Van Vihar National Park
Van Vihar National Park is a national park in central India. It is located in Bhopal, the capital city of Madhya Pradesh. Declared a national park in 1983, it covers an area of about 4.45 km2. Although it has the status of a national park, Van Vihar is developed and managed as a modern zoological park, following the guidelines of the Central Zoo Authority. The animals are kept in their near natural habitat. Most of the animals are either orphaned brought from various parts of the state or those, which are exchanged from other zoos. No animal is deliberately captured from the forest. Van Vihar is unique because it allows easy access to the visitors through a road passing through the park, security of animals assured from poachers by building trenches and walls, chain-link fence and by providing natural habitat to the animals.
The animals such as tiger, lion, bear, hyena, crocodiles, gharial, snakes, python etc., are kept in captivity in a system of kraal and enclosures in lines of modern concept of zoo management as per the norms of Central Zoo Authority. All felids and hyenas are fed with buffalo meat, mutton and poultry. Bears are provided with milk, vegetables and fruits to make a balanced diet.
Free ranging animals, such as cheetal, sambhar, blackbuck, blue bull etc. are unique features of Van Vihar. There are no enclosures for them except the outer boundaries of Van Vihar. Normally the grass and other plant species growing in Van Vihar are sufficient for these herbivores. However, in summer when the grass is scarce, green fodder produced in the fodder farm and wheat husk procured from the market is provided as a supplement.
Van Vihar also preserves animals belonging to endangered species.
he wilderness of park offers an ideal habitat for a number of avian fauna. Till now about two hundred species of birds have been listed in different parts of Van Vihar. Large number of birds frequent this park, especially during winter the migratory waterfowl alight in great numbers in the adjoining extensive wetland of big lake. In the 2010s, the park developed a vulture breeding centre which initially focused on restoring populations of Oriental white-backed vultures (Gyps bengalensis), and long billed vultures (Gyps indicus). The park is also the abode of a variety of butterflies and insects.
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