Tourism


Raiganj Wildlife Sanctuary (Kulik Bird Sanctuary)

Raiganj Wildlife Sanctuary (Bengali: রায়গঞ্জ বন্যপ্রাণী অভয়ারণ্য Raegônj Bonnoprani Ôbhôearonno) (also popularly known as Kulik Bird Sanctuary) is situated near Raiganj in Uttar Dinajpur district in the Indian state of West Bengal. The bird sanctuary is home to 164 species of birds, and some 70,000 to 80,000 migratory birds visit the sanctuary every year. It is located 4 km (2.5 mi) north from the centre of Raiganj town, the district headquarter. NH 34 runs beside the sanctuary.

Climate

Temperature (degrees Celsius): Summer – max. 38, min. 21; Winter – max. 23, min. 6. Rainfall: 1,550 mm (July to September).

History

The development of the area began in 1970, as part of the social forestry programme of the Government of West Bengal. The department planted tree species like kadam, jarul, sisoo (Dalbergia sisoo) and eucalyptus which were classified as tropical dry deciduous forest. With the Asian openbill and other species of migratory birds flocking to the artificial forest during the hatching season, it was officially designated as the “Raiganj Wildlife Sanctuary” in the year 1985. It is popularly known as Kulik Bird Sanctuary because the river Kulik flows beside the sanctuary.

Sanctuary

It is claimed by some to be the second largest bird sanctuary in Asia.  The area of the sanctuary is around 1.30 km². The core area is about 0.14 km² and the rest is buffer area. The river flows around part of the sanctuary and acts as the boundary in its eastern and southern parts. The shape of the sanctuary is that of the English alphabet “U”. The sanctuary has a network of artificial canals connected with the river Kulik. During monsoon the river water enters the sanctuary, which supports a wide variety of food for the birds, particularly for the Asian openbill, whose main diet is apple snail. The sanctuary is home to 164 species of birds.

Several types of migratory birds arrive here each year from South Asian countries and coastal regions. They start arriving from June. The migratory species includes open-bill storks, egrets, night herons and cormorants.  The resident birds are kites, flycatchers, owls, kingfishers,woodpeckers, drongoes etc.

Birds forms heronry: 1. Asian Openbill Stork 2. Little Egret. 3. Little Cormorant. 4. Night Heron. 5. Pond Heron.

The time of formation of heronry is July to December. Asian open Bill Stork generally started nesting during mid of June, though the migration depends upon the Rain. It is seen that if monsoon starts early the Asian Openbill also comes early. The other Four Spp started nesting during mid of May.

Tourism

The number of tourists visiting the sanctuary has been rising. The district administration has constructed the Raiganj Kulik Park, close to the sanctuary, with the objective of enhancing the beauty of the area. Funds were collected from Border Area Development Project, MP Local Area Development Fund, Tenth Finance, Uttar Banga Unnayan Parshad, Rastriya Samavikash Yojona, National Food For Work and MLA Local Area Development Fund.

During the period from December to February, numerous visitors from different districts of West Bengal and Bihar visit the sanctuary, and a large number of them organise picnics. They not only disturb the birds but also dirty the place. Raiganj social forestry division has decided to construct a picnic spot at Bhattadighi nearby, with water facilities, some shades, toilets, a small park and a foot track.

Nature Interpretation Centre During February, 2011 Nature Interpretation centre is an added feather to Raiganj Wildlife Sanctuary. The important features of the sanctuary is displayed here through models, Charts & photograph.