Difference Between Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park

Wildlife Sanctuary vs National Park

National parks and wildlife sanctuaries are protected natural habitats, declared by the government of a country according to the regulations from the IUCN (The World Conservation Union) to preserve the wildlife through conservation of ecosystems. The restriction levels vary within these two categories but, the principal objective of declaring protected areas is the conservation of nature. Thus, it is important for people to understand the differences and similarities between a national park and a wildlife sanctuary.

Wildlife Sanctuary

Wildlife Sanctuary | Difference Between

A wildlife sanctuary is a declared protected area, where very limited human activity is allowed. The ownership of this type of protected are could lie in the hands of either a government or in any private organization or person, provided the regulations are governed by the government. Inside a wildlife sanctuary, the hunting of animals is completely prohibited. Additionally, the trees can not be cut down for any purpose; especially the clearing of the forest for agriculture is completely banned. However, it is not physically fenced to restrict the public from entering and roaming inside a wildlife sanctuary for research, educational, inspirational, and recreational purposes. The general public could use it up to a certain extent so that the sanctuary is useful for them also. People can collect firewood, fruits, medicinal plants…etc in small scale from a wildlife sanctuary.

National Park

Difference Between Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park

National park was first introduced in 1969, by the IUCN as a mean of a protected area with a definition. However, in the 19th century, some western naturalists and explorers have put forward the ideas of preserving ecosystems in order to conserve wildlife without active human interference. Additionally, those ideas have been implemented successfully despite the lack of legislation around 1830 in USA, by declaring the Hot Springs Reservation in Arkansas. A national park has a defined boundary, through which no person can get into the park without an approval. Only an approved person can enter into a national park, either via paying a visitor ticket or an approved letter from the governing body (mostly the government). The visitors can only observe the park inside a vehicle that routes through defined trails and they can not get out the vehicle for any reason unless there is an approved place for visitors. Photographs are allowed but research and educational work can only be done with a prior permission. The park can not be used for any reason viz. firewood, timber, fruits…etc. With all these regulations, the national parks are established to conserve the natural habitats of the wild fauna and flora with a minimum human interference.

Difference Between Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park

As Adrian Philips quote in the Parks journal in 2004, “the protected areas come in all sizes and shapes and with a bewildering variety of management systems, ownership and governance patterns”. The extent of the general public could interfere with the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries vary drastically. The national parks are more restricted for the people but earn money that could be managed to develop nature conservation measures. In both these protected areas, people have the access for inspirational, educational, research, and recreational purposes but, with certain limitations in national parks. However, both wildlife sanctuaries and national parks contribute significantly for the conservation of nature.


Photos By: Nicholas A. Tonelli (CC BY 2.0), Jeff’s Canon (CC BY- ND 2.0)

  • mohit raina

    ridiculous…give a proper difference.

  • jomon

    try to give a proper differance