Located in northeastern West Bengal, India, the Buxa Tiger Reserve is a tiger reserve in the Gangetic Plains with the Himalayas bordering it. The Buxa National Park is situated in the Alipurduar district and borders Bhutan and Assam. It was established in 1983 and is the 15th tiger reserve in the country.
Before gaining its popularity as a National Park, this dense forest of Buxa was famous for dolomite mining in the north Bengal region. The sprawling Buxa Fort located in the region was associated with India’s struggle for independence, and hence people are highly sentimentally attached to it. This famous tourist spot derived its name from this very fort situated in a dense forest.
In this article, discussed are the various aspects of Buxa Tiger Reserve important from the UPSC and other government exam perspectives. For information about Tiger conservation in India, candidates can visit the linked article.
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Flora of the Buxa Tiger Reserve
Buxa National Park is a heaven for all botany enthusiasts. It has a rare collection of 150 species of orchids and a plethora of medicinal plants. There are 450 species of trees, 400 species of herbs, 250 species of shrubs, nine species of cane, ten species of bamboo, 130 species of aquatic flora comprising almost 70 species of sedges. The forest changes its type as one moves from one region to the other. There are northern dry deciduous patches, moist sal savannahs, northern tropical evergreen forests in the entire forest area.
Fauna of the Buxa Tiger Reserve
The mammal diversity of the Buxa Tiger Reserve is second highest in the county among all the tiger reserves. Apart from the famous Bengal Tiger, approximately 72 mammal species like the Indian leopard, Bengal tiger, one-horned rhino, deer clouded leopard, chital, wild squirrel, etc., are found in this region. There is a variety of 65 fishes, 41 reptiles, and four amphibian species.
Approximately 284 avian species are found in Buxa. These birds include Malayan night heron, Eurasian Griffon, velvet-fronted nuthatch, Oriental pied hornbill, etc.
The tiger reserve is home to several endangered species like the Bengal florican, hispid hare, Chinese pangolin, leopard cat, etc. With the considerable assistance of the Bombay Natural History Society and the British charity Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the Rajabhatkhawa Vulture Breeding Centre at Buxa Tiger Reserve was built. This was the second such centre for breeding and protecting endangered Indian vultures. It builds on the success of the first such centre, the Jatayu Conservation Breeding Centre in Pinjore.
To get more details about the National Animal of India, candidates can visit the linked article.
Ethnic Groups of the Tiger Reserve
There are many ethnic tribes and races in and around the Buxa Tiger Reserve. One of the most ancient groups is the Dukpa. The term Dukpa is derived from ‘Drukpa,’ meaning the land of thunderstorms. These people are the ancient inhabitants of the Buxa Tiger Reserve. These people are further divided into a number of sects. They were originally Buddhists, but later, many converted to Christianity.
Places of Importance inside the Buxa Tiger Reserve
The dense forest area is dotted with a number of historical places of which Buxa Fort deserves a special mention. This ancient fort is situated at an altitude of 867 meters on the Eastern Himalayas. It is a place of national heritage. Britishers had detained a number of freedom fighters in this fort, including Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. The oldest fort in Eastern India, the Buxa Fort, was an object of discussion between the King of Bhutan and Koch Kings since it guarded the Silk Route.
Jayanti is a calm and surreal place in the Buxa Tiger away from the hustle-bustle of city life. The place is located along the Jayanti River, which forms a natural border of the Bhutan Hills. The river is mostly dry; however, the shores of the river, scattered with white pebbles, add to the scenic beauty of the place.
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Frequently Asked Questions on Buxa Tiger Reserve
Where is Buxa Tiger Reserve- in which district?
The Buxa Tiger Reserve is situated in the Alipurduar subdivision of the Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal. This is a northeastern district of the state and is home to dense forests. This forested area is also known as Dooars, meaning “doorway,” as it serves as the gateway to the hills of North Bengal and Bhutan.
Why did tigers disappear from Buxa Tiger Reserve?
Tigers had disappeared from BTR due to the scarcity of prey. Also, their natural habitat was encroached upon by humans. Villages came up due to increased tea plantations surrounding the area, forcing the carnivore to leave.
When did tigers make a comeback?
Tigers were brought back to BTR in 2017 by the joint initiative of the West Bengal Forest Department (WBFD), Wildlife Institute India (WII), and National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).