Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary
|Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary|
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
A painted stork in the sanctuary
|Location||Mandya, Karnataka, India|
|Area||40 acres (16 ha)|
|Visitors||304,000 (in 2016–17)|
|Governing body||Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India|
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, also known as Pakshi Kashi of Karnataka, is a bird sanctuary in the Mandya District of the state of Karnataka in India. It is the largest bird sanctuary in the state, 40 acres (16 ha) in area, and comprises six islets on the banks of the Kaveri river. Ranganathittu is located 3 kilometers away from the historic town of Srirangapattana and 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) north of Mysore. The sanctuary attracted about 3 lakh visitors during 2016–17.
History of the Park
Ranganathittu's islets were formed when an embankment across the Kaveri river was built between 1645 and 1648 by the then king of Mysore, Kanteerava Narasimharaja Wadiyar. These islets, originally numbering 25, soon started attracting birds. The ornithologist Salim Ali observed that the islets formed an important nesting ground for a large variety of birds, and persuaded the king of Mysore to declare the area a protected area in 1940. The sanctuary is currently maintained by the Forest Department of Karnataka and efforts are on to improve the sanctuary, which include purchase of nearby private lands to expand the protected area. In 2014, around 28 square km of area around the sanctuary was declared as an eco-sensitive zone, meaning that certain commercial activities cannot take place without the government’s permission.
The sanctuary with its islets experience heavy flooding during certain rainy seasons when water is released from Krishna Raja Sagara dam upstream, due to heavy rains. During heavy flooding boating is suspended and tourists are allowed to watch the nesting birds from a distance. Frequent flooding has also damaged some portions of three islands over past few decades.
Natural History of the Park
Riverine reed beds cover the banks of the islands, while the islands themselves are covered in broadleaf forests, with dominant species being Terminalia arjuna (Arjun tree), bamboo groves, and Pandanus trees. Eucalyptus and acacia trees have also been planted, which might lead to long-term eradication of native species. The endemic and threatened lily Iphigenia mysorensis of the family Colchicaceae also grows in the sanctuary.
Roughly 170 bird species have been recorded here. Of these, the painted stork, Asian openbill stork, common spoonbill, woolly-necked stork, black-headed ibis, lesser whistling duck, Indian shag, stork-billed kingfisher, egret, cormorant, Oriental darter, spot-billed pelican and heron breed here regularly. The great stone plover, and river tern also nest here. The park is home to a large flock of streak-throated swallows. During the months of January and February, more than 30 species of birds are found and the season of the sanctuary is from November to June. About 50 pelicans have made Ranganathittu as their permanent home.
During winter months, starting from mid-December, as many as 40,000 birds congregate in this bird sanctuary. Of which, some birds come from Siberia, Latin America and parts of north India. Ranganathittu is a popular nesting site for the birds and about 8,000 nestlings were sighted during June 2011.
The islands are host to numerous small mammals, including bonnet macaque, smooth coated otter, colonies of flying fox and common small mammals like common palm civet and Indian gray mongoose and the monitor lizard. The mugger crocodile or marsh crocodile is a common inhabitant of the riverine reed beds and Ranganathittu has largest fresh water crocodile population in Karnataka state.
Ranger-guided boat tours of the isles are available throughout the day, and are a good way to watch birds, crocodiles, otters, and bats. There is no lodging at the tiny sanctuary, so visitors typically have to stay over at Mysuru or Srirangapatna. The seasons for visiting the park are: June–November (during the nesting season of the water birds). The best time to watch migratory birds is usually December but it can vary year to year.
The Salim Ali Interpretation Centre, maintained by Forest Department, screens a 4- minute documentary to special interest groups.
- Nearest Town: Srirangapatna (3 km)
- Nearest City: Mysuru (19 km)
- Nearest Railhead: Srirangapatna
- Nearest Airport: Mysore Airport (25 km)
- Nearest Highway: Bangalore – Mysuru highway (2 km)
- "From Here and There". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
- "Karnataka News : Rs. 1 crore sanctioned for developing Bonal Bird Sanctuary near Surpur". The Hindu. 8 January 2011. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
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- Shivakumar, M. K. (24 April 2017). "Ranganathittu draws over 24 lakh tourists since 2008-09". The Hindu. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
- "Heavy rainfall causes flooding in Ranganathittu bird sanctuary". The Hindu. 25 October 2005. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
- Arasu, Sibi (3 August 2019). "Ranganathittu bird sanctuary braces for the monsoon". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
- R, Krishna Kumar (4 May 2009). "Ranganathittu gets a new look". The Hindu. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
- "Bird Checklist – Mysore Nature". www.mysorenature.org. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
- "Ranganathittu reports record revenue". The Hindu. 9 January 2012. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
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- DHNS (10 June 2011). "8,000 nestlings sighted at Ranganathittu". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
- TNN. "Sanctuary crocs fear extinction". The Times of India mobile edition. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
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