Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary
|Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary|
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
A painted stork in the sanctuary
|Visitors||205,000 (in 1999)|
|Governing body||Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India|
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary (Kannada: ರಂಗನತಿಟ್ಟು ಪಕ್ಷಿಧಾಮ) 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, only 0.67 km2. in area, which is about 40 acres and comprises six islets on the banks of the Kaveri river. Ranganathittu is located three kilometers away from the historic town of Srirangapatna and 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) north of Mysore. The sanctuary attracted about 2.90 lakh visitors during 2011-12, which shows its notability as important bird sanctuary of India.
History of the Park
The islets came into being when an embarkment across the Kaveri river was built in 1648 by the then Mysore King, Kantirava Narasimharaja Wadeyar. The ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali observed that the isles formed an important nesting ground for birds, and persuaded the Wodeyar kings of Mysore to declare the area a wildlife sanctuary in 1940. The Forest Department of Karnataka State is maintaining the bird sanctuary and puts its efforts to improve the sanctuary, which include purchase of nearby private lands to expand the protected area.
The sanctuary with its islets experience heavy flooding during certain rainy seasons when water is released from KRS 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 birds  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, 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, at certain seasons, as many as 40,000 birds congregate in this bird sanctuary and 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, 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 Mysore 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: Mysore (19 km) Nearest Railhead: Srirangapatna Nearest Airport: Mysore Airport Service Starts October 1, 2010 Nearest Highway: Bangalore - Mysore highway
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