Difference Between Wildlife Sanctuary, Biosphere Reserves and National Park

Preservation of biodiversity is a must for the continued functioning of the planet as a whole. Any imbalance on account of human activity will lead to the extinction of species that are necessary for human survival. Thus, wildlife sanctuaries, biosphere reserves, and national parks are designated places for protecting wild plants, animals, and natural habitats.

A wildlife sanctuary is an area of nature owned by the government or a private agency for the protection of particular species of flora or fauna during a part of the year or in its entirety.

A national park is a reserved area of land owned by the government which is protected from industrialization, human exploitation, and pollution.

A biosphere reserve is a term given to an area for the conservation of the resources of the biosphere and the improvement of the relationship between man and the environment.

Difference between Wildlife Sanctuary, Biosphere Reserves and National Parks

This article will further highlight the difference between the three within the context of the IAS Exam

Aspirants can find more Difference Between Articles, by visiting the linked page

The differences between a wildlife sanctuary, biosphere reserve, and a national park are given in the table below:                                       

Differences between Wildlife Sanctuary, Biosphere Reserves and National Parks

Wildlife Sanctuary Biosphere Reserves 

National Parks

It is a natural habitat, owned by the government or private agency, that safeguards a particular species of birds and animals A reserved area of land established by the government to protect the environment as a whole Notified areas that cover a larger area of land which may cover multiple National Parks, Sanctuaries, and reserves as well.
Animals, birds, insects, reptiles, etc Meant to preserve the biodiversity of a specified area Flora, fauna, landscape, historical objects, etc
Restrictions are less and open to visitations by the general public A typical biosphere reserve is divided into the following

  • Core (no human activity is there), 
  • Buffer (limited human activity is permitted), 
  • Manipulation zone (several human activities can occur in this zone).
Highly restricted, random access to the general public is not allowed
Not required Subject to the particular area of the biosphere reserve Permission is required
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has defined  it as a Category IV type of protected areas It is internationally recognized within the framework of UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere (MAB) program and nominated by national governments. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and its World Commission on Protected Areas, has defined it as a Category II type of protected areas

Wildlife Sanctuary, National Parks and Biosphere Reserves are covered in the Environment and Ecology segment of the UPSC Exams. Candidates can refer to the links given below will help candidates in studying this segment better:

Difference Between Wildlife Sanctuary, Biosphere Reserve and National Park – Download PDF Here

FAQ about Wildlife Sanctuary, Biosphere Reserves and National Park

Which is the first national park established in India?

India’s first national park was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park, now known as Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand.

What is the largest and smallest Biosphere reserve in India?

The largest Biosphere reserve in India is the Gulf of Kachchh, Gujarat, and the smallest Biosphere Reserve in India is Dibru-Saikhowa in Assam.

Candidates can find the general pattern of the UPSC Exams by visiting the UPSC Syllabus page. For more articles and exam-related preparation materials, refer to the links given in the table below:

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