The Keoladeo National Park (KNP) in Bharatpur has recorded the highest revenue ever in 2016-17. For the first time, revenue crossed the ₹2 crore mark as the bird sanctuary received around 147,000 tourists, said park officials.
In 2013-14, the national park had recorded revenue worth ₹1.4 crore when 148,000 tourists had come to the park.
“Migratory birds have come to the sanctuary in large numbers as this year there were ample rains and water released from the Panchana dam in Karauli fulfilled the park’s water needs,” said KNP director Biju Joy.
In 2016-17, 146,058 tourists were registered offline — among which 38,177 were students, 83,414 were Indian tourists and 24,467 were foreign tourists. Around 1,192 tourists made online registration and 242 among them were Indians and the remaining were foreigners.
“The park has been facing water shortage for a long time. This reflected in the number of visitors, both birds and tourists,” Joy said.
Eight blocks of lakes were full of water after a good spell of rain and water released from Panchana in July, he said.
Joy said this season – which begins in October and ends in March – brought a large number of foreign tourists to the park, reflecting in the record revenue collection.
By March, migratory birds return to their countries because of rising temperatures in India.
“Water from Panchana Dam brought fish, vegetation to the park necessary for resident and migratory birds to survive. More than 12 species of resident birds visited the park for breeding and nesting,” said Joy.
Migratory birds which visited the park include Northern Shoveller, Pintail, Gadwall, Eurasian Wigeon, Common teal, Garganey teal, Common pochard , Bar handed goose, Greylag, Greater spotted eagle, Gimperial and Siberian rubythroat.
Keoladeo or Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is famous as one of Asia’s finest birding areas, with over 380 resident and migrant species, including the Common, Demoiselle and the rare Siberian Cranes. Thousands of migratory birds from Europe, Siberia, China and Asia visit the park for nesting on Babool trees (Acacia tree).
Rickshaw pullers, guides and hotels also made brisk business because of a large number of tourists.
KNP was established as a national park on March 10, 1982, and declared a World Heritage site under the World Heritage Convention in 1985. In 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) the park was said to be endangered after it faced water shortage.