Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Buxa Tiger Reserve

Buxa Tiger Reserve UPSC

Buxa Tiger Reserve is a well-known wildlife sanctuary and national park located in the Buxa Hills of West Bengal, India. The reserve covers an area of approximately 760 square kilometers (293 square miles) and is recognized as a critical tiger habitat.

The Buxa Tiger Reserve is known for its rich biodiversity and unique ecosystem. It is home to various species of flora and fauna. Buxa tiger reserve represents the highly endemic Indo-Malayan region. It is also serves as an international corridor for Asian elephant migration between India and Bhutan.

Apart from its diverse wildlife, Buxa Tiger Reserve also has significant historical and cultural importance. It houses the ruins of the historic Buxa Fort, which was once used as a detention camp during the Indian independence movement. The fort offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and is a popular tourist attraction.

Table of Contents

  • Buxa Tiger Reserve Location
  • Buxa Tiger Reserve History
  • Buxa Tiger Reserve Area
  • Tiger Corridor
  • International Elephant Corridor
  • Buxa Tiger Reserve Hills
    • Buxa Hills
    • Sinchula Hill Range
  • Buxa Tiger Reserve River
  • Buxa Tiger Reserve Tribe
    • Dukpa Tribe
  • Buxa Tiger Reserve Dolomite Mining
  • Buxa Tiger Reserve Flora
  • Buxa Tiger Reserve Fauna
    • Mammals
    • Birds
    • Reptile
  • Top Things to do in Buxa Tiger Reserve
  • Rajabhatkhawa Vulture Breeding Center
  • Buxa Fort
  • Buxa Tiger Reserve UPSC Questions

Buxa Tiger Reserve Location

Buxa Tiger Reserve is situated in the Alipurduar Sub-division of Jalpaiguri District, in the state of West Bengal, India. It is situated near the borders of Bhutan and Assam. It lies in the Gangetic Plains with the Himalayas bordering it. The “Terai Ecosystem” constitutes a part of the Buxa Tiger Reserve.

The northern boundary of Buxa Tiger Reserve runs along the international border with Bhutan. The Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary of Bhutan is contiguous to the north of Buxa Tiger Reserve.

The reserve is approximately 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) away from the town of Alipurduar and about 186 kilometers (115.6 miles) from the city of Siliguri.

Buxa Tiger Reserve Nearest Airport:

The nearest airport to Buxa Tiger Reserve is Bagdogra Airport, located in Siliguri, West Bengal. It is the primary airport serving the region and is well-connected to major cities in India. From Bagdogra Airport, Buxa Tiger Reserve can be reached by road, and the distance is approximately 190 kilometers (118 miles).

Buxa Tiger Reserve Nearest Railway Station:

As for the nearest railway station, Alipurduar Junction Railway Station is the closest one to Buxa Tiger Reserve. It is located in Alipurduar town, which is about 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) away from the reserve. Alipurduar Junction is a major railway station in the region and is well-connected to various cities across India.

Buxa Tiger Reserve History

The history of Buxa Tiger Reserve is intertwined with its rich natural and cultural heritage. Here's an overview of its historical significance:

Ancient History: The region surrounding Buxa Tiger Reserve has a history dating back to ancient times. It was part of the ancient kingdoms of Kamrupa and Koch Bihar, which were prominent in the region.

British Era: During the British colonial period, the Buxa region was recognized for its strategic importance. The Buxa Fort, situated within the reserve, was used by the British in the late 18th century to serve as a detention camp for political prisoners. It was used to imprison freedom fighters and activists during the Indian independence movement.

Post-Independence: After India gained independence in 1947, the Buxa Fort was converted into a high-security prison to detain anti-state elements and insurgents from various regions, including during the period of the Naxalite movement. It was decommissioned as a prison in 1978.

Establishment of Buxa Tiger Reserve: In 1983, Buxa Tiger Reserve was established to emphasize its importance as a tiger habitat. It is the 15th tiger reserve of India.

National Park Status: In 1992, recognizing the area's ecological significance and the need for conservation, Buxa Tiger Reserve was declared as a National Park

Tiger Augmentation Programme: The Buxa Tiger Reserve has been identified for the Tiger Augmentation Programme by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). The tigers from the forest reserves of Assam, which have a similar flora and fauna, will be introduced in Buxa.

Buxa Tiger Reserve Area

The Buxa Tiger Reserve encompasses a total area of 760.87 square kilometers (293.92 square miles). This includes the following divisions:

Core/Critical Tiger Habitat: The core or critical tiger habitat within the Buxa Tiger Reserve covers an area of 390.58 square kilometers (150.85 square miles). This portion of the reserve is of utmost importance for the conservation and protection of the Royal Bengal Tiger.

Buffer Zone: The buffer zone surrounding the core tiger habitat occupies an area of 370.29 square kilometers (142.92 square miles). The buffer zone is designed to provide additional protection and support to the core habitat, ensuring a more sustainable environment for wildlife.

Combined, the core and buffer zones make up the entire Buxa Tiger Reserve, forming a significant area dedicated to wildlife conservation, biodiversity preservation, and the protection of endangered species, including the Royal Bengal Tiger.

  • Core/Critical Tiger Habitat : 390.58 sq km
  • Buffer : 370.29 sq km
  • Total : 760.87 sq km

Tiger Corridor

The Buxa Tiger Reserve has corridor connectivity across the border with the forests of Bhutan in the North, on the East it has linkages with the Kochugaon forests, Manas Tiger Reserve and on the West with the Jaldapara National Park. The following corridor links are important:

(1) Buxa-Titi (via Torsa): This corridor connects the Rangamati Reserve Forest area of Buxa Tiger Reserve with Titi Reserve Forest. It provides a link for wildlife movement between these two forest areas.

(2) Buxa-Titi (via Beech and Bharnabari Tea estate): This corridor connects the Bharnabari Reserve Forest of Buxa Tiger Reserve with Titi Reserve Forest located south of Dalsingpara tea estate. It passes through the Bharnabari tea estate and Beech tea estate, facilitating wildlife movement.

(3) Nimati-Chilapata (Buxa-Chilapata): This corridor facilitates elephant movement between the Nimati Range of Buxa Tiger Reserve and Chilapata Reserve Forest. It helps maintain connectivity between Buxa Tiger Reserve and Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary in West Bengal.

(4) Buxa-Ripu at Sankosh (Sankosh): This corridor is a contiguous forest that connects Buxa Tiger Reserve in West Bengal with the Ripu Reserve Forest of Kachugaon Forest Division in Assam. It allows wildlife, including tigers, to move between these two regions.

These corridors play a crucial role in maintaining ecological balance, gene flow, and overall biodiversity conservation by enabling the movement of wildlife across different habitats. They contribute to the larger conservation efforts in the region and support the long-term survival of various species, including tigers and elephants.

International Elephant Corridor

Buxa Tiger Reserve serves as an important international elephant corridor, facilitating the migration of Asian elephants between India and Bhutan. The reserve's location near the border of Bhutan allows elephants to move across the international boundary, maintaining their natural migratory routes.

Elephants require large home ranges to find sufficient food and water resources, and the availability of suitable habitat on both sides of the border is crucial for their long-term survival. The international elephant corridor in Buxa Tiger Reserve ensures that elephants can freely traverse between the forests of India and Bhutan, promoting genetic diversity and healthy populations of elephants in the region.

The protection and conservation of the international elephant corridor are essential for maintaining the ecological balance and the overall well-being of the Asian elephant populations in the area. Efforts are made to ensure the preservation and sustainability of this corridor through collaboration and coordination between India and Bhutan's wildlife authorities.

Buxa Tiger Reserve Hills

(1) Buxa Hills:

Buxa Tiger Reserve is located in the Buxa Hills of West Bengal, India. These hills form a significant part of the reserve's topography and contribute to its scenic beauty

The Buxa Hills are situated in the Alipurduar district of West Bengal, near the borders of Bhutan and Assam. They are part of the Eastern Himalayas and lie within the lower Himalayan foothills.

The hills in the Buxa region vary in elevation, with the highest peak being Buxa Duar, also known as Buxa Hill, which reaches an elevation of approximately 1,741 meters (5,712 feet) above sea level. The varying elevations contribute to the diversity of habitats and microclimates within the reserve.

The Buxa Hills provide a natural habitat for a wide range of flora and fauna, including tigers, elephants, leopards, and numerous bird species. The hilly terrain, combined with the rich biodiversity, make the Buxa Tiger Reserve a captivating destination for wildlife and nature lovers.

(2) Sinchula Hill Range:

The Sinchula hill range lies all along the northern side of Buxa National Park and the Eastern boundary touches that of the Assam State.

The Sinchula Hill Range's proximity to Buxa National Park further highlights the diverse topography and landscape surrounding the reserve. It's likely that this range contributes to the overall scenic beauty, ecological importance, and wildlife habitat in the region.

Buxa Tiger Reserve River

The Buxa Tiger Reserve is known for its rich water resources, with rivers, streams, and water bodies playing a vital role in sustaining the diverse ecosystem. Some of the rivers and streams that flow through reserve include:

(1) Sankosh River:

The Sankosh River is one of the major rivers that flows through Buxa Tiger Reserve. It originates in Bhutan and forms the international boundary between India and Bhutan for a significant stretch. The river eventually joins the Brahmaputra River in Assam.

(2) Raidak River:

The Raidak River, also known as the Wang Chhu in Bhutan, is another significant river that flows through Buxa Tiger Reserve. It originates in Bhutan and enters India near the Bhutan-India border. The Raidak River is a tributary of the Brahmaputra River.

(3) Jayanti River:

The Jayanti River, also known as the Jaldhaka River, flows through Buxa Tiger Reserve. The Jayanti River, also known as the “Queen of Buxa,”. It originates in Bhutan and forms a natural border between India and Bhutan. The river passes through the picturesque Jayanti Valley within the reserve, adding to its scenic beauty. 

(4) Churnia River:

The Churnia River is a small river that flows through Buxa Tiger Reserve. It contributes to the overall hydrological network within the reserve.

(5) Turturi River:

The Turturi River is another small river that flows through Buxa Tiger Reserve. It adds to the water resources and biodiversity of the reserve.

(6) Phashkhawa River:

The Phashkhawa River is a tributary of the Sankosh River. It flows through Buxa Tiger Reserve, enhancing the water network and ecological value of the reserve.

(7) Dima River:

The Dima River is a minor river that flows through Buxa Tiger Reserve, contributing to the overall river system and ecosystem within the reserve.

(8) Nonani River:

The Nonani River is another small river that flows through Buxa Tiger Reserve. It enriches the water resources and natural environment of the reserve.

Buxa Tiger Reserve Tribe

What tribes are in the Buxa Tiger Reserve?

There are many ethnic tribes and races in and around the Buxa Tiger Reserve. One of the most ancient groups is the Dukpa. 

Dukpa Tribe:

The Dukpa tribe, considered one of the most ancient groups in the region, has a significant presence in the Buxa area. The name "Dukpa" is derived from "Drukpa," which means "the land of thunderstorms." They are believed to be the original inhabitants of the area.

The Dukpa tribe is further divided into various sects or subgroups, each with its own distinct customs, traditions, and social structures. Originally, the Dukpa people practiced Buddhism, which reflects the influence of Tibetan Buddhism in the region. However, over time, some members of the Dukpa tribe have converted to Christianity.

The Dukpa tribe's cultural heritage, ancient traditions, and connection with the local landscape contribute to the cultural diversity of the Buxa Tiger Reserve and its surrounding areas. Their traditional knowledge of the land, forests, and wildlife is valuable for conservation efforts and preserving the region's cultural identity.

Buxa Tiger Reserve Dolomite Mining

Which mining is famous in Buxa Tiger Reserve?

Buxa was famous for dolomite mining in the north Bengal region. Dolomite is a mineral composed of calcium magnesium carbonate and is commonly used in various industries.

Buxa Tiger Reserve is seriously threatened by the mining of dolomite. It is important to note that mining activities can have significant environmental impacts, including habitat destruction, soil erosion, water pollution, and disturbance to wildlife populations.

To mitigate these negative effects, various environmental regulations and conservation measures have been implemented to regulate mining activities and ensure the protection of sensitive areas in the vicinity of Buxa Tiger Reserve.

Buxa Tiger Reserve Flora

The Buxa Tiger Reserve is known for its rich and diverse flora, which contributes to the ecological significance and beauty of the reserve. The region encompasses a wide range of vegetation types, including tropical evergreen forests, moist deciduous forests, and subtropical forests. 

Here are some of the prominent flora species found in Buxa Tiger Reserve:

Sal Tree (Shorea robusta): Sal trees are dominant in the moist deciduous forests of Buxa Tiger Reserve. They provide a canopy cover and support a variety of other plant species and wildlife.

Bamboo: Various species of bamboo, such as Dendrocalamus strictus and Bambusa tulda, are found in the reserve. Bamboo groves provide important habitats for several animal species.

Teak (Tectona grandis): Teak trees are found in certain parts of the reserve, particularly in areas with better soil conditions. They are highly valued for their durable timber.

Simul Tree (Bombax ceiba): Simul trees, also known as silk cotton trees, are tall and majestic with large red flowers. They are important for their ecological and cultural significance.

Kusum Tree (Schleichera oleosa): Kusum trees are common in the dry deciduous forests of the reserve. They bear small, greenish-yellow fruits and provide shade for wildlife.

Mahua Tree (Madhuca longifolia): Mahua trees are important for both their timber and their edible flowers, which are used for making traditional food and beverages.

Orchids: Buxa Tiger Reserve is home to a variety of orchid species, adding to its floral diversity. Orchids are known for their exquisite beauty and unique adaptations.

Medicinal Plants: The reserve is also rich in medicinal plants, which have been traditionally used by local communities for various purposes, including healthcare and traditional medicine practices.

Buxa Tiger Reserve Fauna (Buxa Tiger Reserve Animals)

Which animal is famous in Buxa Tiger Reserve?

Buxa Tiger Reserve is known for its diverse and rich fauna, with a wide variety of animal species found within its boundaries. The reserve provides a suitable habitat for several mammals, birds, reptiles, and other wildlife. 

Here are some of the prominent fauna species found in Buxa Tiger Reserve:


  • Tiger
  • Leopard 
  • Clouded Leopard
  • Hog Badger 
  • Jungle Cat 
  • Leopard Cat 
  • Sloth Bear 
  • Fishing Cat 
  • Civet Cat 
  • Hyaena 
  • Jackal 
  • Mongoose
  • Indian fox 
  • Wild dog 
  • Marbled Cat 
  • Golden Cat
  • Elephant
  • Gaur
  • Sambar
  • Spotted Deer
  • Barking Deer
  • Hog Deer
  • Wild Pig
  • Porcupine
  • Rhesus Macaque
  • Common Pangolin 
  • Chinese Pangolin


  • Hill Myna
  • Crested Serpent Eagle
  • Black Francolin
  • Horned Bills 
  • Water Fowl
  • Rufous-necked Hornbill
  • Great Indian Hornbill
  • Oriental Pied Hornbill
  • Wreathed Hornbill
  • Grey Peacock Pheasant
  • Red Junglefowl
  • White-crested Laughingthrush
  • Spotted Laughingthrush
  • Himalayan Cutia
  • Rufous-throated Partridge
  • Mountain Hawk Eagle
  • Black Eagle
  • Crested Serpent Eagle
  • Oriental Honey Buzzard
  • White-throated Kingfisher
  • Common Kingfisher


  • King Cobra
  • Russel’s Viper
  • Black Krait
  • Indian Python
  • Reticulated Python

Top Things to do in Buxa Tiger Reserve

Visiting Buxa Tiger Reserve offers numerous opportunities to explore the natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Here are some of the top things to do in Buxa Tiger Reserve:

  • Wildlife Safari
  • Trekking
  • Birdwatching
  • Nature Walks
  • Visit Rajabhatkhawa
  • Explore Mahakal Cave
  • Visit Rajabhatkhawa Vulture Breeding Center
  • Tribal Village Visits
  • Photography
  • Conservation Activities
  • Visit Buxa Fort

Rajabhatkhawa Vulture Breeding Center

The Rajabhatkhawa Vulture Breeding Center, located in the vicinity of Buxa Tiger Reserve, was established with the aim of breeding and conserving the endangered Indian vultures. It is the second vulture breeding center in India and has been instrumental in the conservation efforts for these critically endangered birds.

The establishment of the Rajabhatkhawa Vulture Breeding Center was made possible through collaboration between the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), a British charity dedicated to bird conservation.

The center plays a crucial role in the captive breeding and reintroduction programs for vultures. These efforts are important because vulture populations in India have suffered significant declines in recent decades due to various factors, including habitat loss, poisoning from veterinary drugs, and changes in the availability of carrion, their primary food source.

At the breeding center, measures are taken to create a suitable environment for the vultures to breed and raise their chicks. Conservationists and experts monitor the vultures' reproductive behaviors, provide necessary veterinary care, and conduct research to better understand the vultures' biology and breeding patterns.

The efforts of the Rajabhatkhawa Vulture Breeding Center are vital for the long-term survival and recovery of Indian vulture populations. By breeding and reintroducing vultures into the wild, the center aims to restore their numbers and restore the ecological balance they play in the environment.

The collaboration between the Bombay Natural History Society and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds demonstrates the international cooperation and joint efforts required to conserve endangered species like vultures.

Buxa Fort in Buxa Tiger Reserve

The Buxa Fort, situated within the Buxa Tiger Reserve, has significant historical importance related to India's struggle for independence from British rule. The fort has witnessed several events and served various purposes throughout its history.

The Buxa Fort was originally captured by the British-Indian forces in 1865 after the Bhutan War between the British Empire and Bhutan. It served as a strategic military outpost for the British in the region.

During the Indian freedom movement, the fort was used as a detention camp by the British colonial administration. Many Indian freedom fighters, including prominent leaders and activists, were imprisoned at the Buxa Fort. The fort's remote location and difficult terrain made it an ideal place for the British to confine and isolate these individuals.

The detainees at Buxa Fort included political activists, revolutionaries, and members of various independence movements across India. Some notable figures who were imprisoned at Buxa Fort include Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, the prominent freedom fighter and nationalist leader.

The conditions at the detention camp were harsh, and the prisoners faced significant hardships. However, despite the challenges, they continued to inspire and contribute to the freedom struggle through their writings, discussions, and acts of resistance within the confines of the fort.

Today, the Buxa Fort stands as a historical landmark and a reminder of the sacrifices made by those who fought for India's independence. The fort's association with the freedom movement adds to its cultural and historical significance, attracting visitors interested in learning about this important chapter in India's history.

Buxa Tiger Reserve UPSC Questions

Q. Where is Buxa Tiger Reserve located?/Buxa Tiger Reserve in which district?

A. Buxa Tiger Reserve is situated in the Alipurduar Sub-division of Jalpaiguri District, in the state of West Bengal, India.

Q. Which river flows through the Buxa Tiger Reserve?

A. Sankosh, Raidak, Jayanti, Churnia, Turturi, Phashkhawa, Dima and Nonani river flows through the Buxa Tiger Reserve.

Q. How many tigers are there in Buxa Tiger Reserve?

A. Buxa tiger reserve has no tiger.

Q. What is the Buxa Tiger Reserve famous for?

A. Buxa Tiger Reserve is famous for several reasons:

  • Royal Bengal Tigers
  • Biodiversity
  • Cultural and Historical Significance
  • Trekking and Nature Trails
  • Avian Paradise
  • Tribal Culture
  • Conservation Efforts

Q. Why is the Buxa Tiger Reserve in West Bengal threatened?

A. The Buxa Tiger Reserve in West Bengal faces several threats that pose challenges to its conservation efforts. Some of the main reasons why the reserve is threatened are:

(1) Habitat Loss and Fragmentation: One of the significant threats to the Buxa Tiger Reserve is habitat loss and fragmentation. The expansion of human settlements, agriculture, infrastructure development, and industrial activities have resulted in the encroachment and degradation of forested areas within and around the reserve. This loss and fragmentation of habitat can disrupt wildlife populations and lead to a decline in biodiversity.

(2) Poaching and Illegal Wildlife Trade: Poaching of wildlife, including tigers and other endangered species, remains a persistent threat in the region. Poachers target animals for their body parts, which are in demand in illegal wildlife trade markets. The illegal trade in wildlife poses a serious challenge to the conservation efforts in Buxa Tiger Reserve.

(3) Human-Wildlife Conflict: The proximity of human settlements to the reserve can lead to conflicts between wildlife and local communities. Incidents of crop depredation, livestock predation, and human injuries or fatalities due to encounters with wildlife can create negative attitudes towards conservation and pose challenges for coexistence.

(4) Infrastructural Development: The development of infrastructure projects, such as roads, railways, and dams, can have adverse impacts on the reserve. These projects can fragment habitats, disrupt wildlife corridors, and increase human activities in the area, leading to habitat degradation and disturbance to wildlife populations.

(5) Forest Fires: Forest fires, whether natural or human-induced, pose a threat to the Buxa Tiger Reserve. Fires can destroy vegetation, disrupt ecosystems, and threaten the survival of wildlife species. Climate change can exacerbate the risk and intensity of forest fires in the region.

(6) Mining and Extractive Industries: Mining activities, including dolomite mining as previously mentioned, can have detrimental effects on the biodiversity and ecosystem of the reserve. Mining operations can lead to habitat destruction, soil erosion, water pollution, and disturbance to wildlife populations.

(7) Lack of Awareness and Conservation Efforts: Limited awareness about the importance of biodiversity conservation and inadequate resources for conservation efforts can hinder effective management and protection of the Buxa Tiger Reserve. Strengthening awareness campaigns, community engagement, and allocating sufficient resources for conservation initiatives are crucial for addressing these challenges.

Addressing these threats requires a collaborative approach involving government authorities, local communities, conservation organizations, and other stakeholders. Implementing strict anti-poaching measures, promoting sustainable livelihood options for local communities, ensuring habitat connectivity, and strengthening law enforcement are key steps towards protecting the Buxa Tiger Reserve and its unique biodiversity.

Buxa Tiger Reserve

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