Van Vihar has a large number of wild animals. The herbivores are free ranging, meaning that they move freely in the park. They include, Blue Bull, Black Buck, Spotted Deer, Wild boar(an omnivore), Jackals(a carnivore), Spotted deer, Porcupines etc. The Zoo has Indian Gaur as a major herbivore attraction in an enclosure apart from Blue bulls, Black bucks etc in the others. Carnivores like Tigers, Lions, Leopards, Bears and Hyenas are kept in enclosures separately. Besides Ghariyal, Crocodiles and Turtles are seen in natural ponds basking on the pond banks in the enclosures.
The Zoo also has a Rescue cum Transit Centre for Snakes. Rescued snakes Iike Indian Cobra, Common Krait, Russels Viper, Saw Scaled Vipers, Rat Snakes, Sand Boas and Pythons are frequently brought in and after their medical check-up and care released into the wild.
Water Bodies And The Upper Lake
The natural ambience of Van Vihar is simply breath-taking. Water bodies along the road side offer sightings of a large number of birds and amphibians. The sight of a Ghariyal or Mugger swimming along or basking on the banks, Sambhar deers holding their majestic heads high munching away water plants while Cheetals and a variety of birds lazily moving around in the backdrop is a treat to the eyes.
An area of about 50 hectares of the historic Upper Lake of Bhopal is a part of Van Vihar National Park. This adds to the scenic beauty of the landscape. The hypnotic waves, playfulness of water birds, the wetland flora together create magic. Upper lake is a part of Bhoj Wetland and also a "Ramsar site".
Bird Watching and Bird Interpretation Centre
Van Vihar is a paradise for both resident as well as migratory birds. About 210 bird species have been identified which are either resident birds of Van Vihar or those birds that are migratory and make Van Vihar and the adjoining upper lake their winter home. These migratory birds fly back towards the end of the winter season or at the start of summer season. Some of the easily spotted birds in Van Vihar include Painted Stork, Woolly necked Stork, Kingfisher, Pink legged Stilts, Bush chat, Spotted Owls, Shikra, Coots, Spot Bills, Ibises, Combed Ducks, Lesser Whistling Ducks etc.
A Bird Interpretation centre has been recently developed at Van Vihar in between Snake park and Crocodile enclosures. People can visit the centre to understand and see various types of nests built by different birds, variety of eggs of different birds and type of habitats used by birds along with other information. This centre has been developed in the memory of the first Director of Van Vihar National Park, Late Shri P. M. Lad who was a celebrated Ornithologist of MP. This centre now caters to Birding Groups and to enthuse visitors to contribute to Bird Conservation and introduce them to ‘Birding’.
Click Here to know more about the Bird Interpretation Centre and see the list of Birds found in Van Vihar
Nature Interpretation Centre – Vihar Vithika
Vihar Vithika is a Nature Interpretation Centre established to bring interest and awareness amongst the people towards Wildlife conservation. Interpretation Centre has photographs, models, animal trophies and other exhibits for the visitors. A small souvenir shop also functions in the same premises where Lapel Pins under “Close to my Heart Campaign” being run by MP Tiger Foundation Society can be purchased.
One can enjoy pre-cooked food, snacks, cold and hot beverages at two refreshment kiosks located near the Tiger enclosure and Snake park during working hours.