Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary
Along the Indo – Nepal border , in the district of Behraich in Utter Pradesh , India,
lies a 550 sq. km. of dense Terai jungle comprising of Sal and Teak forest, Lush
green Grasslands, wetlands and swamps which are full of life. A river which forms
an intrinsic part of this forest flower silently supporting the last of the Gharial
populations left in the wild.
Once part of the West Behraich Forest Division , the wild and green wonder was declared
a Wildlife Sanctuary in May 1975 and today forms a part of the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve
along With Dudhwa National Park and Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary.
The sanctuary also form an important corridor of connectivity between the Dudhwa
Tiger Reserve in India and the Bardia National Park in Nepal. The Sanctuary comprises
of the forest in the ranges of Motipur, Kakraha, Murthia, Nishangarah, Dharmapur
and Karerniaghat. This distance from Motipur to katerniaghat is of around forty
kilometers and a slow drive along the road provides ample sighting of the wild fauna,
with the journey ending at the river Girwa.
The woodland in the sanctuary are dominated by Sal (Shorea robusta)
and Teak (Tectona grandis) trees which generally form
the top canopy with Asna ( Terminalia alata), Asidh (Lagerstroemia
parviflora), Bahera (Terminalia belerica),
Haldu (Adina cordifolia) and Kusuma (Schleichera
oleosa). The middle level of the forest consists of Rohini (Mallouts
pkillippensis), Gular (Ficus glamerrata),
Khurkhura (Ficus conia), Banyan (Ficus bengalensis),
peepal (Ficus religiosa). The tree found near the river
and water- bodies are Jamun (Syzygium cumini), Partju
(Patranjiva roxburghii), Sheora (Streblus asper),
Shiisham (Dalbergia sissoo), Semal (Bombax ceiba),
Khair (Acacia catechu), Gutel (Trewia nudiflora)
etc. The grassland which are generally formed on old river beds and silted lakes
are called “Phantas” in the local languages. These generally intermingle
with the forest. The main grasses found in these Phantas are Munj (Saccharum
munja), Kans (Saccharum spontaneum), Narkul (Phragmites karka)
and Nari (Arundo donax).
CREATURES OF THE FOREST
The unusually calm forest, at time echoes with the alarm call of a Cheetal (Axis
axis) or Langur (Semnopithecus), this
alerts all the inhabitants of the forest of the presence of the king – The Tiger
, an ellusive animal, the presence of which can be felt by the pug marks, scratch
marks and scat . It rarely shows itself and usually avoids humans. But this majestic
animal when sighed in its natural surrounding is a moment to cherish forever.
Many other species of animals like the Leopards, Cheetal or Spotted Deer, Hog deer,
Barking Deer, Swamp Deer and the Sambar live in the Sanctuary and play equally important
part in its ecology. Elephant and Rhino which once migrated from Nepal, have now
made Katerniaghat their permanent residence. Wild boar can be easily seen here.
At dusk, the creatures of the night- Porcupines, Civet, Jackals and bats become
active and one should keep a look out for them. The sanctuary also has an Albino
spotted Deer which can be seen in the herd of the other Cheetals.
THE TALS AND SWAMPS
The Tals or lakes and the swamps play an important part in the ecology of the sanctuary
and are home to Muggar Crocodiles, water birds, Otters and a host of migratory birds
during the winter months