North Bengal & its Biodiversity

Northern West Bengal is one important elephant habitat housing nearly 400 resident elephants. The protected and reserve forests in Northern West Bengal are the only habitat housing 90% of the state elephants having link with North East Indian elephant population.

However the zone is interspersed with human settlements, tea gardens, rail and roadways. This region of the state is the habitat of other large mammals like Rhinoceros, Tiger, Gaur and many other smaller vertebrates. There are 16 mammals listed in Red Data Book of IUCN; 18 mammals occurring here are listed in the CITES Appendix. The forests here host 50-60% of species richness of the state. Notified Protected Areas cover 1225 sq. km i.e., 55% of the forests in Northern Bengal.

There is nearly 2200 sq. km of elephant habitat in Northern West Bengal. Eastern Duars Elephant Reserve was constituted in 2002 for better management of elephant population here. The railroad cuts across 1 National Park, 1 Tiger Reserve and 3 sanctuaries of this region. Northern Bengal houses about 1.5% of the total elephant population in India. However each of these elephants is responsible for about 1.15 human casualties (during 1998-2008) probably highest rate anywhere in Asia where elephants exist.

This region contributes to over 20% of the human casualties caused by elephants in the country. Looking at the records, this is the hotspot of human-elephant conflict in india. 
 
© Sangita Mitra/WWF-India
Atlas moth in Buxa
© Sangita Mitra/WWF-India
 
© Sangita Mitra/WWF-India
Rail track cutting across the protected forest.
© Sangita Mitra/WWF-India
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