Difference Between Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park

Overview on Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park

Wildlife comprises the primary natural habitat, all over the globe. With deforestation as well as persistent industrialization and urbanization, there is a threat of extinction to the wildlife. As such, to preserve and conserve the natural lifestyle of a nation’s national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and biosphere reserves, among others, are set aside.


Wildlife sanctuaries consist of a territory or region that offers security and a desirable living environment to the wild fauna. On the flip side, national parks offer security to the whole class of the ecosystem, that is, fauna, flora, and landscape, among others, of that particular area. At last, biosphere reserves are the secured regions that intend to protect the genetic classification of animals, plants, animals, and birds.


What is a wildlife sanctuary?

A wildlife sanctuary is a facility in which animals are transferred to live and to remain secured for the remaining part of their lives. As compared to animal homes, wildlife sanctuaries do not look for placing animals with groups or individuals. Instead of that, they tend to maintain every animal until its natural demise. Yet, they can provide re-homing facilities. In addition, wildlife sanctuaries provide protection to various species of animals and birds such as the Great Indian Bustard, Musk Deer, and Black Buck.


In a few incidents, a setup can exhibit the features of both a shelter and a sanctuary. For example, there are a couple of animals that might be in a temporary residence unless a proper shelter is discovered, while other animals might be in permanent residence. The aim of wildlife sanctuaries is usually to be safe asylums, in which the animals get the most suitable care possible that the wildlife sanctuaries can offer.


In wildlife sanctuaries, not a single animal is traded, nor are they put into use for animal experiments. Also, no secretions from parts of the animals are used for commercial purposes including wool, eggs, or milk. The residing animals are provided with the opportunity to act as naturally as possible in a secured setting. 


A highly restricted human activity is allowed in wildlife sanctuaries. The hunting and poaching of animals are strictly banned as well as trees and plants cannot be cut down for agriculture or any other application. There are no clearly carved out boundaries or fencing to prohibit people from entering into wildlife sanctuaries. Individuals are allowed to walk through wildlife sanctuaries for educational, recreational, or research reasons. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and its World Commission on Protected Areas has specified wildlife sanctuary as its Category IV type of protected region. Further, in the US, wildlife sanctuaries must get permits by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and be monitored by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on a daily basis for aligning with the Animal Welfare Act.


Some of the Famous Wildlife Sanctuaries

  • Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary (Karnataka):

Sambar, porcupine, muntjac, bison, and gaur.


  • Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary (Kerala):

Nilgiri Tahr, spotted leopard, panther, and Indian elephant.


  • Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary (Karnataka):

Flying squirrel, black panther, crocodiles, and tiger. 


National Park

A national park refers to a territory or region that is specifically reserved by various governing bodies for the preservation of biodiversity and wildlife owing to its cultural, natural, and historical importance. National parks are home to myriads of birds, animals, microorganisms, and insects, among others, that belong to different species and genes that provide a secure and hygienic environment to them. Not only do national parks conserve wildlife, but they also offer a delight of the ecological and scenic heritage in a manner and by approaches that do not result in any harm to them, in order to deliver amusement to the coming generations. The cultivation, plantation, grazing, predating and hunting of animals, as well as the destruction of flowers, are strictly banned.


National parks are often a treasury of natural, semi-natural, or developed territory that a governing state calls for or owns. Even though individual countries allocate their own national parks in a different way, there exists a mutual notion: the conservation of 'wild nature' for posterity and as a symbol of national pride. Further, national parks have clearly carved out boundaries.


The International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has designated national parks in its Category II of the protected regions. To pay a visit to national parks, you need to have official permission from the relevant authorities.


Some of the famous national parks:

  • Ranthambore National Park (Rajasthan):

Nilgai, leopard, wild boar, and hyena.


  • Nagarhole National Park (Karnataka):

 Sloth bear, Indian bison, mugger crocodile, and dung beetles.


  • Sariska National Park (Rajasthan):

 Jungle cat, striped hyena, leopard, and golden jackal.


Difference Between Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park

The points mentioned below elaborate the difference between the national park and wildlife sanctuary:

  • Wildlife sanctuary consists of the areas where wildlife and their habitat are preserved from any sort of disturbance. On the other hand, a national park is the region of the countryside that is specially allocated for wildlife, in which they can live and consume the natural resources with freedom.

  • Wildlife sanctuaries are known for wildlife conservation, which consists of insects, animals, birds, and microorganisms of various species and genes. Conversely, national parks are majorly famous for protecting the fauna, flora, landscape, and historical entities.

  • The objective of wildlife sanctuaries is to ensure that a population of the wildlife and their habitats are maintained substantially. Whilst, national parks preserve the scenic, environmental, and cultural heritage of the territory.

  • Talking about restrictions, national parks are significantly restricted regions, which are open only to certain people, while wildlife sanctuaries have lesser restrictions as compared to national parks.

  • To visit national parks, you need to have official permission to be received from the relevant authorities. On the contrary, no official permission is required to visit a wildlife sanctuary.

  • Boundaries of wildlife sanctuaries are not specified, while they are clearly marked in the national parks.

  • Human activities are allowed to some extent in the wildlife sanctuaries, while in the case of national parks, they are strictly banned by the governing authorities.


National Park

Wildlife Sanctuary

The national park is a protected territory that is formed by the governing bodies to preserve wildlife and evolve them.

The wildlife sanctuary is a natural habitat that is run by the governing bodies or private organizations that protect certain species of animals and birds.

A national park preserves fauna, flora, historic objects, landscape, etc.

Wildlife sanctuary preserves birds, animals, insects, reptiles, etc.

The aim of national parks is to protect historic and natural objects as well as the wildlife of the territory.

The aim of wildlife sanctuaries is to ensure that the population of the wildlife and their respective habitats are sustained.

The national park is highly restricted and people cannot randomly access it.

Restrictions are relatively less and it is open to people

Official permission is required.

Official permission is not required.

Boundaries are fixed by the administration.

Boundaries are not fixed.

Human activity is not permitted at all.

Human activity is permitted yet to a specific limit. 


Importance of Wildlife sanctuary and National park

Wild animals are bred and protected in wildlife sanctuaries for the rest of their lives until they die naturally. A wildlife sanctuary was formed with the goal of protecting biodiversity or the natural environment of the country. Some wildlife refuges also provide rehabilitation services. The sanctuary takes in abandoned and injured animals and cares for them until they are ready to be released. It aids in the conservation and reintroduction of endangered animals by providing them with a natural home. As well as preventing the extinction of some species.


It contributes to the preservation of wildlife and jungles. The national park's landforms are protected from development, pollution, and deforestation, and they serve as a natural habitat for wildlife. Historical structures are preserved in National Parks to offer us a clear picture of how people lived in the past. Tribal people live separate from civilization in numerous national parks across the world, and their culture is generally safeguarded there. National parks safeguard not only wild creatures but also tribal people and their cultures.

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FAQs on Difference Between Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park

1. What is the difference between a wildlife sanctuary and a biosphere reserve?

A wildlife sanctuary is a protected area for wild animals in their natural habitat. It is illegal to poach or capture animals in this area. The area utilized to conserve biodiversities such as plants, animals, and microbes is known as a biosphere reserve.

2. What are the benefits of national parks and wildlife refuges?

National parks are important for preserving biodiversity by supporting ecosystems and the flora that live within them, for environmental protection by providing sustainable energy and mitigating the effects of climate change, and for national and local economies by supporting tourism and protecting agriculture.


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