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Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary
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The Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary located in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka was formed in 1987 and occupies an area of 475.01 sq km. It is Karnataka's second largest sanctuary and lies between the longitudes 14o58'15.85"E to 15o22'0.44"E and latitudes 74o15'2.56"N to 74o43'58.73"N. There is a wide variation in elevation ranging between 50-1,036 m and the annual rainfall is around 2,453 mm. The Kalinadi river and its reservoir, the Kaneri river, seven water tanks, one spring, several perennial rivers and streams, and some seasonal streams provide sufficient water supply for the sanctuary (Lal et al. 1994).

The main vegetation types in this sanctuary are moist deciduous and semi-evergreen forests. At the lower altitudes, the vegetation is mostly semi-evergreen and secondary moist deciduous forests while at medium elevations, most of the vegetation is evergreen and semi-evergreen forests. Trees at medium elevations include species like Persea macrantha, Diospyros sp. and Holigarna sp. (Pascal et al. 1984).

Mammalian inhabitants of this sanctuary include the Indian giant squirrel (Ratufa indica), Indian bison or gaur (Bos gaurus), common langurs (Semnopithecus entellus), spotted deer or chital (Axis axis) and Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Tigers (Panthera tigris), panthers (Panthera pardus), sambar (Cervus unicolor), mouse deer (Moschiola meminna), barking deer (Muntiacus muntjak), wild dogs (Cuon alpinus), jackals (Canis aureus), Indian porcupine (Hystrix indica), grey mongoose (Herpestes edwardsi), wild pig (Sus scrofa), red giant flying squirrels (Petaurista petaurista) and slender loris (Loris lyddekerianus) (Lal et al. 1994, Jathar et al. 2004) too are found here. In 2002 a community of 500 of Wroughton's free-tailed bats (Otomops wroughtoni) were spotted in this sanctuary (Pendharkar in press)

More than 285 species of birds have been sighted in this protected area (Jathar 1998). Five species endemic to the Western Ghats-Nilgiri wood-pigeon (Columba elphinstonii), blue-winged parakeet (Psittacula columboides), Malabar grey hornbill (Ocyceros griseus), small sunbird (Nectarinia minima) and the Indian rufous babbler (Turdoides subrufus) are also found here. The reservoirs along the Kali river attract a large number of water birds which includes river terns (Sterna aurantia), little cormorants (Phalarocorax niger), Indian cormorants (Phalarocorax fuscicollis) and great cormorants (Phalocrocorax carbo). 'Near-threatened' species like Oriental white ibis (Threskiornis melanocephala), greater grey-headed fish eagles (Icthyophaga ichthyaetus) and darters (Anhinga melanogaster), 'Critically endangered' species like oriental white-backed vultures (Gyps bengalensis) and 'Vulnerable' species like lesser adjutants (Leptoptilos javanicus) too can be spotted in this sanctuary. Besides, birds commonly seen in scrub forests like Sirkeer malkhoa (Phaenicophaeus leschenaultii), black-headed cuckoo shrike (Coracina melanoptera), yellow-wattled lapwing (Vanellus malabaricus), small minivet (Pericrocotus cinnnamomeus) and jungle prinia (Prinia sylvatica) can also be seen here (Islam and Rahmani 2004, Lal et al. 1994, Jathar et al. 2004). Eight species from Biome-10 (Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forests) and 20 Biome-11 Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone) species have been recorded from this sanctuary.

Among reptiles, the king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah), draco or gliding lizards (Draco dussumieri), gliding snake (Chrysopelea ornata) and marsh crocodiles (Crocodylus palustris) are commonly found here (Lal et al. 1994, Jathar et al. 2004).

Threats to the sanctuary come from a coke and cogeneration project, high voltage power lines, manganese mining, a paper mill, tourism, poaching, the Mhadei river diversion project and commercial forestry. Many sites in this protected area have been damaged because of construction of reservoirs and roads, and mining (Jathar et al. 2004). Hunting and livestock grazing are other threats to the wildlife in this protected area (Lal et al. 1994). The towns of Ambikanagara and Kumbharvada and a Tibetian settlement are present inside the sanctuary.

Tribal communities resident in and around the sanctuary include the Gowlies and the Siddhis.


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.

Jathar, G. 1998. Birds of Dandeli. Unpublished data.

Jathar, G., Stanton, D and Apte, D. 2004. Dandeli 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 555-556.

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. Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary. In: Directory of national parks and sanctuaries in Karnataka: Management status and profiles. Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi, India. pp 97-106.

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. 1984. Forest map of South India: Belgaum-Dharwad. French Institute, Pondicherry, India.

Pendharkar, A (in press) .New colony of Wroughton's Free-tailed Bat Otomops wroughtonii in Kawala Caves, Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary. Zoo's Print Journal.

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