Protected Areas in News: Rajaji National Park


  • Recently, a clash took place between Van Gujjars and the Uttarakhand forest officials in the Rajaji National Park.

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About Van Gujjars:

  • forest-dwelling nomadic communities in the country.
  • migrate to the bugyals (grasslands) located in the upper Himalayas with their buffaloes and return only at the end of monsoons to their makeshift huts, deras, in the foothills.
  • Inhabit the foothills of Himalayan states like Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand.
  • traditionally practice buffalo husbandry; a family owns up to 25 heads of buffaloes.
  • They rely on buffaloes for milk, which gets them a good price in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh markets.

About the Park

  • located at Haridwar (Uttarakhand), along the foothills of the Shivalik range, spans 820 square kilometres.
  • Three sanctuaries in the Uttarakhand i.e. Rajaji, Motichur and Chila were amalgamated into a large protected area and named Rajaji National Park in the year 1983 after the famous freedom fighter C. Rajgopalachari; popularly known as “Rajaji”.
  • North Western Limit of habitat of Asian elephants.
  • Forest types include sal forests, riverine forests, broad–leaved mixed forests, scrubland and grassy.
  • It possesses as many as 23 species of mammals and 315 bird species such as elephants, tigers, leopards, deers and ghorals, etc.
  • It was declared a Tiger Reserve in 2015.
  • It is home to the Van Gujjars in the winters.

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