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Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary
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Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, located in Kodagu in southern Karnataka was declared a protected area in 1987. It lies between the longitudes 12°29'17.41"E to 12°42'0.04"E and latitudes 75°38'1.97"N to 75°43'5.81"N and covers an area of 102.92 sq km. The topography is marked by steep terrain with waterfalls along its many mountain streams. Several swamps are also present in this sanctuary. Altitude varies from 185-1,713 m with the highest point being the Pushpagiri peak in the north. Temperatures range from 10-38°C, with annual rainfall averaging at 3,732 mm. The sanctuary is one of the largest areas of tropical evergreen forests in Karnataka with nearly 70% of the sanctuary covered with forests. The sanctuary is also the origin of the Kumaradhara river (Lal et al. 1994).

Pushpagiri has dense evergreen and semi-evergreen vegetation, with shola forests and grasslands in areas of higher elevation. The evergreen forests that cover almost 70% of the sanctuary has species such as Dysoxylum malabaricum, Hopea parviflora, Canarium strictum, Sterculia alata, Artocarpus hirsutus, A. integrifolia and Hydnocarpus wightiana. The semi-evergreen forests have a predominance of tree species like Artocarpus lakoocha, Caralia integrima, Elaeocarpus tuberculatus, Cinnamomum zeylanicum and Polyalthia fragrans. The lower storey is dominated by canes, bamboos, Leea sambuciana and, species of Pandanus and Strobilanthus. (MoEF Report 2006). At low elevations, the sanctuary has species like Dipterocarpus indicus, Kingiodendrum pinnatum, Humboldtia brunonis type and at medium elevations, evergreen species like Mesua ferrea and Palaquium ellipticum (Pascal et al. 1982).

This sanctuary is home to many rare and endangered species of wildlife. Three species of primates found in southern India, viz common langur (Semnopithecus entellus), bonnet macaque (Macaca radiate) and lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus) live here. Other mammals like the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), tiger (Panthera tigris), leopard (Panthera pardus), wild dog (Cuon alpinus), jungle cat (Felix chaus), Nilgiri marten (Martes gwatkinsi), otters (Lutra sp.) and small mammals like Indian civets (Viverricula indica) and red giant flying squirrels (Petaurista petaurista) too are found in large numbers (Lal et al. 1994, Shivanand and Ahmed 2004, MoEF Report 2006).

Recognised as an Important Bid Area the sanctuary has a rich bird diversity with 12 species of birds endemic to the Western Ghats found here. 'Vulnerable' species of birds like Nilgiri wood-pigeon (Columba elphinstonii) and 'Near threatened' species like grey-breasted laughingthrush (Garrulax jerdoni), black and orange flycatcher (Ficedula nigrorufa) and Nilgiri flycatcher (Eumyias albicaudata) are found in this sanctuary. Others endemic to the Western Ghats like the blue-winged parakeet (Psittacula columboides), grey-headed bulbul (Pycnonotus priocephalus), Malabar grey hornbill (Ocyceros griseus), white-bellied blue flycatcher (Cyornis pallipes) and small sunbird (Nectorinia minima) can be spotted in this sanctuary (Lal et al. 1994, Shivanand and Ahmed 2004). Twelve of the 15 species listed under the Biome-10 (Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest) have been recorded from here like the Jerdon's nightjar (Caprimulgus atripennis), Ceylon frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger) and Malabar trogon (Harpactes fasciatus) (Islam and Rahmani 2004).

Reptiles commonly seen in this sanctuary include, common cobra (Naja naja), Indian rock python (Python molurus), rat snake (Ptyas mucosus), olive keelback (Atretium schistosum), king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) and bamboo pit viper (Trimeresurus gramineus) (Lal et al. 1994, Shivanand and Ahmed 2004).

The southern end of the sanctuary has areas of depleted vegetation due to overgrazing. Besides, coffee plantations inside the sanctuary too have adversely affected floral biodiversity. Construction of roads, canals and dams like the Nethravathi Diversion Scheme pose serious threats to forest cover (Shivanand and Ahmed 2004). Other threats include land encroachment, poaching, firewood collection by residents of the temple town of Kukke Subramanya and proposed hydroelectric projects (Lal et al. 1994, Shivanand and Ahmed 2004). In March 2006, 2.5 acres of illegal ganja cultivation in the Mandalapatti-Kadamakkal part of the sanctuary was destroyed by a 40 member police squad (PA Update 2006).

The Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited Mangalore-Bangalore Petroleum Pipeline (MBPP) has resulted in deforestation of the elephant corridor between Pushpagiri and Bhadra (PA Update 2001). Crop damage caused by elephants foraying into the agricultural fields surrounding the park has led to increasing human-animal conflicts. The Forest Department is trying to combat the problems through offers of financial compensation. Other measures being taken include, setting up tanks and protective fencing, digging elephant proof trenches, training elephants and desilting the tanks. Similar human-elephant conflicts have been witnessed in Nagarhole National Park and the Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary (PA Update 2005).


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. Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary. In: Directory of national parks and sanctuaries in Karnataka: Management status and profiles . Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi, India. pp 131-134.

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

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

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

PA Update. 2001. Petroleum pipeline disturbs elephant corridor between Bhadra and Pushpagiri. June (30&31).

PA Update. 2005. Elephant depredation; compensation claims increase around Nagarhole NP, Brahmagiri & Pushpagiri WLS. April (54): 10.

PA Update. 2006. Ganja destroyed in Pushpagiri WLS. June (61): 10.

Shivanand, T and Ahmed, A .2004. Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary featured. 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 583-584.

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