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Roaring Encounters: Exploring The Big Cats Of Uttar Pradesh

by Nimisha Tewari 05 Sep 2023

Uttar Pradesh, a state in northern India, is not often associated with big cat sightings like some other regions in the country. However, it does have a few places where you can potentially encounter these majestic creatures. Here are some areas to explore if you're interested in the big cats of Uttar Pradesh:

1. Dudhwa National Park:

  • Dudhwa National Park, located in the Lakhimpur-Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh, is known for its diverse wildlife. The park was also declared a tiger reserve in 1987, as the area was found to have a significant population of Bengal tigers. Dudhwa is also home to a significant population of leopards.
  • The park also hosts various other wildlife species, including Indian rhinoceroses, elephants, swamp deer and a wide range of birdlife.

2. Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary:

  • Located near the Indo-Nepal border in Bahraich district, Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary is another place in Uttar Pradesh known for its wildlife diversity.
  • The Katerniaghat Forest provides strategic connectivity between tiger habitats of Dudhwa and Kishanpur in India and the Bardia National Park in Nepal. The sanctuary is also home to numerous bird species and gharials (a type of crocodile), leopards and fishing cats. 

3. Chuka Beach (Katerniaghat):

  • Adjacent to the Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary, Chuka Beach is a unique destination where you can spot gharials basking in the sun along the banks of the Sharda River.

4. Pilibhit Tiger Reserve:

  • Pilibhit Tiger Reserve, located in the Pilibhit district of Uttar Pradesh, is home to a significant population of tigers. It's one of the best places in the state for tiger sightings.
  • Apart from tigers, the reserve is known for leopards, elephants and various species of deer and antelope. 

5. Wildlife Safaris:

  • To increase your chances of spotting big cats in these areas, consider going on wildlife safaris organized by the respective national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.
  • These safaris are usually conducted in open vehicles and provide an opportunity to observe wildlife in their natural habitats.

6. Responsible Wildlife Tourism:

  • When visiting these areas, practice responsible wildlife tourism. Follow park rules and guidelines to ensure your safety and minimize your impact on the environment.
  • Respect the wildlife by maintaining a safe distance and adhering to the instructions of park authorities and guides.

 Big Cat sightings in the wild are never guaranteed, as these animals are elusive and can be challenging to spot. However, visiting these protected areas in Uttar Pradesh and participating in wildlife safaris can offer you a chance to experience the beauty and diversity of India's wildlife, including its big cats.

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