Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary
The Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary is located 12 kms away from The Riverwood Forest Retreat-Dooars. The forest is spread across 9.6 sq.km and has the magnificent Kanchenjunga mountain range and the Himalayas as its backdrop. The Sanctuary derives its name from the word ‘Chapra‘ which stands for a variety of small fishes found in West Bengal, and ‘Mari‘ which means ‘in abundance’.
In 1895, the area was declared as a National Reserve Forest under the Indian Forest Act. It came to be the Chapramari Wildlife Reserve in 1939 and was given the status of a National Wildlife Sanctuary by the Government of India in 1998.
The Sal, Teak, Shishu, Siris (Rain Tree), etc. are commonly found in the Chapramari forest. It also houses different types of orchids like Acampo, Gastrochilus, Oberonia, Dendrobium, Eria, Chiloschista, Cymbidium, Luisia and Bulbophyllum.
The sanctuary is home to herds of Elephants and the Indian Bison commonly known as Gaur. Other animals like Chital (Spotted Deer), Sambar, Barking deer and Wild Boars can also be found here. It is one of the few places where the Pangolin proliferates successfully. A salt reservoir near the sanctuary’s watchtower is frequented by the majestic Elephants and the Gaur.
It is one of the best places to encounter and photograph birds like the Green Magpie, Scarlet Minivet, Hill Myna, Indian Treepie and White-breasted Kingfisher.
Best time to visit
The Sanctuary remains closed during the monsoon season (June to mid-September). The ideal months to visit Chapramari are the months of March, April, October and November as elephants herds are spotted frequently. Visitors are allowed entry till the end of the month of May.