Dudhwa National Park
Situated on the Indo-Nepal border in District Lakhimpur-Kheri of Uttar Pradesh, the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve with an area of 614 sq. km. is one of the finest of the few remaining examples of the exceedingly diverse and productive Terai eco-systems.
The grasslands of the Reserve is the habitat of the largest kind of Indian deer - the swamp deer or the 'barasingha', so called because of their magnificent antlers (bara- twelve; singha-antler). Decline in their habitats led to a drastic decline in numbers and a small area named Sonaripur Sanctuary was set aside in 1958 for the conservation of this rare species of deer.
Later, it was upgraded to cover an area of 212 sq. km. and was renamed the Dudwa Sanctuary. In 1977, the area was further extended to include over 614 sq. kms. And was declared a National Park. Eleven years later, in 1988, when Dudhwa became a part of Project Tiger, the area of the Kishanpur Sanctuary was added to create the Dudwa Tiger Reserve. About 1800 barasingha are to be found in the Reserve and majestic herds are especially seen in the grassy wetlands of the Sathiana and Kakmha blocks.
Dudwa has also the ideal kind of terrain for the Indian Rhino. Once found here in large numbers, they had been hunted down and had completely disappeared from this area by 1878. More lately, it was feared that epidemics and disease would wipe out the existing populations of rhino in Assam, West Bengal and Nepal and a decision was taken to distribute some in other suitable areas.
A bird watchers' haven, Dudhwa is noted for its avian variety - about 400 species. Its swamps and several lakes attract varieties of waterfowl. Being close to the Himalayan foothills, Dudhwa also gets its regular winter visitors - the migratory water birds. The Banke Tal is perhaps the most popular spot for bird watchers. There are egrets, cormorants, herons and several species of duck, geese and teal.