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Gudavi Wildlife Sanctuary
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Shimoga district's Sorab taluka has a tiny bird sanctuary spread over 0.73 sq km that is an important site for many species of migratory and water birds. This sanctuary is located between the longitudes 14o25'59.38"E to 14o26'40.6"E and latitudes 75o1'29.71"N to 75o0'43.34"N. The elevation ranges between 556-586 m and the annual rainfall is about 1,748 mm.

The vegetation type in this sanctuary is primarily secondary moist evergreen deciduous forests and at the lower elevations, it is mostly semi-evergreen 'Kan' forest type (Pascal et al. 1982). Tree species surrounding the lake include Vitex leucoxylon, Kirganelia reticulata and Phyllanthus polyphyllus (Manjrekar 2000). Water lilies and plants belonging to Azolla species thrive in the waters of the lake (Hosetti and Gururaja 2004).

Recognised as an Important Bird Area nearly ten to twelve thousand birds belonging to 254 species have been spotted in this sanctuary. These include the 'Vulnerable' greater spotted eagle (Aquila clanga) and 'Critically endangered' Oriental white-backed vulture (Gyps bengalensis) and long-billed vulture (Gyps indicus). 'Near threatened' species like the greater grey-headed fishing eagle (Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus), Malabar pied hornbill (Anthracoceros coronatus) and darters (Anhinga melanogaster) too can be found in large numbers. Besides, the sanctuary is a popular nesting place for a number of water birds like grey herons (Ardea cinerea), night herons (Nycticorax nycticorax) and cormorants (Phalacrocorax sp.). As many as 5,000 black or white-headed ibis (Threskiornis melanocephala) come to breed each year in this protected area, making this sanctuary an important global conservation hotspot for this species (Hosetti and Gururaja 2004). In the surrounding forests three restricted range (endemic) species of the Western Ghats are found-blue-winged parakeet (Psittacula columboides), Malabar grey hornbill (Ocyceros griseus) and white-bellied treepie (Dendrocitta leucogastra) (Islam and Rahmani 2004).

Though predominantly a bird sanctuary, a number of small mammals too thrive in this sanctuary. Mammalian inhabitants recorded are the bonnet macaque (Macaca radiata), common langur (Semnopithecus entellus), wild pig (Sus scrofa), black-naped hare (Lepus nigricollis) and jackals (Canis aureus). Gudavi lake also has a significant population of flapshell turtles (Lissemys punctata) (Ragunatha 1993).

Threats to this sanctuary include siltation of the freshwater tank, fishing, overgrazing by cattle, cutting of trees for firewood and fodder and agricultural activities like paddy and arecanut plantations around the lake (Hosetti and Gururaja 2004).


Hosetti, B. B and Gururaja, K.V. 2004. Gudavi Wildlife Sanctuary. In: Important Bird Areas in India: Priority sites for conservation. (Islam, M. Z and Rahmani, A. R).Indian Bird Conservation Network: Bombay Natural History Society and Birdlife International, UK. pp 557-558.

Islam, M. Z and Rahmani, A. R. 2004. Important bird areas in India: Priority sites for conservation. Indian Bird Conservation Network: Bombay Natural History Society and Birdlife International, UK. 1133 pp.

Kazmierczak, K. 2000. A field guide to the birds of India, Sri Lanka, Pakistn, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and the Maldives. OM Book Service, New Delhi, India. 352 pp.

Lal, R., Kothari, A., Pande, P and Singh, S (eds). 1994. Gudavi Bird Sanctuary. In: Directory of national parks and sanctuaries in Karnataka: Management status and profiles .Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi, India. pp 111-113.

Manjrekar, N (ed).2000. A walk on the wild side. Karnataka Forest Department, Wildlife Wing, Bangalore, India.

Menon, V. 2003. A field guide to Indian mammals. DK (India) Pvt Ltd and Penguin Book India (P) Ltd. 201 pp.

Pascal, J.P., Shyam Sundar, S and Meher-Homji, V.M. 1982. Forest map of South India: Shimoga. French Institute, Pondicherry, India.

Ragunatha, V. 1993. Final report on an ecological study of water birds at Gudavi Bird Sanctuary. Report submitted to WWF-India, New Delhi, India.

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