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Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary
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Bordered by the Cauvery river and state of Tamil Nadu on the eastern and northern boundary, the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary formed in 1987 covers an area of 526.96 sq km and spreads over the districts of Mysore, Bangalore and Mandya. It is located between the longitudes 11°56'53.56"E to 12°21'31.72"E and latitudes 77°15'14.11"N to 77°46'40.58"N. Elevation ranges from 229-1,498 m above sea level and the protected area receives an annual rainfall of 945 mm. The Palar river and several seasonal and perennial streams ensure a sufficient supply of water for this protected area

The vegetation type is dry, deciduous forest. The forests have a predominance of tree species like Gyrocarpus jacquini, Hardwickia binata, Anogeissus latifolia-Chloroxylon swietenia-Albizia amara types and Pterocarpus marsupium-Terminalia arjuna-Tamarindus indica types (Pascal et al.1992).

Mammalian inhabitants of the sanctuary include tigers (Panthera tigris), that are few in number, leopards (Panthera pardus) and Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). The Kanipanpura elephant corridor links this protected area with the high density elephant areas like Nagarhole, Bandipur, Wynaad, Mudumalai, as well as the reserve forests of Sathyamangalam and the Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary. Both, the highly endangered grizzled giant squirrel (Ratufa macroura) and the Indian giant squirrel (Ratufa indica), live here. Many species of deer like spotted deer or chital (Axis axis), sambar (Cervus unicolor), barking deer (Muntiacus muntjak) and the four-horned antelope (Tetracerus quadricornis) can be sighted here. Other mammals like wild pig (Sus scrofa), common otters (Lutra lutra) and black-naped hares (Lepus nigricollis) too can be found here (Subramanya 2004, Lal et al 1994).

Recognised as an Important Bird Area this protected area has a rich diversity of birdlife with nearly 127 species of birds identified here (Lott 87a, 87b, 87c). Globally threatened species like the greater spotted eagle (Aquila clanga) and 'Critically endangered' species like the Oriental white-backed vulture (Gyps bengalensis) and long-billed vulture (Gyps indicus) have also been sighted in the forests. Patches of scrub forest here make it a popular retreat for birds like the small green-billed malkoha (Phaenicophaeus viridirostris), painted bush quail (Perdicula erythrorhyncha), Indian grey hornbill (Ocyceros birostris) and yellow-throated bulbul (Pycnonotus xantholaemus). 'Near threatened' species like the red-headed vulture (Sarcogyps calvus) and endemic species like the Nilgiri wood-pigeon (Columba elphinstonii) and white-bellied blue flycatcher (Cyornis pallipes) too can be found residing in the forests of this protected area (Subramanya 2004). Classified as a Biome-10 forest (Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest), nine out of 15 species have been recorded here like the rain quail (Coturnix coromandelica), Indian grey hornbill (Ocyceros birostris) and white-bellied drongo (Dicrurus caerulescens) (Islam and Rahmani 2004).

The stretch of Cauvery river that borders the sanctuary is an ideal breeding ground for the rare mahseer (Tor spp.). Reptiles seen here include marsh crocodiles (Crocodylus palustris), Indian rock python (Python molurus), common cobra (Naja naja), Russell's viper (Daboia russelii) and banded krait (Bungarus fasciatus) (Lal et al. 1994, Subramanya 2004).

Soligas, an indigenous community, live in and around the sanctuary. The sanctuary is threatened by various developmental as well as livelihood pressures and high levels of poaching. Fire and colonisation by invasive species have greatly disturbed the biodiversity and ecological balance of the forests. The Pykara Hydroelectric Project too is a serious cause of disturbance to this sanctuary (Lal et al. 1994, Subramanya 2004).


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. Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary . In: Directory of national parks and sanctuaries in Karnataka: Management status and profiles .Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi, India. pp 92-98.

Lott, E.J. 1987a. Birds of the Kaveri Valley. Newsletter for Birdwatchers. 27(1-2):7-10.

Lott, E.J. 1987b. Birds of the Kaveri Valley. Newsletter for Birdwatchers. 27(3-4):12-16.

Lott, E.J. 1987c. Birds of the Kaveri Valley. Newsletter for Birdwatchers. 27(9-10):16.

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

Pascal, J.P., Ramesh, B.R and Kichenassamy, K .1992. Forest map of South India: Bangalore-Salem. French Institute, Pondicherry, India.

Subramanya, S. 2004. Cauvery 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 553-554.

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