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Chandoli National Park
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Perched at the junction of Ratnagiri, Sangli, Satara and Kolhapur districts in Maharashtra, Chandoli National Park was initially declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1985 and later as a national park in 2004. In addition it also holds the status of a protected tiger reserve. Located between longitudes 73o40' E and 73o53' E and latitudes 17o03'N and 17o20'N, it is bounded by the Koyna National Park and Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary and spread out over an area of 317.67 sq km. Elevation ranges from 589-1,044 m while the mean annual rainfall is 3,500 mm (Malik and Irfan 2006). The park receives its water supply from the Warna river and reservoir as well as several other small streams and rivers.

Flat topped mountains, rocky, lateritic plateaus called 'Saddas', almost devoid of vegetation, large boulders and caves are distinctive to the protected areas in the Sahyadri region of the Western Ghats. The forest types seen here are a mix of western tropical hill forests, west coast semi-evergreen forests and southern moist mixed deciduous forests (Champion and Seth 1968). In the dwarf evergreen forests, tree species commonly seen are the ironwood tree or anjani (Memecylon umbellatum), Javan plum or jamun (Syzigium cumini), pisa (Actinodaphne angustifolia), fig (Ficus glomerata), Olea diocia, spinous kino tree or katak (Bridelia retusa), nana (Lagerstroemia lanceolata), kinjal (Terminalia paniculata), kokum tree (Garcinia indica) and false kelat or phanasi (Carallia brachiata). Other trees dominating the landscape include Indian laurel or asan wood or ain (Terminalia tomentosa), Indian gooseberry or amla (Emblica officinalis), devil fig or umbar (Ficus hispida) and chebulic myrobalan or harra (Terminalia chebula) (Iqbal 2006).

Grasses commonly seen here include bangala (Andropogon sp.), golden beard grass or dongari (Chrysopogon fulvus), black spear grass, tangle grass or kalikusli (Heteropogon contortus), buffel grass or anjan grass (Cenchrus ciliaris), grader grass, kangaroo grass or karad (Themeda quadrivalvis) and grasses belonging to Poaceae family, like saphet-kusli (Aristida funiculata). Insectivorous plant species like Drosera and Utricularia sp. are also found in this protected area.

Nearly 23 species of mammals, 122 species of birds, 20 species of amphibians and reptiles are known to be resident in the forests of Chandoli (MoEF 2006). Tigers (Panthera tigris), Indian bison or gaur (Bos gaurus), sambar (Cervus unicolor), leopard cats (Prionailurus bengalensis), sloth bears (Melursus ursinus) and Indian giant squirrels (Ratufa indica) are quite conspicuous here. Many species of ungulates like barking deer (Muntiacus muntjak), mouse deer (Moschiola meminna) and blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra) are also present. A census carried out in 2002 by the Forest Department showed a rise in the number of tigers, leopards (Panthera pardus), gaur, barking deer, mouse deer, sloth bears and blackbuck (PA Update 2002). A similar census carried out in 2004 showed a rise in gaur population in the Kohlapur Wildlife Division from 88 to 243 (PA Update 2002).

In 2002, Chandoli National Park was one of the four protected areas selected by the Forest Department for inclusion in a ten year management plan (PA Update 2002). An attempt is being made by the Maharashtra government to merge Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary and Chandoli National Park to form the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve (PA Update 2005).

Threats to this park include the setting up of hydro-electric projects and utilisation of forest lands for agriculture. The Maharashtra government has plans to set up a hydro-electric project (Karadi-Bhogiv project) in the catchment area of the Warna dam that is expected to use up 6.78 sq km of forest land (PA Update 2003). On a positive note, nearly 7,894 people and a significant cattle population resident on 84.29 sq km area of land in 32 villages within the park have been successfully relocated to areas outside. This measure has helped to preserve and regenerate some of the vegetation in this protected area (Salunkhe and Khot 2002).


Champion, H.G and Seth, S.K.1968. A revised survey of forest types of India. Government of India Press, Delhi, India.

Malik, I and Irfan, M. U. 2006. Internship Project Report. Published by ATREE, Bangalore, India.

MoEF. 2006. India's Tentative List of Natural Heritage Properties to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. UNESCO, Paris, France.

PA Update. 2002. Population rise in wildlife in Western Ghat sanctuaries. June (36&37).

PA Update. 2002. Ten year management plan for Radhanagari, Sagareshwar and Chandoli sanctuaries. June (36&37).

PA Update. 2003. State government in favour of hydro-electric projects in wildlife sanctuaries. December (46): 9.

PA Update. 2004. Gaur from Radhanagari WLS to be shifted to Thane and Raigad districts. June (50&51): 16.

PA Update. 2005. Sahyadri Tiger Reserve proposed; to include Chandoli NP and Koyna WLS. February (53): 7.

Salunkhe, A. R. and Khot, A. B. 2002. Management plan for management of Chandoli Wildlife Sanctuary: 2001-02 to 2010-2011. Maharashtra Forest Department, Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India.

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