Lake Reserve Forest Natural Trail Chandigarh
Lake Reserve Forest Natural Trail Chandigarh also known as Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Sivalik Hills of Chandigarh city, near Sukhna Lake. It was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1998. Closed during the rainy season.
The Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected wildlife sanctuary. It is just 2 kilometers from Sukhna Lake. It has been spread over an area of 26 square kilometers (2600 hectares) of forest land spanning the plains at the foot of the Shivalik Hills. The rain-fed catchment region of Sukhna Lake partly falls in the area designated for the Wildlife Sanctuary History.
The history of the Sukhna Lake and the Lake Reserve Forest Natural Trail is intertwined. The Sukhna Lake was part of the development plans of the city of Chandigarh and was planned and built from 1958, through the sixties and seventies. It was an artificial lake that was fed with rainwater from the catchment areas in the Shivalik Hills. Siltation was a big problem for Sukhna Lake that had to be tackled and it was minimized by many engineering and soil conservation methods. A large-scale afforestation program was taken up in the catchment area.
After 1998 more systematic and large-scale afforestation program was taken up in the catchment areas that resulted in a further better forest cover developed in the catchment area. The deep forest area that grew in size over five decades became the home to a large variety of animals and plants. This forest was then designated as a protected sanctuary; Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary. It has a rich variety of flora and fauna. It is known to have the most number of Sambar found in a group or cluster than anywhere else in the country. It is home to a large number of birds and reptiles also which include jungle fowl, various sparrows. The sanctuary contains various varieties of trees, shrubs, herbs, grasses, and climbers which include Acacia catechu (Khair), Acacia Arabica (Kikar), Dalbergia sisoo (Shisham), Anogeissus latifolia (Chhal), Azadirachta indica (Neem), Butea frondosa (Dhakk).
The fauna of the sanctuary includes different species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and insects. Squirrel, Common-Mongoose, Indian Hare, Porcupine, Jungle Cat, Jackal, Wild boar, etc, are the mammals found in the sanctuary whereas Peacock, Hill myna, Jungle crow, Black Drongo, Parrots, Doves, Barn owls, Woodpeckers, Cuckoos and others are the common birds of this region. Migratory birds also flock around this place. Reptiles of this sanctuary are Turtle, Common Monitor, Indian Python, Common Krait, Snake, Rat, etc while insects of the forest include Honey-bee, Moth, variety of Butterflies, and other micro-organisms.