Mahananda Wild Life Sanctuary
Mahananda Wild Life Sanctuary is situated in the Darjeeling Wild Life 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 sprawls over 159 Sq. Km 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 majestic Royal Bengal Tiger, gigantic elephants, sturdy Indian bison, timid spotted and barking deer, many species of lesser cat, Himalayan black bear, leopard including clouded leopard and many other smaller animals. The Sanctuary also holds hundreds of feathered species. The exciting list includes some very endangered species like fairy blue bird, Himalayan pied hornbill....... etc. Among the others; swallow, swift, thrush, babbler, warbler, roller, minivet, sunbird can be found in abundance.
The sanctuary is an ideal place for wildlife lovers. Several glades, hides and watchtowers have been created near natural saltlicks and streams to invite wild animals. The railway cabin in the abandoned Gulma Station inside the core area of the sanctuary has been converted into a watchtower.
The tower is located besides the Gulma River and is an ideal place for wildlife viewing. There are a number of rest houses in the sanctuary including two in Sukna and arguably the best one in . An exciting jungle safari in the Sanctuary comprising Siliguri- Sukna - Golaghat - Gulma- Laltong - Siliguri organised by naturebeyond can be a real adventurous experience.
Latpanchar: At 4000ft above sea level, Latpanchar is the highest place in Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary. It is 44Kms way from Siliguri and can be reached by a 13 km drive from Kalijhora on the Siliguri - Gangtok national highway. More