Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary, Darjeeling: Spanning a massive 38-square kilometre area of Darjeeling towards its southeast is the Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary – an extension of the Singhalia National Park of Darjeeling. The Sanctuary is a protected area – a Government Initiative to protect Darjeeling’s ecosystem - the fauna and the flora in it along with the physical components of the environment such as the land and water and therefore is administered by the State Government. The Sanctuary elevations vary from 4900 feet to 8530 feet above sea level.
One of India’s oldest Sanctuaries - Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary comprises both protected as well as wild temperate forests and supports many large mammals. Conservation of the bio-diversity was top priority of the State Government which paved way for Eco-tourism in the area.
The Sanctuary encloses two water catchments (which provide drinking water to the whole of city of Darjeeling); the Tiger Hill (which offers the best views of the Kanchenjunga Mountain); and several villages such as Rampuria and Upper Chattakpur on the periphery of the Sanctuary.
Alpine or high-altitude animals such as the Leopards, Himalayan Black Bears, the barking deers, jungle cats, wild pigs, common rhesus monkey, Assam macaque, Himalayan flying squirrels among others inhabit this Sanctuary in the natural habitat. A wide variety of resident and migratory birds are seen in abundance here.
So rich and diverse is the fauna of this Sanctuary that In partnership with the West Bengal Forest Department, WWF-India initiated a ‘camera trapping’ study in the sanctuary in order to study the distribution patterns of the resident animals which would help analyze their habits and their habitat which in turn would help replicate it in order to breed more animals and prevent extinction of these prized possessions. Another purpose of this initiative that the Government took is to remove human-animal conflict and thereby make the Sanctuary safe for both by sensitizing the locals about the most frequented spots of the Sanctuary.