Protected area network in India

India is home to world’s largest wild tigers population and has got unique assemblage of globally important endangered species like Asiatic lion, Asian Elephant, Onehorned Rhinoceros, Gangetic River Dolphin, Snow Leopard, Kashmir Stag, Dugong, Gharial, Great Indian Bustard, Lion Tailed Macaque etc. A network of 662 Protected Areas (PAs) has been established, extending over 1,58,508 sq. kms. (4.83% of total geographic area), comprising 100 National Parks, 514 Wildlife Sanctuaries, 44 Conservation Reserves and 4 Community Reserves. 39 Tiger Reserves and 28 Elephant Reserves have been designated for species specific management of tiger and elephant habitats. UNESCO has designated 5 Protected Areas as World Heritage Sites. As the ecosystems and species do not recognise political borders,the concept of Trans-boundary Protected Areas has been initiated for coordinated conservation of ecological units and corridors with bilateral and/or multilateral cooperation of the neighbouring nations. There are 4 categories of the Protected Areas viz, National Parks, Sanctuaries, Conservation Reserves and Community Reserves.

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