Saturday, 5 March 2011

Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary

Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary located in Satara district of the Indian state of Maharashtra. The sanctuary is nested in the Western Ghats, covering an area of around 42.652 km2 (16.468 sq mi) and elevations ranging from 600–1,100 m (2,000–3,600 ft), It was notified in 1985 as a wildlife sanctuary.

It forms the northern portion of the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve, with Chandoli National Park forming the southern part of the reserve. The Vasota Fort lies deep in the forests and is located at an elevation of 1,120 m (3,670 ft) above sea level. The legend states that the fort was constructed by Malwa king Raja Bhoja in 1170. The rivers Koyna, Kandati, and Solashi meander through the sanctuary. It also forms the catchment area for the Koyna River, and the Shivasagar reservoir formed by the Koyna Dam. To the south of the park lies the Chandoli National Park. The sanctuary includes eastern and western catchments of the Koyana dam.
The Sanctuary is well protected by the large extent of Shivasagar reservoir and steep slopes of the Western Ghats on both the sides. This protected area is connected by a forested wildlife corridor to Chandoli National Park and Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary in south. The average altitude is 897 m (2,943 ft). The mean annual rainfall is 5,500 cm (2,200 in).

Flora :
Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary has dense forests with three major sections, Vasota, Maharkhor and Indavli Met, and the sanctuary is endowed with natural protective boundaries, with Shivasagar Lake on one side, and the slopes of the Western Ghats on both the sides. These geographic barriers have enabled the emergence of a wide variety of flora and fauna and high biodiversity in the sanctuary.

Due to the wide range of elevations in the sanctuary, the ecoregions in the sanctuary include North Western Ghats montane rain forests above 1,000 m (3,300 ft) and North Western Ghats moist deciduous forests below. Dominant species are Anjani, Jambul, Hirda, Awala, Pisa, Ain, Kinjal, Amba, Kumbha, Bhoma, Chandala, Katak, Nana, Umbar, Jambha, Gela and Bibba. Karvi is found almost all over the area.

Climbers such as Shikekai, Garambi are common. Some of the threatened species of trees found in the sanctuary are Dhup (Indian frankincense), longan, and Elaeocarpus spp.

Shrubs species and Medicinal plants such as Karvand, Vagati, Ranmiri, Tamalpati, Toran, Dhayati, Kadipatta, Narkya and Murudsheng, along with a small quantity of Bamboo are also found. A large number of ephemeral bulbs of seasonal plants are found.

Fauna :
The sanctuary has a diverse variety of mammals including the keystone species, Bengal tigers (>6). Also, Indian leopards (14), Indian bison (220-250), sloth bears (70-80), sambar deer (160-175), barking deer (180-200) and mouse deer, common Gray langurs, Smooth-coated otters and Indian Giant Squirrels are common.

Many species of birds are found in the sanctuary including the distinctive Heart-spotted Woodpecker, Rufous Woodpecker ,and Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Asian Fairy Bluebird, Long-tailed Nightjar and Crested Goshawk.
The large reptiles, Indian pythons and King cobras are found here. A unique endemic frog Bufo koyanansis has its only habitat in this protected area.

How to reach :
- By rail : Nearest railway station is Kolhapur at 60-km from the sanctuary. 
- By air : Nearest Airport is Kolhapur at 65-km from the sanctuary

Do Visit