Nilgai, Sultanpur Bird sanctuary, India by A S Bishnoi

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NILGAI: BLUE COW

1. Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary is located in Sultanpur village on Gurugram-Jhajjar highway, 50 km from Delhi in India. Over 370(approx) species of birds out of 10,005 species of birds in the world have been sighted at this protected area. Visitors can observe the birds while enjoying wonderful weather of the area filled with pleasing nature's bliss. One can observe the sanctuary on foot, hence it gives peaceful interaction of humans with the sanctuary birds and animals.

2. Every year over a hundred migratory bird species visit here to feed. In winter the sanctuary provides is a panorama of migratory birds such as Sarus crane, greater flamingo, ruff, black-winged stilt, Eurasian teal, common greenshank, northern pintail, yellow wagtail, white wagtail, northern shoveller, rosy pelican, spot-billed pelican, gadwall, wood sandpiper , spotted sandpiper, Eurasian wigeon etc.

3. We both are an Ornithologists, wanted our daughter to learn maximum about the nature and spend time in bird watching ,observing birds and behavioral aspects to impart her knowledge about different perspective of life and also insight of their life style. So we visited the sanctuary very often from our house in Delhi. We visited the sanctuary on weekends and most of the time stayed overnight in forest guest house in the sanctuary. Apart from Migratory birds, we were fortunate to spot few Nilgai.

4. The Nilgai is indigenous to the Indian subcontinent, and Hindus accord it the same sacred status as cattle (both belong to the subfamily Bovinae). Accordingly, the Nilgai is the only one of the four Indian antelopes that is still abundant.

5. Though not listed by CITES or USFWS, nilgai still suffer from habitat loss and poaching. Forests buffering residential areas are on the decline and the animal is losing its original habitat. However, poaching is the major reason for decline, because of the Nilgai's preference for agricultural crops. Nilgai are also prey for tigers.

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