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Shettihally Wildlife Sanctuary
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Shettihally Wildlife Sanctuary in Shimoga district of Karnataka was formed in 1974 and occupies an area of 395.6 sq km. It lies between the longitudes 13°43'4.73"E to 14°0'37.3"E and latitudes 75°14'4.96"N to 75°32'18.35"N. The elevation in the region varies from 587-1,035 m and the region receives an annual rainfall of 1,585 mm. The Tunga river, Tunga reservoir, two seasonal springs and several perennial and seasonal lakes inside the sanctuary ensure a good water supply for the forests in this protected area (Lal et al. 1994).

The vegetation type in the sanctuary includes dry deciduous, secondary dry deciduous, evergreen and semi-evergreen rainforests at low elevations. In the dry deciduous forests, species of trees seen include Anogeissus latifolia, Tectonia grandis and Terminalia tomentosa. At low elevations, species found in the evergreen forests are Dipterocarpus indicus and Persea macrantha. Other species of trees found in the forests are Adina cardifolia, Mithragyna pariflora, Pterocarpus marsupium, Syzigium cumini, Pongamia pinnata and bamboo (Pascal et al. 1982).

Mammals that may be spotted in the sanctuary include the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), Indian bison or gaur (Bos gaurus), tiger (Panthera tigris), sambar (Cervus unicolor), chital or spotted deer (Axis axis), wild dog (Cuon alpinus) and leopard (Panthera pardus) (Lal et al. 1994, Ahmed 2004).

This sanctuary has been recognized as an Important Bird Area mainly because of good forest found in patches despite tremendous biotic pressures. While no work has been done on the avifauna, this site is believed to have a number of restricted range, globally threatened and biome-restricted species. Apart from the 'Critically endangered' Oriental white-backed vulture (Gyps bengalensis) other Biome-11 (Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone) species recorded here include the common Indian nightjar (Caprimulgus asiaticus), Indian grey hornbill (Ocyceros birostris), Brahminy starling (Sturnus pogodarium) and the white-bellied drongo (Dicrurus caerulescens) (Ahmed 2004). Other birds sighted here are Malabar pied hornbill (Anthracoceros coronatus), common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), scarlet minivet (Pericrocotus flammeus), purple swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio), red-wattled lapwing (Vanellus indicus) and greater racket-tailed drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus) Other birds like great hornbill (Buceros bicornis), Eurasian golden oriole (Oriolous oriolus), and purple sunbird (Nectarinia asiatica) are also seen here (Lal et al. 1994, Ahmed 2004). The area around the Tunga anicut dam as well as the Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary, which is a small island in the middle of the Tunga river inside the sanctuary, are popular bird nesting sites.

Reptiles seen here include king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) and marsh crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) (Lal et al. 1994, Ahmed 2004).

In the 1950s, long before the zone was declared a protected area by the government, Shettihally had served as a refuge for villagers. Due to the construction of the Hirebhaskar, Mallenur and the Linganamakki reservoirs and the threat of submersion, many villagers had been forcibly evacuated from their lands. The evacuated villagers were shifted to the forest area that is today the Shettihally Wildlife Sanctuary. With 112 villages inside the sanctuary, there have been several cases of human-animal conflicts happening. In addition there is even an industrial complex called Gopala Industrial Layout within the sanctuary premises. The chances of this sanctuary getting denotified is high. Illegal hunting, overgrazing, poaching are serious threats to this protected area (Lal et al. 1994, Ahmed, 2004).


Ahmed, A. 2004. Shettihalli 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 598.

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. Shettihally Wildlife Sanctuary. In : Directory of national parks and sanctuaries in Karnataka: Management status and profiles. Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi, India. pp: 154-160.

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.

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