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Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary
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Located on the western slopes of the Western Ghats in Udipi district, the Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over an area of 88.4 sq km and lies between the longitudes 13o27'21.74"E to 13o36'1.98"E and latitudes 74o55'36.41"N to 75o4'49.73"N. This sanctuary was initially notified in 1974 as a protected area and later confirmed by a government notification in 1979. Both, the nearby Someshwara Reserve Forest with an area of 112.92 sq km and this sanctuary get their names from the famous Someshwara temple located in the area. Elevation ranges from 31-866 m above sea level and average annual rainfall received is about 5,482 mm. The Seethanadi, two perennial streams, two seasonal lakes, 11 waterholes, 20 tanks and several seasonal streams ensure an adequate supply of water throughout the year (Lal et al. 1994).

The hill slopes in this region have rich primary and secondary evergreen forests. Tree species like Poeciloneuron indicum are found at higher elevations. Semi-evergreen and mixed moist deciduous forests are found in the foothills and plains. Degraded forests occur in the heavily logged Mavinakodlu Reserve Forest and around habitations. Important plant genera found in the area are Calophyllum, Artocarpus, Dipterocarpus, Hopea, Lophopetalum, Poeciloneuron, Bischofia, Terminalia, Lagerstroemia, Machilus, Syzygium, Mangifera and Vitex. The vegetation types at low elevations include secondary semi-evergreen, secondary moist deciduous, teak and eucalyptus plantations. Trees found in the evergreen forests at low elevations include species like Poeciloneuron indicum, Dipterocarpus indicus, Diospyros candolleana and Diospyros oocarpa (Pascal et al. 1982).

Mammalian inhabitants found here are the Indian bison or gaur (Bos gaurus), wild pig (Sus scrofa) sambar (Cervus unicolor) and chital or spotted deer (Axis axis). Other species of deer like the barking deer (Munitacus muntjak) and mouse deer (Moschiola meminna), though present in the sanctuary, are rarely seen. Nearly seven species of langurs are known to be residents of this sanctuary (Groves 2001). The endemic lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus), and carnivores like leopards (Panthera pardus), wild dog (Cuon alpinus) and tiger (Panthera tigris) too are found here. Small mammals like the jungle cat (Felis chaus), Indian porcupine (Hystrix indica) and Indian hare (Lepus nigricollis) are also found throughout the sanctuary (Lal et al. 1994, Shivanand and IBA 2004).

Recognised as an Important Bird Area nearly 75 species of birds have been recorded in this sanctuary. 'Vulnerable' species like lesser adjutant (Leptopilos javanicus) and endemic birds like blue-winged parakeet (Psittacula columboides), Malabar grey hornbill (Ocyceros griseus), white-bellied blue flycatcher (Cyornis pallipes) and small sunbird (Nectarinia minima) have been sighted here (Lal et al. 1994, Shivanand and IBA 2004). Falling under the Biome-10 (Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest) region species like Malabar pied hornbill (Anthracoceros coronatus), yellow-browed bulbul (Iole indica) and Lotens's sunbird (Nectarinia lotenia) can be found here.

Reptiles seen in this sanctuary include the king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah), common cobra (Naja naja), Indian rock python (Python molurus), Indian monitor lizard (Varanus bengalensis), star tortoise (Geochelone elegans) and common krait (Bangarus caeruleus). Seethanadi, Golihole and some of the other big streams form the aquatic habitat of the sanctuary and contain the rare mahseer (Tor spp.) fish (Lal et al. 1994, Shivanand and IBA 2004).

The sanctuary is secluded and does not attract many tourists. It is surrounded by paddy fields, areca and coconut plantations. Some people depend on employment provided by the neighboring cashewnut factories and rice mills and there are 13 villages inside the sanctuary. Commercial plantations of Ailanthus malabarica, Tectonia grandis and eucalyptus in the foothills and the plains of this sanctuary have caused clearing of large areas of forest land. Other important threats include poaching, cattle grazing in the absence of Forest Department prohibitions and risk from forest fires caused by both natural and man-made causes (Lal et al. 1994, Shivanand and IBA 2004).


Groves, C. 2001. Primate taxonomy. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington DC, USA.

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. Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary featured. In: Directory of national parks and sanctuaries in Karnataka: Management status and profiles. Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi, India. pp: 161-169.

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.

Shivanand, T and the IBA Team .2004. Someshwara 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 592-593.

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