Ranibennur Blackbuck Sanctuary
|Ranebennur Blackbuck Sanctuary|
|Location||Haveri District, Karnataka, India|
Ranebennur Blackbuck Sanctuary (119 km²) was declared as a sanctuary mainly to protect blackbucks. It comprises two unconnected portions, an eastern and a western bit. The sanctuary has a core zone of 14.87 km² and a buffer-cum tourism zone of 104.13 km². The area is covered mainly by scrub forest and Eucalyptus plantations, and is also inhabited by the highly endangered Great Indian Bustard and the wolf. However, the Great Indian Bustard has not been sighted in the sanctuary since around 2002 and may be locally extinct. Blackbuck are plentiful with a count of more than 6000 in the 2005 census. Agricultural fields surround the sanctuary. The best time to visit is between October and March for observing the blackbuck, while the bustard is sighted from February to June.
Ranebennur Blackbuck Sanctuary was declared a wildlife sanctuary on the 17th of June 1974 to protect Blackbucks.
This Sanctuary is situated approximately 301 km from Bangalore in Haveri district. It is 8 km from Ranebennur town. It is divided into three blocks viz; Hulathi, Hunasikatti and Alageri for administrative purposes. It has a core area of 14.87 km and a buffer zone of 104.13 km wherein the tourists are allowed.
The original vegetation until 1956 consisted mainly of Acacia, catechu, Prosopis juliflora, Dodonea viscosa and Carissa auriculata. In an attempt to increase vegetation cover in the area, it was planted with eucalyptus and some indigenous species. Today, the top canopy is made up almost only of eucalyptus, along with some Hardwickia, binata and Albizzia amara. The middle and lower storeys consist of Acacia, catechu, Prosopis juliflora, Dodonea viscosa, Acaxia sundra, Zizyphus mauritiana, Lantana camara, Randia sp. and Cassia auriculata. The western portion has more open scrubland. Subabul (leucana leucocephala) has been planted in patches in some parts of the sanctuary. Cassia fistula, neem (Azadirachta indica), Holoptelia integrifolia, Madhuca indica, Ficus sp. and bamboo have been planted along the sanctuary's roads.
The sanctuary is known for its blackbuck and wolf populations. Other mammals include wild pig, fox, jackal, langur, porcupine, common mongoose, hare and pangolin. Hyenas are also found in the Harinigudda area of the sanctuary. The population of blackbuck has seen a constant increase since the establishment of the sanctuary. The Great Indian bustard, a large cursorial bird, which was quite common in the short grass plains and semi-arid areas of the Indian subcontinent 100 years ago, was indiscriminately hunted, and its habitat destroyed, resulting in a drastic decline in its population, until it came under stringent protection in the 1970s. The highest estimate of bustard in the Ranebennur sanctuary is 14 birds. Apart from the Great Indian bustard, avifauna in the sanctuary include peafowl, sirkeer cuckoo, large grey babbler, baybacked shrike and black drongo.
The best time to visit this place is from October to March. A forest rest house on the sanctuary boundary at Gangajala, offers comfortable accommodation with dormitory rooms, single and double rooms.