Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary

The Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area in the Upper Gangetic plain in Uttar Pradesh, harbors a well‐known breeding gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) population breeding muggers (Crocodylus palustris). The reserve Forest provides connectivity between the tiger habitats of Dudhwa and Kishanpur and the Bardia National Park in Nepal.

The Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary is part of the diverse and fragile moist Terai ecosystem, which comprises sal and teak forests, grasslands, swamps, and wetlands. Home to several endangered species including gharial, tiger, rhino, Gangetic dolphin, swamp deer, Bengal florican, the white-backed and long-billed vultures.

One of the best places in the world for seeing the gharial in its natural habitat is the Girwa River, where it is found sympatric with the mugger.

The Gairwa river has been declared a sanctuary for Mugger, freshwater dolphins, and Gharial river presents a scenic views forest, and the morning motorboats ride gives an enthralling experience.

The Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary is best described in the poem at forest rest house.

The dense sal forests
The intense grasslands
The dancing waves of rivers
Banter the banks of sands.

While tigers-leopards
Roam around the territory
And elephants-rhinos meander
The pythons sashay around the bushes

The Gangetic dolphins hop & jump
In the pristine water of Girwa-Kaudialia
While mahseer glistens in the crystal wave
The gharials muggers laze on sandbars.

Where cuckoo, oriole and jungle fowl
Greet you on a dawn
The sunbirds, doves, kingfishers, and hornbills
Take flight with the sun.

The flutter and flight of avian
Paints myriad colors on the horizon
A plethora to mesmerize-
And plenty to frighten

As the morning mist begins to fade
And the sun pierces the tree shades
The denizens begin to awake
It’s time for cheetals, swampdeer, wild boars forage.

The sunset brings nocturnal to the fore,
The jungle reverberates with frantic calls
Whilst carnivores are on the prowel-
The frightened preys put their breath on hold.

The shrill cries of owlets and nightjars-
Breaks the deep dark stillness of night
The silence speaks, as the trees sway
On moonlit earth and cloudy sky.

The alarm calls of cheetals
Amidst the roar of the king
Is enough to send chill into spine
The closet of resthouse, though makes you feel fine.

This is Katerniaghat to mesmerize,
Like an Island of paradise
If the Island is lost – dear will it cost,
Fragile is its state; let’s join hands to reinstate

– Sanjay Kumar, IAS