National parks in India are IUCN category II protected areas. India's first national park was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park, now known as Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand. By 1970, India only had five national parks. In 1972, India enacted the Wildlife Protection Act and Project Tiger to safeguard the habitats of conservation reliant species.
Further federal legislation strengthening protection for wildlife was introduced in the 1980s. As of May 2020, there were 105 national parks encompassing an area of 40,501.13 km2 (15,637.57 sq mi), under protected areas of India category II comprising 1.23% of India's total surface area.
According to the Indian Ministry of Environment & Forests, a national park is "[a]n area, whether within a sanctuary or not, [that] can be notified by the state government to be constituted as a National Park, by reason of its ecological, faunal, floral, geomorphological, or zoological association or importance, needed to for the purpose of protecting & propagating or developing wildlife there in or its environment. No human activity is permitted inside the national park except for the ones permitted by the Chief Wildlife Warden of the state under the conditions given in CHAPTER IV, WPA 1972".
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