Its rich bio-diversity ensured that it was declared a National Sanctuary in 1979 with its total area spanning across the three states of M.P. Rajasthan and U.P. The last bastion for some of the country's most endangered wildlife species like the Gharial, Muggar, Turtle, Otter and fresh water Dolphins. The Chambal region also boasts of a wide variety of aquatic and terrestrial birds. After rampant poaching and fishing, which almost wiped out the Gharial population from the country in the 70's, a captive breeding and reintroduction programme was started. Chambal was chosen as one of the main areas for reintroduction of the species back in the wild. The Chambal Sanctuary in U.P. covers an area of 635 sq. km. Spread over the Agra and Etawah Districts, a total of 290 different species of migratory and resident birds have been identified in the region so far. Winter is the best time to visit the sanctuary. A boat ride in its tranquil waters during this time is an exhilarating experience with spectaculars sightings of the big reptiles basking along the 180 km. sparkling sand stretches in the morning sun, but the main draw of the sanctuary are of course the Flamingoes that arrive here in November and stay till May. The Rudy Shelducks also fly a little earlier in September and stay here till May. The Indian Skimmers have huge colonies in the sanctuary and breed prolifically here.