In this article, You will know everything about National Parks in India for UPSC (Environment).

Important National Parks in India act as an apt place for preserving animals by providing natural habitat and prey. Anthropogenic activities like developmental activities, industrial activities, forestry, poaching, hunting, and cultivation are not permitted. The boundaries of National Parks are well defined and no private activities are allowed inside the National Park.

National Parks in India

national park has more restrictions as compared to a wildlife sanctuary. Their boundaries are fixed and defined.

Here, no human activity is allowed. They cannot be downgraded to the status of a ‘sanctuary’. National parks can be declared both by the Central Government and State governments.

National parks in India are IUCN category II protected areas. India’s first national park was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park, now known as Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand.

By 1970, India only had five national parks. In 1972, India enacted the Wildlife Protection Act and Project Tiger to safeguard the habitats of conservation-reliant species.

As of June 2021, there were 106 national parks encompassing an area of 40,501.13 km2 (15,637.57 sq mi), under-protected areas of India category II comprising 1.33% of India’s total surface area.

The Chief Wildlife Warden shall be the authority who shall control, manage, and maintain all protected areas.

Declaration of the Protected Area by the State government:

  • Initial notification: The State government may, by notification, declare its intention to constitute any area within or outside any reserve forest as a sanctuary/national park if it considers that such area is of adequate ecological, faunal, floral, geomorphological, natural, or zoological significance, for the purpose of protecting, propagating or developing wildlife or its environment.
  • Final notification: After the initial notification has been issued and the period for preferring claims has elapsed, the State government may issue a notification specifying the limits of the area which can be comprised within the sanctuary and declare the said area shall be a sanctuary/national park from such date as may be specified in the notification.

Declared by the Central government:

  • The Central Government may declare an area to be a sanctuary/national park if it is satisfied that the area is of adequate ecological, faunal, floral, geomorphological, natural, or zoological significance, for the purpose of protecting, propagating or developing wildlife or its environment.
  • Largest National Park of India: Hemis National Park, Ladakh
  • Smallest National Park: South Button Island National Park, Andaman, and Nicobar Island
  • First Marine National Park: Gulf of Kutchh National Park
  • Floating National Park: Keibul Lamjao National Park, Manipur

Protected Areas

In simplest terms, protected areas are regions or zones of land or sea which are given certain levels of protection for conservation of biodiversity and socio-environmental values. In these areas, human intervention and exploitation of resources are limited.

Protected Areas are the principal mechanism of conservation of biodiversity on Earth and serve as the most important units for in-situ biodiversity conservation.

Protected Areas of India (As of June 2021)

 No.Coverage % of Country
National Parks (NPs)1061.33
Wildlife Sanctuaries (WLSs)5663.72
Conservation Reserves (CRs)970.14
Community Reserves2140.04
Protected Areas (PAs)9935.59 %

As of June 2021, there were 993 notified protected areas covering 5.59% of India’s land area. This is far below Target 11 of the Aichi Targets – which states that by 2020, at least 17% of terrestrial and inland water areas should be conserved under Protected Areas.

There are several kinds of protected areas, which vary by level of protection. Examples include national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, marine protected areas, community reserves, etc.

In terms of protection, National Parks > Wildlife Sanctuary > Reserved forests > Protected forests

Different IUCN categories of Protected areas

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), through its World Commission on Protected Areas, has put forward six Protected Area Management Categories. The categories are as follows:

  • Category I aStrict Nature Reserve: Protected areas managed mainly for science and receives the least human intervention. E.g. Urwald Rothwald in Austria
  • Category I b Wilderness Area: Wilderness protection. E.g. wilderness areas in the Sami native region in Finland
  • Category IINational Park: ecosystem protection and recreation
  • Category III Natural Monument or Feature: Conservation of specific natural features. E.g. cliffs, caves, forest groves. E.g. Cono de Arita in Argentina.
  • Category IVHabitat/Species Management Area: Conservation of specific species that require protection.
  • Category V – Protected Landscape/Seascape: Conservation of entire area. It permits the surrounding community to interact. Example: Great Barrier Reef in Australia
  • Category VI – Protected Area with sustainable use of natural resources: Conservation of ecosystem and habitats together with associated cultural values and traditional natural resource management systems.
  • Forests and wildlife are included in the Concurrent List of the Indian Constitution. Therefore, the Union government makes the policies and plans for Wildlife Conservation. On the other hand, the State Forest Departments are the ones implanting those national policies and plans at the state level.
  • National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) puts forward a policy framework for wildlife conservation in India. The Board was constituted under Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. It is chaired by the Prime Minister.
    • National Board for Wildlife:
      • It is a “Statutory Organization” constituted under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
      • Its role is “advisory” in nature and advises the Central Government on framing policies and measures for the conservation of wildlife in the country.
      • The primary function of the Board is to promote the conservation and development of wildlife and forests.
      • It has the power to review all wildlife-related matters and approve projects in and around national parks and sanctuaries.
      • No alternation of boundaries in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries can be done without the approval of the NBWL.
      • Composition: The NBWL is chaired by the Prime Minister. It has 47 members including the Prime Minister. Among these, 19 members are ex-officio members. Other members include three Members of Parliament (two from Lok Sabha and one from Rajya Sabha), five NGOs, and 10 eminent ecologists, conservationists, and environmentalists.
      • National Board for Wildlife may make recommendations on the setting up of and management of national parks, sanctuaries, and other protected areas and on matters relating to restriction of activities in those areas.
      • The State Board for Wildlife shall advise the State government on the selection and management of areas to be declared as protected areas.  
  • Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 (with Amendment Acts of 2003 and 2006)
    • It provides for the protection of plants and animals in India. The aim of the Act is to ensure the ecological and environmental security of India.
    • It is the principal act that contains provisions for setting up and managing national parks, sanctuaries, and other protected areas.

In India, there are four major categories of Protected areas. These protected areas are constituted under the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

The four categories of protected areas are:

  1. Wildlife Sanctuaries
  2. National Parks
  3. Community Reserves
  4. Conservation Reserves

Apart from these protected areas, India also has the following:

  • Biodiversity Reserves
  • Tiger Reserves
  • Elephant Reserves
distiction between national park wildlife sanctuary upsc


  • BR: Biosphere Reserve
  • NP: National Park
  • TR: Tiger Reserve
  • WS: Wildlife Sanctuary
  • BS: Bird Sanctuary
  • PF: Protected Forest
  • RF: Reserve Forest
  • ER: Elephant Reserve
  • RS: Ramsar Site

List of National Parks of India

National Parks in India

A complete list of National Parks in India: State-wise

South Button Island National ParkAndaman and Nicobar Islands
Saddle Peak National ParkAndaman and Nicobar Islands
Rani Jhansi Marine National ParkAndaman and Nicobar Islands
North Button Island National ParkAndaman and Nicobar Islands
Mount Harriet National ParkAndaman and Nicobar Islands
Middle Button Island National ParkAndaman and Nicobar Islands
Mahatma Gandhi Marine National ParkAndaman and Nicobar Islands
Galathea National ParkAndaman and Nicobar Islands
Campbell Bay National ParkAndaman and Nicobar Islands
Sri Venkateswara National ParkAndhra Pradesh
Rajiv Gandhi National Park (Rameswaram)Andhra Pradesh
Papikonda National ParkAndhra Pradesh
Namdapha National ParkArunachal Pradesh
Mouling National ParkArunachal Pradesh
Orang National ParkAssam
Nameri National ParkAssam
Manas National ParkAssam
Kaziranga National ParkAssam
Dibru-Saikhowa National ParkAssam
Dehing Patkai National ParkAssam
Raimona National ParkAssam
Valmiki National ParkBihar
Kanger Ghati National ParkChhattisgarh
Indravati National ParkChhattisgarh
Guru Ghasidas (Sanjay) National ParkChhattisgarh
Mollem National ParkGoa
Vansda National ParkGujarat
Marine National Park, Gulf of KutchGujarat
Gir Forest National ParkGujarat
Blackbuck National Park, VelavadarGujarat
Sultanpur National ParkHaryana
Kalesar National ParkHaryana
Simbalbara National ParkHimachal Pradesh
Pin Valley National ParkHimachal Pradesh
Khirganga National ParkHimachal Pradesh
Inderkilla National ParkHimachal Pradesh
Great Himalayan National ParkHimachal Pradesh
Salim Ali National ParkJammu and Kashmir
Kishtwar National ParkJammu and Kashmir
Dachigam National ParkJammu and Kashmir
Kazinag National ParkJammu and Kashmir
Betla National ParkJharkhand
Nagarhole National ParkKarnataka
Kudremukh National ParkKarnataka
Bannerghatta National ParkKarnataka
Bandipur National ParkKarnataka
Anshi National ParkKarnataka
Silent Valley National ParkKerala
Periyar National ParkKerala
Pambadum Shola National ParkKerala
Mathikettan Shola National ParkKerala
Eravikulam National ParkKerala
Anamudi Shola National ParkKerala
Hemis National ParkLadakh
Van Vihar National ParkMadhya Pradesh
Satpura National ParkMadhya Pradesh
Sanjay National ParkMadhya Pradesh
Pench National ParkMadhya Pradesh
Panna National ParkMadhya Pradesh
Mandla Plant Fossils National ParkMadhya Pradesh
Madhav National ParkMadhya Pradesh
Kuno National ParkMadhya Pradesh
Kanha National ParkMadhya Pradesh
Bandhavgarh National ParkMadhya Pradesh
Tadoba National ParkMaharashtra
Sanjay Gandhi National ParkMaharashtra
Navegaon National ParkMaharashtra
Gugamal National ParkMaharashtra
Chandoli National ParkMaharashtra
Sirohi National ParkManipur
Keibul Lamjao National ParkManipur
Nokrek National ParkMeghalaya
Balphakram National ParkMeghalaya
Phawngpui Blue Mountain National ParkMizoram
Murlen National ParkMizoram
Ntangki National ParkNagaland
Simlipal National ParkOdisha
Bhitarkanika National ParkOdisha
Sariska Tiger ReserveRajasthan
Ranthambore National ParkRajasthan
Mukundra Hills National ParkRajasthan
Keoladeo National ParkRajasthan
Desert National ParkRajasthan
Khangchendzonga National ParkSikkim
Mukurthi National ParkTamil Nadu
Mudumalai National ParkTamil Nadu
Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National ParkTamil Nadu
Gulf of Mannar Marine National ParkTamil Nadu
Guindy National ParkTamil Nadu
Mrugavani National ParkTelangana
Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National ParkTelangana
Kasu Brahmananda Reddy National ParkTelangana
Clouded Leopard National ParkTripura
Bison (Rajbari) National ParkTripura
Dudhwa National ParkUttar Pradesh
Valley of Flowers National ParkUttarakhand
Rajaji National ParkUttarakhand
Nanda Devi National ParkUttarakhand
Jim Corbett National ParkUttarakhand
Govind Pashu Vihar National ParkUttarakhand
Gangotri National ParkUttarakhand
Sundarbans National ParkWest Bengal
Singalila National ParkWest Bengal
Neora Valley National ParkWest Bengal
Jaldapara National ParkWest Bengal
Gorumara National ParkWest Bengal
Buxa Tiger ReserveWest Bengal

Top ten Largest National Parks in India

1Hemis National Park19814400LadhakSnow Leopards
2Desert National Park19813162RajasthanGreat Indian Bustard
3Simlipal National Park19802750OdishaRoyal Bengal Tiger and Asian elephant
4Gangotri National Park19892390UttarakhandGaumukh Glacier
5Namdapha National Park19741985.23Arunachal PradeshFlora and Fauna
6Khangchendzonga National Park19771784SikkimUNESCO World Heritage Site
7Guru Ghasidas (Sanjay) National Park19811440.71ChhattisgarhTiger
8Gir Forest National Park19651412GujaratAsiatic lion
9Sundarbans National Park19841330.12West BengalUNESCO World Heritage Site, Royal Bengal Tiger
10Jim Corbett National Park19361318.5UttarakhandFirst national park of India

National Parks and their famous animals

Animal/BirdPredominant in Sanctuary/ReserveState
Wild AssRann of Kutch Wild Ass SanctuaryGujarat
One horned RhinocerosKaziranga National ParkAssam
ElephantsPeriyar National ParkKerala
Asiatic LionsGir National ParkGujarat
Great Indian BustardGhatigaon Wildlife Sanctuary & Desert National ParkMadhya Pradesh & Rajasthan
Royal Bengal TigerSunderbans National ParkWest Bengal
Olive Ridley TurtleGahirmatha Turtle SanctuaryOrissa
DolphinsVikramshila Gangetic Dolphin SanctuaryBhagalpur, Bihar
VultureRamdevarabetta Vulture SanctuaryKarnataka
BearDaroji Bear SanctuaryHampi, Karnataka
SangaiKeibul Lamjao National ParkLoktak Lake (Bishnupur), Manipur
Barasingha (Swamp deer)Kanha National ParkMadhya Pradesh
Siberian cranesKeoladeo national parkRajasthan (Bharatpur)
Jerdon’s CourserSri Lankamaleswara Wildlife SanctuaryAndhra Pradesh
GharialNational Chambal SanctuaryU.P., Rajasthan, and M.P.
Grizzled Giant SquirrelSrivilliputhur Wildlife SanctuaryVirudhinagar & Madurai, Tamil Nadu
Clouded LeopardClouded Leopard National ParkTripura
Snow LeopardHemis National ParkLadakh
Hoolock GibbonHoollongapar Gibbon SanctuaryAssam
Golden langurChakrashila Wildlife Sanctuary & Raimona National ParkAssam
Hangul (Kashmir Stag)Dachigam SanctuaryJammu and Kashmir
Nilgiri TahrEravikulam National ParkKerala
Red PandaKhangchendzonga National ParkSikkim

Nandankanan Zoological Park

  • Nandankanan, literally meaning The Garden of Heaven, is located near Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
  • Unlike other zoos in the country, Nandankanan is built right inside the forest and set in a completely natural environment.
  • Nandankanan is among the six participating zoos for the conservation breeding of White-backed vulture.

Few Unique Features of the Nandankanan Zoological Park

  • First zoo in the World to breed the White tiger and Melanistic tiger.
    • White Tiger is a rare form of Bengal Tiger with a unique (recessive) gene which gives it a white color. A white tiger is not a sub-species of the tiger. White tigers are born only when two Bengal tigers that possess a recessive gene (gene that affects the coat color) are bred together.
    • Melanistic Tigers are black striped tigers which are born purely due to genetic reasons. Increased development of melanin pigment in the body causes black stripes. Melanistic tigers are rarely found in the world.
  • Only conservation breeding centre of Indian Pangolin in the world.
  • Only zoological park in India to become an institutional member of World Association of Zoos and Aquarium (WAZA).
  • Gharials have bred for the first time in captivity in the world at Nandankanan Zoological Park in 1980.
  • The first zoo in India where endangered Ratel was born in captivity.
  • The second largest heronry for Open Billed Storks in Odisha.
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Mukesh prajapati

Very good content. really very helpful.



subham yadav

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Anup Chanda

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Desert Nation Park isn’t a National Park. It is a centuary located in Jaisalmer and Barmer districts of Rajasthan
State bird of Rajasthan Godawan or the great Indian Busturd and peewana Snake are found here.


First chk ur facts then correct others
Desert National Park is a national park situated in the Indian state of Rajasthan, near the towns of Jaisalmer and Barmer. This is one of the largest national parks, covering an area of 3162 km². The Desert National Park is an excellent example of the ecosystem of the Thar Desert.


great content



Narayan Barman



Nice sir

shivani chaudhary

Thank you for such good content. its very helpful.