Difference Between Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: June 06, 2023


Difference Between Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park

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Our natural habitat consists of wildlife at very large, and it is one of the primary heritages of the environment. But with increasing industrialization and urbanization we are posing a threat to our natural reserves and wildlife such as the national parks, sanctuaries, bio reserves, etc. This is almost leading our wildlife towards extinction thus some measures should be implemented through which such flora and fauna could be protected. Human disturbance is also one of the main causes of exploitation of such natural heritages and of animals that reside there. Thus, for this reason, some nations set aside biosphere reserves, national parks, and wildlife sanctuaries, among other things. In this article, we will discuss the differences between two such reserves that provide natural habitats to animals and other species against these harmful activities of environmental destruction- Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park.

Wildlife Sanctuary- According to its name, a wildlife sanctuary is a location that is exclusively inhabited by animals, reptiles, insects, birds, and other types of wildlife.  It gives habitat to wild animals, especially those that are uncommon or endangered, and also ensures that they have a safe and healthy place to live. This allows them to coexist peacefully with one another for the duration of their lives and ensures that their population is viable.

For example-

  • Chinnar wildlife sanctuary, Kerala                        
  • Chilika Lake wildlife sanctuary, Odisha                       
  • Madumalai Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu

National Park- Due to its importance to nature, culture, and history, a national park denotes a location that has been solely set aside by the authorities for the sake of the preservation of species and biodiversity. It provides a secure and healthy environment for thousands of creatures like birds, mammals, insects, bacteria, etc. who consider it their house.

For example-

  • Sundarbans National Park, West Bengal                      
  • Pench National Park, Madhya Pradesh                      
  • Periyar National Park, Kerala

Wildlife Sanctuary vs National Park

The key difference to remember between these two reserves is that- A national park attempts to protect the scenic, ecological, and cultural legacy of the area, whereas a wildlife sanctuary ensures that animals and their natural surroundings are preserved. A national park teaches tourists about the value of conservation, while a wildlife sanctuary attempts to inform them about the specific animal that it is preserving. No human activities are allowed in the national park whereas they are allowed to a certain extent in a wildlife sanctuary.

Difference between Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park in Tabular form

Parameters of comparisonWildlife sanctuaryNational Park
DefinitionA wildlife sanctuary, which may be held by the government or a private organization, is a natural ecosystem that protects specific kinds of animals and birds.Government-created national parks are areas of protection designed to protect wildlife while also fostering development.
Preservation ofIt is mainly known for the preservation of animals, birds, insects, reptiles, etc.It is known for preserving flora and fauna such as animals, trees, landscapes, the historic and cultural importance of land, etc.
AimTo guarantee the preservation of wildlife habitats and a viable population of animals.To safeguard local animal, historic, and natural resources.
RestrictionsIt has limited restrictions and is open for the public to visit.It has strict restrictions and doesn’t allow random or general public access to enter.
PermissionIt doesn’t require any sort of permission from an official.It requires permission from a higher authority.
BoundariesThere is no such fixed boundary.The boundary is set up by the legislative bodies.
Human activitiesInterference by humans is allowed up to a certain extent.For the protection of species, no human activity is allowed at all.
ConversionWe can upgrade a wildlife sanctuary to a national park.A national park can’t be downgraded to a wildlife sanctuary.
ExamplesBhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka
Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary, Gujarat
Karakoram Wildlife Sanctuary, Jammu and Kashmir
Satpura National Park, Madhya Pradesh
Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh
Manas National Park, Assam

What is a Wildlife Sanctuary?

Animals are relocated to a wildlife sanctuary where they can live out the rest of their lives in safety. The placement of wildlife with individuals or with groups is not a concern for wildlife sanctuaries as opposed to animal houses. In contrast, they usually care for each animal until it dies of natural causes. However, they can offer re-homing services. Additionally, wildlife reserves offer protection to numerous animal and bird species, including the Great Indian Bustard, Musk Deer, and Black Buck. It is usually owned by the government of the country or any organization that tends to protect the different species of animals and birds. In such sanctuaries, only very limited human activity is allowed, and practices like animal hunting, and animal poaching are severely restricted. Also, the plants and trees present there are not available to be cut down for agriculture or any other kind of purposes. Visitors are also often allowed to visit these sites for educational, research, or recreational purposes. A setup can occasionally show signs of being both a place of protection and a sanctuary. Some animals might only be living there temporarily until a suitable shelter is found, while others might live there permanently. The main objective of wildlife preserves is to provide safe havens where the animals receive the best care that the sanctuaries can provide. No animal should be used for commercial purposes. It is not possible to access a wildlife sanctuary because there are no clearly defined boundaries or fencing. Animal sanctuaries are Category IV kind of protected areas designated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and its World Commission on Protected Areas.

For Ex-

  • Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Rajasthan
  • Rollapadu Wildlife Sanctuary, Andhra Pradesh             
  • Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala              

Importance –

  • Helps in the preservation of endangered species. Since it is often difficult and expensive to relocate endangered animals, these animals are usually protected in their natural habitats where they can be closely watched, reproduce, and increase in population while still being under the strict safeguards of the sanctuary.
  • Additionally, it aids in protecting ecological assets like rivers, valleys, waterfalls, and hills and mountains.
  • The creation of these sanctuaries protects the local tribes and spares them from having to defend their land from outsiders who would otherwise clear it for development. This aids in the preservation of their customs and culture.
  • Sanctuaries offer us a secure setting wherever human activities cannot negatively impact nature and wherein nature can develop unhindered by humans.
  • It also provides ecotourism to individuals and connects them with nature and its habitants.

What is a National Park?

A national park is a territory or area that has been set aside by different governmental agencies specifically for the safeguarding of wildlife and biodiversity because of its cultural, historical, and ecological significance. Numerous species of birds, animals, insects, and other organisms of various species and genetics can be found in national parks, where they can live in a safe and sanitary environment. Along with preserving wildlife, it is also important to preserve the biological and scenic legacy in a way that uses methods that do not cause any harm to them. Any kind of human activity is strictly prohibited in a national park and the legislation has set up boundaries for the prevention of human interference. A governing state may request or possess national parks, which are frequently a repository of wild, semi-natural, or developed land. The preservation of "wild nature" for future generations and as a source of national pride is a shared idea, even though different countries administer their national parks in slightly different ways. The first national park in India was formed in the year 1936 it was the Hailey national park today famously known as the Jim Corbett National Park. The National Park System is a Category II protected area, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). A formal permit from the appropriate authorities is necessary to enter National Parks.

For Ex-

  • Rajaji National Park, Uttarakhand             
  • Panna National Park, Madhya Pradesh             
  • Dachigam National Park, Jammu, and Kashmir


  • They provide a secure environment for animals to live and breed. National Parks provide protection for over 247 kinds of endangered or threatened plants and animals.
  • When it comes to preserving the ecosystem, national parks are crucial. Typically, they are uninhabited wilderness areas that do not support the harm to the ecosystem brought on by human activity.
  • It also provides a boost to the economy as people can visit them without any permission from the authorities.
  • Along with preserving the ecosystem they also help in the preservation of land, historic cultural objects, and scenic heritage too.

Main differences between a wildlife sanctuary and a national park (in points)

  • An area that protects biodiversity and its habitat from disturbance is known as a wildlife sanctuary. In contrast, a designated national park is a region of land set aside exclusively for wildlife, where animals are allowed to roam freely and make use of the environment.
  • Animals, insects, microbes, birds, and other species of all kinds are preserved in wildlife sanctuaries, which are well-known for their conservation efforts. On the other side, national parks are well renowned for protecting the natural environment, wildlife, scenery, and artifacts from the past.
  • Wildlife Sanctuaries work to preserve both a healthy population of wildlife and their natural environments. In contrast, national parks protect the region’s natural, scenic, and cultural assets.
  • Wildlife sanctuaries have fewer limitations than national parks which makes them more accessible to all people. National parks are severely restricted regions that are not open to everyone.
  • Official permission must be obtained from the necessary authorities to access national parks. To visit a wildlife sanctuary, on the other hand, requires no formal permit.
  • There are no set boundaries for the wildlife sanctuaries whereas national parks have set boundaries.
  • In wildlife sanctuaries, human activity is permitted to a limited amount; however, in national parks, it is forbidden by the authorities.
  • Wildlife Sanctuaries-
    • Rollapadu Wildlife Sanctuary, Andhra Pradesh                                   
    • Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka                                   
    • Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Rajasthan
  • National Parks-
    • Blackbuck National Park, Gujarat                          
    • Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Park, Uttarakhand                          
    • Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand


The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 was passed in India with the objectives of protecting species that are in danger of extinction and promoting the nation’s national parks as conservation areas. There are several wildlife sanctuaries and national parks set up by the government of the nation to preserve the flora and fauna of an ecosystem. The threats like killing, hunting, the threat of deforestation to the animals and other species require the need for their safeguard. In this article, we discussed the basic definitions of what a wildlife sanctuary and a national park are, the key differences to distinguish between both terms, their importance in the preservation of the ecosystem along with examples of various sanctuaries and parks of India.

A wildlife sanctuary Is an area of land that has been set aside as a protected natural habitat for wildlife, including endangered and rare varieties of birds and animals like the black buck, Indian wild ass, and musk deer, among others. It offers advantageous living conditions for birds, animals, insects, etc. in addition to protecting the animals. A government or an organization dedicated to the preservation of animal and bird species may own a wildlife sanctuary. A wildlife shelter only permits very restricted human activity.


  • Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary, Goa                  
  • Govind Wildlife Sanctuary, Uttarakhand                   
  • Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu 

The national government owns and cares for national parks, which are protected natural regions. They frequently have stunning landscapes, abundant wildlife, and rich cultural traditions. They were developed to safeguard the complete ecosystem, including the flora, wildlife, and scenery. A national park is a place with a lot of restrictions. There are definite borders, and any human activity is strictly forbidden. National parks are classified as Category II protected areas by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and its World Commission on Protected Areas.


  • Kaziranga National Park, Assam                  
  • The Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh                  
  • Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh


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"Difference Between Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park." Diffzy.com, 2024. Fri. 19 Jul. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-wildlife-sanctuary-and-national-park>.

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