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Photographer's Note

Mahananda Wild Life Sanctuary : This shot was taken at the entrance of the Mahananda Wild Life Sancuary at the outskirts of Siliguri town in North Bengal under the Darjeeling District.The presence of a large number of wild elephants inside the sanctuary is reflected on the gate of entrance.The wooden log-house is the local tourist centre.The trees that can be seen around the place are mostly teaks and are locally called shagun and are very good for making furniture.

Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, India. It comes under Darjeeling Wildlife division and can be reached from Siliguri in 30 minutes. Sukna, the gateway to the sanctuary, is only 13 km from Siliguri and 28 km from Bagdogra airport. The sanctuary sprawls over 159 km² of reserve forest and was started as a game sanctuary in 1955. In 1959, it got the status of a sanctuary mainly to protect the Indian bison and Royal Bengal Tiger, which were facing the threat of extinction.

The forest type in Mahananda WLS varies from riverain forests like Khayer-Sisoo to dense mixed-wet forest in the higher elevation in 'Latpanchar' area of Kurseong hills. The variation in altitude and forest types helps the existence of a large number of species of mammals, birds and reptiles. The important mammalian species include Royal Bengal Tiger, Indian elephants, Indian bison, chital (spotted deer), barking deer, sambar, Rhesus monkey, many species of lesser cat like fishing cat and jungle cat, Himalayan black bear, leopard including clouded leopard, and many other smaller animals like rare mountain goat (Serow), porcupines, snakes, etc. The sanctuary also holds hundreds of feathered species. The exciting list includes some very endangered species like fairy-bluebird and Himalayan pied hornbill. Among the others swallow, swift, thrush, babbler, warbler, roller, minivet and sunbird can be found in abundance.

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Additional Photos by Farhat Abbas (fabbs99) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2124 W: 2 N: 4155] (17179)
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