Sunday, May 26, 2024

Tourism      Wildlife      National Parks      Gujarat     Bhavnagar    

Velavadar Black Buck National Park

Bhavnagar District, Gujarat
Nearest Town : Ballavpur (32 km)
Main attraction
Elephants, gaur
Best season
Between October and March
Main Attraction : Black Buck
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Velavadar National Park, the only tropical grassland in India recognized as a National park is located in Bhavnagar district, in the Bhal region of Saurashtra, Gujarat. The park, now spread over an area of 34.08 Sq.kms used to be a private grassland of the ex- princely state of Bhavnagar with an area of about 1788.88 ha which was subsequently declared as a reserve forest and later notified as a National Park in 1976. An area of 1622.23 ha was further added in 1980. The main attraction of the park located seventy-two km away from the city of Bhavnagar is the massive population of Black Buck, Antelope, Wolf and other endangered species of birds. 

The park has been classified as Gujarat-Rajwada biotic province of semi-arid bio-geographical zone. It has a unique grassland eco system. On the southern border of the park lies the high tidal zone of the Gulf of Khambhat and as a result that portion of the park is flooded with water. The other sides are surrounded by wastelands and agriculture fields. Its semi-arid conditions, together with  overflowing of sea water during monsoon create habitats for the varied fauna.

The Park has areas of dense grasslands, sparse grasslands, Prosopis shrubland, Saline lands and high tidal mudflats. Thirty-nine species of grasses and 46 species of sedges, shrubs and trees represent the diversity of flora. Dichanthium annulatum, Sporobolus virginicus, Sporobolus coromandelianus, Sporobolus madernspatensis are the dominant grasses. Prosopis juliflora growing in the form of shrub covers large area of the Park. Among the medium sized trees, Salvadora, Acacia nilotica, Zizyphus, Capparis and Suaeda are common.

The fauna of the park comprises mainly of Blackbuck, Antelope, Blue bull, Wolf, jackal, hyena, jungle cat, fox, Wild Boars and birds as well. All these animals can be viewed on the open Flat grassland from very close range. The exclusive Indian  Blackbuck which the sanctuary is named after, is one of the most graceful and beautiful animal of its kind. It has ringed horns that have a spiral twist of three to fours turns and are up to 70 cm long. The body's upper parts are black and the under parts and a ring around the eyes are white. The light brown female is usually hornless. 'Kathi' tribal community of Gujarat have protected the blackbuck with vigour and zeal, as it is associated with their past history of valor and religious practices.

Endangered birds like Houbara Bustard, Lesser Florican, Sarus White Storks, White Pelican, Montagu, Pallid Harriers, Marsh and other raptors including the Greater Spotted Eagle, juvenile Imperial Eagle, Bonelli's Eagle, Short-toed Snake Eagle and Long-legged Buzzard are also seen in the park. The Climate in Velavdar makes it one of the best places for the migrating birds to breed. During the rainy season the breeding of  Lesser Florican is seen largely in the park. The male bird attracting the female is an unusual sight to watch. The male bird first marks its territory and then begins the courtship display which is a spectacular vertical leap up to a height of two meters, and which may be repeated over 500 times in a day. Sarus cranes also regularly breed in the park during the monsoon season. This place has earned popularity as the largest roosting ground for four species of migratory harriers in the entire world.