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Difference between Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park

Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park both are protected natural habitats. They are created to protect the nature and wildlife by conserving the ecosystem. Though, both aim to conserve the natural habitats including a wide range of animals and birds, they are not similar. Let us see how they differ from each other!

Wildlife Sanctuary:

Wildlife Sanctuary is a natural protected habitat created to conserve or protect the wildlife including the rare and endangered species of birds and animals like Black Buck, Indian Wild Ass, and Musk Deer etc. It not only protects animals but also provides favourable living conditions to the birds, animals, insects etc. A wildlife sanctuary can be owned by a government or a organization that aims to protect birds and animal species.

A very limited human activity is allowed in a wildlife sanctuary, the hunting of animals is completely prohibited also the trees cannot be cut down for agriculture or any other purpose. It does not have any clearly marked boundaries to restrict the people from entering into the sanctuary. People can roam inside a wildlife sanctuary related to their research, educational or recreational purposes. The international Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and its World Commission on Protected Areas has defined wildlife sanctuary as its Category IV type of protected areas.

National Park:

National parks are protected natural areas owned and maintained by the national government. They usually have beautiful countryside, wildlife, and cultural heritage. They are created to protect the entire ecosystem, e.g. flora, fauna, landscape etc. A national park is a highly restricted area. It has clearly marked boundaries and human activities are strictly prohibited. The international Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and its World Commission on Protected Areas has defined national park as its Category II type of protected areas.

There are many national parks in the world. The first national park in the world "Yellowstone National Park" was established in 1872 in the United States. Jim Corbett National Park is the first national park of India, located in Uttarakhand, established in 1936. Today, there are more than 160 national parks in India, some of which are as follows:

  • Kanha National Park
  • Ranthombore National Park
  • Sunderban National Park
  • Kaziranga National Park
  • Gir Forest National Park
  • Valmiki National Park
  • Bandipur National Park
  • Blackbuck National Park

Based on the above information, some of the key differences between wildlife sanctuary and national park are as follows:

Wildlife Sanctuary National Park
It is a natural protected habitat which provides protection and favourable living conditions to wildlife including the rare or endangered species of plants, animals, insects etc. It is an area of land protected by the national government to conserve its entire ecosystem like its natural beauty along with the wildlife.
It mainly provides protection to birds, animals, insects, reptiles and other organisms. It protects the entire ecosystem of the land plants, animals, landscapes, historic objects etc.
It is not a highly restricted area, limited human activities are allowed. It is a highly restricted area, human activities are not allowed.
It does not have visible or marked boundaries. It has clearly marked boundaries.
It can be owned by government or a private organization. It is owned by the government only.
It is an IUCN category IV protected area. It is an IUCN category II protected area.
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