Before we tell you the difference between national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, we would like to gently remind you that neither is here for just entertainment purposes. These protected forest areas hold our precious biodiversity and must be visited with a special sensitivity.
What’s the difference between a national park and a wildlife sanctuary?
Venturing into the wild offers respite from the noise and clutter that urban existence brings with it. Without this break, humans would never be able to experience the solitude which is important to finding peace within ourselves. Taking time out to be in the wild also turns us into humbler beings.
According to the National Wildlife Database (May 2022), India is now home to 106 national parks and 565 wildlife sanctuaries. Another 75 national parks and 218 sanctuaries have been proposed in the Protected Area Network Report.
You must have had your share of thrills at national parks and wildlife sanctuaries but do you know what distinguishes one from the other. We’ll tell you.
What is a wildlife sanctuary?
A wildlife sanctuary is a protected area reserved especially for animals, birds, reptiles, and insects. Wildlife sanctuaries can be owned both publicly and privately. Human activities are allowed inside a wildlife sanctuary. The main aim of a sanctuary is to protect a particular flora or fauna. A wildlife sanctuary has no fixed boundaries. A sanctuary can also be upgraded to a national park. And lastly, a wildlife sanctuary has limited restrictions in terms of its accessibility to the public.
What is a national park?
A national park is a region that is managed exclusively by the government. The main aim of establishing a national park is to preserve biodiversity and wildlife owing to its natural, cultural, and historical importance. National parks are not there to protect a particular specie but act as a habitat for a large variety of birds, animals, insects, reptiles, and others. No human activities are allowed inside a national park. One can’t randomly access a national park. The boundaries of a national park are fixed and defined. And lastly, a national park cannot be downgraded to a sanctuary.
More differences between a national park and a wildlife sanctuary
While a wildlife sanctuary’s objective is to ensure that wildlife and their natural habitats are maintained, a national park aims to preserve the scenic, environmental, and cultural heritage of the region. A wildlife sanctuary aims to educate visitors about the particular animal that it is conserving but a national park educates about the importance of conservation.
This story first appeared on Travel+Leisure India.
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