Simlipal National Park
Simlipal National Park is a national park and a tiger reserve in the Mayurbhanj district in the Indian state of Odisha. It is part of the Similipal-Kuldiha-Hadgarh Elephant Reserve popularly known as Mayurbhanj Elephant Reserve, which includes three protected areas — Similipal Tiger Reserve (2750.00 km2), Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary (191.06 km2) and Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary (272.75 km2)). Simlipal National Park derives its name from the abundance of semul (red silk cotton trees) that bloom abundantly here.
The park has a protected area of 845.70 square kilometres (326.53 sq mi) and has some beautiful waterfalls like Joranda and Barehipani. Simlipal is home to 99 royal Bengal tigers and 432 wild elephants. Besides Simlipal is famous for gaurs (Indian bison), chausingha, as well as an orchidarium.
One can enter Similipal through Pithabata (22 kilometres (14 mi) from Baripada) and 98 km via Jashipur. Entry permits can be obtained from the Range Officer, Pithabata check gate upon paying prescribed fees. Day visitors can enter between 6 AM and 12 noon and visitors with reservation between 6 AM and 9 AM. Similipal National Park is open from 1 October to 15 June.
This reserve is part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves since 2009.
Simlipal elephant reserve originated mainly as a hunting ground for the royalty. It was formally designated a tiger reserve in 1956 and under Project Tiger in May 1973. “Mugger Crocodile Scheme” was started in 1979 at Ramatirtha, Jashipur.
The Government of Odisha declared Simlipal as a wildlife sanctuary in 1979 with an area of 2,200 square kilometres (850 sq mi). Later in 1980, the state government proposed 303 square kilometres (117 sq mi) of the sanctuary as a national park. Further in 1986, area of the national park was increased to 845.70 square kilometres (326.53 sq mi). Government of India declared Simlipal as a biosphere reserve in 1994. UNESCO added this national park to its list of Biosphere Reserves in May 2009. There are 10,000 people living in 61 villages in the forest. That is why Simlipal is yet to be declared a full-fledged park, despite its having the status of one of the 18 biospheres of India.
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