Kalpana Palkhiwala writes: The Desert National Park is situated in Rajasthan near Jaisalmer stretching in the Thar desert. The park is considered not only the largest in the state of Rajasthan but among the largest in India. The catchments area of the Park is 3162 sq. km. The substantial part of the park is on a landscape, which comprises of lakebed of extinct salt lakes and thorny scrubs and a considerable area consists of sand dunes. Sand dunes form around 20% of the Park. The major landform consists of craggy rocks and compact salt lake bottoms, inters medial areas and fixed dunes.
The fragile ecosystem of the Thar supports unique and varied flora and fauna and wildlife species. It serves as the perfect example of the desert ecosystem. It is a wonder in itself to see living organisms flourish in these harsh conditions. The best place to witness the amazing flora and fauna of the park is Sudashri forest post. The place attracts large hoard of migratory birds due to its close proximity to Bharatpur.
There are three main lakes in this sanctuary- Rajbaugh Lake, Malik Talao Lake and Padam Talao. These lakes are the major watering holes for the inhabitants of the national park.
Despite a fragile ecosystem there exists an abundance of birdlife. The endangered Great Indian Bustard is one magnificent bird found in relatively fair numbers. It migrates locally in different seasons. The region is a haven for migratory and resident birds of the desert. One can see eagles, harriers, falcons, long legged and honey buzzards, kestrel and vultures. Short-toed Eagles, Tawny and steppe Eagles, Spotted Eagles, Laggar Falcons and kestrels are the most common among these. Imperial Sand grouse are spotted near small ponds or lakes. Partridges, bee-eaters, larks and shrikes are endemic, while demoiselle crane and hobard arrive in the winter. The birds, ranging from Blue tailed and Green Bee-eater to Drongos to Common and Bush Quail to Indian Rollers, are a bird watcher’s delight. The park also plays host to a number of migratory birds in winters.
The rich flora of the park consists of dhok, ronj, salai and palm trees. The vegetation is sparce, and patches of sewan grass and aak shrub can be seen.
The Desert National Park has a collection of fossils of animals and plants which are nearly 180 million year old. Some fossils of Dinosaurs of 6 million year old have been found in the area.
The wildlife of the Desert National Park includes Blackbuck, Chinkara, Desert fox, Bengal Fox, Indian Wolf, Desert Cat, Hare etc. Reptiles are also found in abundance and they include spiny –tailed lizard, monitor lizard, saw scaled-viper, Russel viper , Karit.
The State Government of Rajasthan has notified Desert Wildlife Sanctuary in Jaisalmer District as Desert National Park on 4th August 1980 vide Notification No. F3(1)(73) Rev/dated 4/8/1980. It has been declared a National Park due to its ecological, faunal, floral, geomorphological, significance for the purpose of protecting, propagating, developing wildlife and its environment.