One of the least known facts about Punjab is that it is
the natural habitat for a variety of flora and fauna. There
are a number of wetlands, bird sanctuaries and zoological
parks all over Punjab. So, even in this land of myriad cultural
colours, you can enjoy a Lion Safari at Chhatbir Zoo near Chandigarh
or just watch the exotic migratory birds fly in at Hari Ke
Pattan in Amritsar. Read on
to find out more about the wildlife in Punjab.
Hari-ke-pattan- National Wetland
& Wildlife Sanctuary, Amritsar
It is one of the most important lakes in India. The lake turns
into a haven for nearly 350 species of migratory birds the
winter season (November-onwards). A number of colourful and
exotic birds fly in from as far as Siberia. It is also one
of India's leading in-land sweet water fish market and home
of varied wild life. The nearest districts are Harike, Amritsar,
Kapurthala and Ferozepur.
Water Body Wetland, Ropar
Over 250 species of migratory birds fly in here every year.
Its 30 km stretch of crystal clear water in scenic surroundings
makes it a popular spot for angling, kayaking, canoeing, boating
and long distance swimming.
Kanjli Wetland, Kapurtala
At a distance of 5 k.m. from Kapurthala is the rivulet of
Bein, which is surrounded by natural scenery. The Maharaja
of Kapurthala had built a lake after making a barrage on river
Kali Bein. Joined by many rivulets, the beautiful lake is
still there. On the left side of lake lies a green forest
with some wildlife. Also located on the banks of the lake
is the Villa Buona Vista whose design is reminiscent
of French architecture. Today it is inhabited by the present
descendant of Maharaja. The lake is not just the beautiful
home for migratory birds in winters, but as been developed
as a popular picnic spot. You can even go boating in the lake.
The wetland extends in the area of about 50 acres and is a
habitat to about 40-50 bird species and was declared a wetland
of national importance in the year 1992 on account of the
rich biodiversity it supported. Kanjli and Kapurthala are
the nearest districts.
Located at a distance of 20 km from Chandigarh and 55 km from
Patiala is the Zoological Park,
Chhatbir. The park area is spread over 202 Acres of raw scrubland
over River Ghaggar. It houses 52 species of animals including
the royal tiger of Bengal and the Himalayan black bear and
62 species of birds in a simulated natural habitat. Popular
for its Lion Safari, it is the biggest park of its kind in
India. Other interesting places to visit are Deer Park at
Neelon on Ludhiana- Chandigarh
road and the Tiger Safari near Ludhiana is also a great experience.
Prominent Flora and Fauna
A variety of mammals like the Smooth Indian Otter, Hog Deer,
Wild Boar, Flying Fox, Wildcat, Squirrel, Fruitbat, Common
Mongoose can be seen here.
All kind of migratory and exotic birds can be seen here specially
during the winters. The frequent ones are Great Crested Grebe,
White Necked Stork, Adjutant Stork, Glossy Ibis, Pintail,
Gadwall, Eastern Purple Heron, Brahminy, Mallard, Wigeon,
Spotbill Duck, Coot, Tailor Bird, Peafowl, Ruddy Sheduck.
Reptiles & Amphibians
The wetlands are also a home to 7 species of turtle and 4
species of snakes, Frogs, Tortoise, Toads.
The wetland waters are a natural habitat for 16 kind of fishes.
The important ones are Abeo, Catla, Puntius, Cirrhina, Channa,
Mystus, Notopterus, Cyperinus, Ambasis ranga.
Among the flora, there are terrestrial & aquatic plants,
major ones being Dalbergia, Prosopis, Albizzia, Ficus, Azolla,
Hydrilla, Nelumbo, Typha, Phragmites, Zizyphus Mauritiana,
Syzgium cumini, Ipomoea aquatica, Cyprus and Grasses.
Certain rare animals and birds like Indian Skimmer, Yellow-eyed
Pigeon, Rufous-vented Prinia, Scaup Duck, Falcated Teal, Testudine