Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary
|Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary|
|Sahyadri Tiger Reserve|
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
Catchment area of the Shivsagar Reservoir
|Location||Satara, Maharashtra India|
|Nearest city||Kolhapur and Pune|
|Area||423.55 square kilometres (163.53 sq mi)|
|Governing body||Maharashtra State Forest Department|
|Official name||Natural Properties - Western Ghats (India)|
|Designated||2012 (36th session)|
Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary and natural World Heritage Site, which is located in Satara district of the Indian state of Maharashtra. The sanctuary is nested in the Western Ghats, covering an area of around 423.55 km2 (163.53 sq mi), and elevations ranging from 600 to 1,100 m (2,000 to 3,600 ft). It was notified in 1985 as a wildlife sanctuary situated in Maharashtra. It forms the northern portion of the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve, with Chandoli National Park forming the southern part of the reserve.
The rivers Koyna, Kandati, and Solashi meander through the sanctuary. It also forms the catchment area for the Koyna River, and the Shivsagar 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 Koyna dam.
The sanctuary is well protected by the large extent of Shivsagar 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 the south.
The average altitude is 897 m (2,943 ft). The mean annual rainfall is 5,500 mm (220 in).
The sanctuary has dense forests with three major sections, Vasota, Maharkhor and Indavli Met, and is endowed with natural protective boundaries, with Shivsagar Lake on one side, and the slopes of the Western Ghats on both 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.
Shrubs and medicinal plants such as karvand, agati, 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.
The sanctuary has a diverse variety of mammals including the keystone species, Bengal tigers (>6). Also, Indian leopards (14), Indian gaur (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 sanctuary now has 215 windmills and 10 tourist resorts. An earthen dam is under construction and many trees have been felled. Land inside the sanctuary has been sold. More than 900 land deals have been finalised since 1985.