Major Wild Fauna of BTR:
Along with the plant diversity, the Buxa Tiger Reserve harbours a wide range of animal diversity. There are 68 species of mammals, 41 species of reptiles and more than 246 species of birds, 4 species of Amphibian along with 73 species of fishes. It will be worth noting that there are 20 species of mammals which are endangered and are included in Schedule I of Wildlife protection Act (1972), 7 no. of birds, 10 no. of reptiles, are also included within the endangered lists.
The main carnivores of Buxa Tiger Reserve are Indian Tiger (Panthera tigris), Leopard (Panthera pardus), Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), Hog badger (Arctonyx collaris), Jungle Cat (Felis chaus), Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis), Sloth Bear (Melursus unsinus), Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverina), Civet Cat (Viverricula indica), Hyaena (Hyaena hyaena), Jackal (Canis aureus), Mongoose (Herpestes edwardsi), Fox (Vulpes bengalensis), Wild dog (Cuon alpinus) etc. Marbled Cat (Pardofelis marmorata) and Golden Cat (Catopuma temmincki) were reported earlier but in recent years they have not been sighted.
Among the herbivores of Buxa Tiger Reserve, the pre-dominants are Elephant (Elephus maximus), Gaur (Bos gaurus), Sambar (Cervus unicolor), Chital (Axis axis), Barking deer (Muntiacus muntjak), Hog deer (Axis porcinus), wild pig (Sus scrofa cristatus), Hispid Hare (Caprolagus hispidus), etc. Wild Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) was reported in Buxa but in recent years it has not been sighted. The last record of wild buffalo is from South Rydak area during 1969. The great Indian one horned Rhinoceros (Rhinocerous unicornis) was reported in South Bholka and Panbari blocks of Buxa Tiger Reserve up to 1968 which might have migrated from Assam from the other side of Sankosh River. However, regular occurrence of rhino was reported till the 1950s in these areas.
Many other animals like porcupines (Hystrix indica), Rhesus macaquc (Macaca mulatla), Squirrels, Common Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) and Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) are also frequently seen in these forests (See Annexure-11A). During 2006 and 2007 in three occasions, Gangetic dolphins(Plataniesta gangetica) entered the Kaljani river by moving upstream from the confluence.
Numerous rivers and streams in the forests of this Reserve contain a variety of fish of which Mahseer is the biggest and most sought after in Rydak river near Bhutanghat. Fishes of several species like Boal, Kalbaus, Mrigel, Chital, Sole are found. There are innumerable small fishes in the rivers and streams. Most common are chela, Chanda, Hum, Puti, Boroli, etc. After more than seventy years of the first survey of fishes, recently a comprehensive survey of fish species was undertaken during 2006-08 where occurrence of 73 species has been recorded, the highest number among all the PAs of North Bengal, including few species endemic to BTR.
Among reptiles, tortoise, lizards, various kinds of Snakes such as King Cobra, Russel’s viper, Black Krait, Banded Krait, Indian Python (Python molurus) and Reticulated Python (Python reticulatus), Chinese pangolin are found in this region. Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) and Mugger (Crocodilus palustris) are reported in 6th Working Plan of Buxa Division (1965-66 to 1974-75), but these are not seen now-a-days.
The Forest is also rich in avifauna and the important ones are Indian Jungle Maina, Hornbills, Bengal Floricon, The Indian woodpecker, Nightjar, Dhanesh and various kinds of Teals & Ducks Peacocks are also seen quite frequently.
There are wetlands within the Buxa Tiger Reserve. Special mention may be made of Narathali wetland where 3 big shallow lakes harbour a good number of migratory ducks including Schedule-I species like whistling Teal as well as common Teal, Pintail, white eyed pocherd, shoveller, etc. The swift streams of Jainti & Rydak harbours Mergansers. The migratory birds appear during the end of Monsoon and fly away before summer. The migratory birds include the beautiful Ibis bill, Pretty Minivets, yellow crested sultan Tits, streaked spider hunter which suck nectar from simul flowers, Snipes, Wagtails, Leaf warblers, Sandpipers. Two endangered birds, viz. Indian pied Hornbill & Greater pied Hornbill starts nesting in pukhuri area in Phaskhawa block of Jainti during spring season.
Recent study on entomofauna by Prof. D. Roychoudhury & others of Calcutta University listed 500 species of insects belonging to 13 orders, 65 families & 229 genera. The study is still continuing.