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Blackbuck National Park, Velavadar
 

Blackbuck National Park at Velavadar is situated in the Bhavnagar District of Gujarat state, India.

Established in 1976 in the Bhal region of Saurashtra, the park is located around 72 km from the district headquarter city of Bhavnagar. Hugging the coasts of the Gulf of Khambhat on the south, it is spread over an area of 34.08 km², which was primarily a "vidi" (grassland) of the Maharaja of the princely state of Bhavnagar. On the northern side, it is surrounded by wastelands and agriculture fields. The National park has been classified as 4B Gujarat-Rajwada biotic province of semi-arid bio-geographical zone.

Flat land, dry grasses and herds of antelopes have always attracted visitors to this park which has a unique grassland ecosystem running a successful conservation program of the Blackbuck, the Wolf and the Lesser Florican (a bustard) among others. Considered to be an exclusive Indian species, the Lesser Floricans, which were free dwellers throughout the country, have their numbers plummeting in the recent decades almost everywhere in India. Today, the largest population has been sustained in this park.

Wildlife

The fauna population of the park mainly includes Blackbucks, Wolves, Houbara bustard and Lesser Floricans, with foxes, jackals and Jungle Cats as the main carnivores species. Other species include wild pigs, hares and rodents, typical of the savannah type grasslands and thorn scrubs.

Among the avifauna family, Sandgrouse and larks are seen in fair numbers. According to Roger Clarke, the British harrier-expert, the harrier roost found at the park is one of the largest in the world.

Tourist information

Though the park is open throughout the year, the period between monsoon and winter (normally, mid-June to March-end) is considered to be the recommended period. The best time to visit Velavadar National Park is from December to March as many species of migratory birds which includes three species of Harriers, Lesser Florican, Eagles, Waders and many other water birds arrive to spend winter.

Bhavnagar airport is connected with the international airports of Mumbai and Ahmedabad with daily flight frequency. The closest railway station is at the town of Dhala, which is about 50 km from the park. The historical town of Vallabhipur is about 30 km away.

The park has a bungalow operated by the Government Forest department where a stay can be arranged by prior booking.

 
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    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackbuck_National_Park,_Velavadar
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