiana) and grassy patches on both sides of the river.\n\nMain attraction of the sanctuary are fresh water dolphins, 21-foot-long crocodile, 18-foot-long gharials and rare turtles.
There are many nature watching opportunities available for visitors to the National Chambal Sanctuary. The best opportunities for sighting and photography of gharial and dolphins can be had by hiring a boat with a driver and guide, available at several points along the river. A boat excursion will also offer many viewpoints for photography of water and shore birds and landscapes. Walking trails in the ravines and along the river offer opportunities for close observation of the wide variety of plants and animals in the sanctuary.\n\nThere are public vehicle entry points to Chambal Sanctuary at Pinahat, Nandagon Ghat, Sehson and Bharch. Boating and visiting arrangements can be made with the help of the office of the Conservator of Forests, at Kota.
Visitors may explore Ater Fort, a beautiful but dilapidated landmark and historical site near Ater town, 35 km from Bhind. The fort was built by the Bhadauria kings Badan Singh, Maha Singh and Bakhat Singh in 1664-1698. The fort is situated on the banks of the Chambal River and can be reached by bus, jeep or boat.
There are forest rest houses at Bah and Chakkar Nagar and Public Works Department inspection bungalows at Bah and Pinahat. There are several commercial hotels and eco lodges at Agra, Etawah and Bah. The nearest airport is at Agra. The nearest railway station is at Agra. Agra and Mathura are major rail junctions with a number of trains from all over the country. Bharatpur, Ranthambhor National Park (with change at Bharatpur), Bandhavgarh National Park (Katni, Umaria) and Kanha National Park (Jabalpur) are all well serviced by the rail network from Agra.
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