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Black-buck and endangered others - Tal Chhapar Sanctuary

Amidst the widespread Thar Desert of western India is a small yet key wildlife sanctuary which is known for keeping black bucks in their natural habitat – yeah the same ones who got some of the who’s who behind bars!! Today, I take you on a trip to this beautiful reserve in Churu District of Rajasthan – Tal Chhapar Wild Life Sanctuary.

This wildlife reserve is located around 130 kilometers from Bikaner; the divisional headquarter for Churu District. Tal Chhapar is actually geographically a flat saline depression locally called a “tal”, which makes it a unique ecosystem in midst of a vast desert. This confluence of varied environmental factors makes it an ideal place to provide a natural habitat to a variety of flora and fauna. The entire wildlife sanctuary is developed on over 700 hectares of land.

I had a chance of visiting this protected land twice during the tenure of our stay in Bikaner as our abode. One of them was a family visit during April of 2011 when the summer heat was coming up. The second trip was with my school buddies and best of friends – Banti and Abhas - during January of 2012. Both of the visits had a charm of their own. A visit with family is a welcome break when you are used to staying away from home for most of your time. That bubble in which you get to travel where the family is making all arrangements and all you need to do is walk in the midst of royalty that the arrangements offer. On the other hand a trip with friends offers you the rawness in its true form. You are in you most convenient and natural environment and are ready to take up any challenge riding on the trust you have on your friends. And visiting the same place in both form of company gives you a real idea of how different these experiences can be.

Tal Chappar Sanctuary is primarily famous for hosting the black buck, a protected and endangered species. However, this is not the only animal that resides on this open grassland. The sanctuary alos offers abode to many other wild animals including chinkara, fox, jungle cat, rojra and a number of resident and migratory birds. Harriers are one of the most spectacular migratory birds visiting this sanctuary when they pass through during the month of September Montague's and marsh harrier are more common, while pale harrier and hen harrier are found in lesser numbers.

Along with the varied fauna, the sanctuary also offers a wide variety of flora for those interested. The sanctuary area though mostly covered by grasses, also has trees of Khejri, Salvadora, Ber, Ker and Neem. The sanctuary also has varied breeds of grasses including Sewan, Doob, Dhaman Lampla, Lana and Moth etc. The area gives a lush green look during rainy season but again dries up on impact of the harsh summers that this region witnesses. However the dried grass too acts as a natural cover for deers and other animals living in this sanctuary.

One also gets to observe huge piles of salt being made from the saline depression where the water is allowed to dry in the scorching sun which leaves behind the white-mountains collected on the periphery of the grassland. 

In all the sanctuary offers an awesome glimpse into varied flora and fauna where one gets to see all the endangered animals living in the best possible natural habitat which can be provided in a protected environment. It surely feels good to see that there is some place on earth where these lives could feel secured. The feeling is much more intense for those who are responsible for maintaining the area. Their enthusiasm in the cause and love from the animals provides a hope for all those who would like to have these endangered species protected. Poaching and hunting of these animals is the worst that one can do to the ecological balance and the environment. I can just wish that more of such sanctuaries are developed and provided all the resources required for their maintenance.

What do you feel about the reducing number of various animal and plant species? Do you have ideas on how can they be protected? And what do you think about this article? Let the ball rolling and pour in whatever you are thinking into the comments below and I would try to respond to any queries you drop in there!!

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