TILE REGION around the jalda- Cara Wildlife Sanctuary, in the richly forested Dooars Valley, was once the hunting ground of the kings of Bhutan. Today, it is one of the biggest reserve forests in West Bengal, covering an area of 115 sq km (44 sq miles). Established in 1943, the reserve sprawls over lush, deciduous forests and dense scrubland, with the Torso river flowing through it. ‘Ibis is one of the few places in India where the great Indian one-horned rhinoceroscan be easily spotted. About 50 of these magnificent animals live in the sanctuary, protected from poachers who Lunt them for their horns, which are believed to be powerful aphrodisiacs. The sanctuary is home to various other rare and endangered species as well, including the leopard, tiger, hispid hare, hogbadger, and sloth bear.

Large numbers of hog deer, spotted deer, harking deer and Maur (Indian bison) can also be seen at Jaldapara. Bird species Include the lesser pied hornbill, and the Bengal florican with its mottled and streaked plumage. In addition, there are right species of freshwater hurtles in Jaldapara ponds.

The northern part of the sanctuary, known as lotopara , is located along the banks of the Torsa river. It is home to the ‘Into tribe, now only 950 strong, whose members have consistently refused to succumb to the comforts of civilization.

A delightful way to explore the Jaldapara Sanctuary is to Like an early morning de-phant safari through the park. Them elephants belong to the forest department and spend their entire lives within the confines of the sanctuary. Quite often, the elephants taking visitors on safaris are accompanied by their calves, which gambol along closely beside them. The many waterholes in the sanctuary, where animals come to drink in the evenings, are excellent spots for wildlife sightings. The elegant, colonial-style Hollong Forest Lodge within the sanctuary offers food and accommodation.

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