Sita Mata Wildlife Sanctuary
|Sita Mata Wildlife Sanctuary|
A view of Sita Mata sanctuary
|Area||422.95 sq km|
|Established||November 1, 1979|
The Sita Mata Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary situated in the southeast portion of the Pratapgarh district in Rajasthan, India, declared as a protected forest area by the Government of Rajasthan Notification No. F 11 (9) Revenue/8/79, dated 2/11/1979. It is a dense forest, with an area of 422.95 square kilometers, which is about 40% of the total land area of the district. The land is undulating because of the confluence of three different formations — Malwa Plateau, the Vindhyachal Hills and Aravali mountain ranges.
The sanctuary is located between 74 degrees 25' E and 24 degrees 04' N in the Pratapgarh district of Rajasthan.[clarification needed] The average elevation ranges between 280 and 600 metres above mean sea level with an average rainfall of 756 mm annually. The temperature variation during winter is between 6 and 14 degrees Celsius and in summer is between 32 and 45 degrees.
The thickly wooded Sita Mata Wildlife Sanctuary sprawls over the Aravali ranges and the Malwa plateau, with the seasonal rivers Jakham, Karmoi, Sitamata, Budhho, and Tankiya flowing through the forest. Jakham is the largest. It is located about 45 km from Pratapgarh and 108 km from the divisional headquarters. Udaipur, the sanctuary, covering 423 km2 of mainly dry deciduous vegetation has exceptionally rich flora and fauna. The Champion and Seth forest type of Sita Mata is "IInd Dry Tropical Forest".
Pratapgarh is well connected with major cities in Rajasthan, Gujarat & Madhya Pradesh by road. Daily bus services connect pratapgarh with Chittorgarh (110 km), Banswara (85 km), Udaipur (165 km), Dungarpur (195 km), Rajsamand (133 km), Jodhpur (435 km), Jaipur (432 km) in Rajasthan; Ratlam (85 km), Mandsaur (32 km) in M.P. and Delhi (705 km). Pratapgarh is yet to be connected with a railway line. The nearest railway stations are Mandsaur (M.P.) (28 km) & Chittorgarh (110 km). Dabok Airport (Udaipur) is 145 km.
Flora and fauna
Trees and herbs
It is the only forest region where more than half of the trees are high building value teak. These include salar, tendu (Diospyros melonoxy Roxb.), bad, peepal, babool, neem, arinja (Acacia leucophaea), siras, churail, kachnar, gulmohar, amaltas, bakayan, ashok, mahua, semal, goondi, khejadi (Prosopis spicigera), kumta (Acacia rupestris), amla, bamboo, sindoor, chironjee, rudraksha and bel trees.
Of the 108 varieties of high value medicinal herbs found here, 17 are endangered.
A large number of residential and migratory birds are found in this region, nearly 130 varieties. Little grebe, little cormorant, Indian darter (snake bird), gray heron, pond heron, cattle egret, little egret, painted stork, white-necked stork, spoonbill, lesser whistling thrush, ruddy shelduck, pintail, cotton teal, spotbill, nukta, parah kite, shikra, white-eyed buzzard, king vulture, white-backed vulture, tawny eagle, white scavenger vulture, eastrel, black partridge, rain quail, jungle bush quail, Indian peafowl, sarus crane, white-breasted waterhen, moorhen, purple moorhen, common coot, pheasant-tailed jacana, red-wattled lapwing, red shank, wood sandpiper, common sandpiper, little stint, black-winged stilt, stone-curlew, Indian courser, river tern, common sandgrouse, green pigeon, blue rock pigeon, red turtle dove, Indian ring dove, spotted dove, little brown dove, Alexandrine parakeet, rose-ringed parakeet, blossom-headed parakeet, common hawk-cuckoo, pied crested cuckoo, koel, crow pheasant, spotted owlet, collared scops owl, Franklis nightjar, house swift, palm swift, pied kingfisher, common kingfisher, white breasted kingfisher, green bee-eater, blue tailed eater, blue-cheeked bee-eater, Indian roller, European roller, hoopoe, gray hornbill, coppersmith, golden backed woodpecker, yellow fronted pied woodpecker, Indian pitta, red winged bush lark, ashy crowned finchlark, rufous tailed finchlark, crested lark, dusky crag martin, wire-tailed swallow, red-rumped swallow, gray shrike, bay-backed shrike, rufous backed shrike, golden oriole, black drongo (king crow), white-bellied drongo, brahminy myna, rody paster, common myna, bank myna, Indian tree pie, house crow, jungle crow, black-headed cuckooshrike, scarlet minivet, common iora, red-vented bulbul, common babbler, yellow-eyed babbler, large grey babbler, gray headed flycatcher, red-breasted flycatcher, white browed fantail flycatcher, paradise flycatcher, Franklin's ween warbler, tailorbird, lesser whitethroat, Indian robin, crested bunting, magpie robin, brown rock chat, collared bush chat, pied bush chat, large cuckooshrike, wood shrike, grey tit, yellow-cheeked tit, yellow headed wagtail, grey wagtail, white wagtail, purple sunbird, white-eye, house sparrow, weaver bird, red avadavat, white-throated munia, scaly-breasted munia, are a few varieties that are common to this forest region.
The flying squirrel (Petaurista philippensis) can be seen gliding from one tree to another around sunset in the Arampura forest, 17 km away from Dhariyawad. Its feeding activities are nocturnal and therefore it hides during the day time in its hollow in a Mahua tree. The best time to watch flying squirrels is between February and March, when most of the mahua trees shed their leaves and it is easier to spot the squirrel gliding between branches of leafless trees.
There are a variety of deer at the sanctuary, including the Chousingha (four-horned antelope) and spotted deer. Caracals, wild boars, pangolins, Indian leopards, striped hyenas, golden jackals, foxes, jungle cats, porcupines, wild bears, and neelgai are other animals found here. In the wild life census conducted on 17 May 2011, the number of wild animals in the sanctuary was 1711, including 10 leopards, 538 jackals, 38 hyenas, 39 foxes, 117 jungle cats, etc.
A study of biodiversity of the sanctuary was conducted in 2010 by Kanhaiya Lal Meena, Vimala Dhaka, and Prakash Chandra Ahir.
A survey has been taken to document ethnobotanical information on plants used by the natives to construct their huts and hamlets. At least 31 different species are used to construct of various types of huts and hamlets in the sanctuary.
In 2014, a book was published, Flora of Wildlife Sanctuary, by Dr. K. L. Meena and published by Discovery Publishing House PVT. Ltd, New Delhi.
It deals with the floral resources of the area of southern Rajasthan, the Vindhyachal Mountains and the Aravalli region of Rajasthan. The description of species provided is based on personal observations of the author, and 653 species belonging to 427 genera and 117 families have been presented. Special attention has been given to the information on nomenclature, identification and critical evaluation of species. Ecological notes along with phenology and ethnobotanical importance have been incorporated to almost all the taxa.
The information on the medicinal plants spreads over 20 pages, and covers various tribal communities from the sanctuary's use of them as remedies. There are still hundreds of rare herbs and medicinal plants waiting to be found and identified in this region.
The book has 76 illustrations and more than 161 coloured photographs. 9 new taxa have been added to the flora of Rajasthan. The data has been provided in form of a table, with figures and colour photographs to illustrate the findings.
Asiatic Lion Reintroduction Project
The Indian lion, which used to occur in Rajasthan, is now confined to Gujarat. Sita Mata Sanctuary had been considered as a place to relocate some lions, but the availability of prey was deemed to be negligible. Also, the area was prone to human disturbance.
It houses ancient Valmiki Ashram (the birthplace of Luv and Kush, the twins born to Sita and Lord Rama), the Hanuman and Sitamata temples, and other places of historical and mythological importance. Another place of interest in the sanctuary, 5 km from Tikhi Magri, is Lakhiya Bhata, where drawings of prehistoric animals are engraved on rocks. There is a fair held in the sanctuary at the Sita Mata temple every July.
Proposals for being declared as National Park
Initiative was taken by the ex-collector & district magistrate of Pratapgarh, in assistance with the local member of parliament and forest officials by Hemant Shesh, to get the sanctuary declared as a national park, for which proposals are underway.[when?]
- Collins' Handguide to the birds of Indian sub-continent, Martin W. Woodcock, William Collins Sons & Co., London, 1980
- The book of Indian Birds, Salim Ali, 1972
- The birds of India, T.C. Jerdon, 3 vols.1862-64
- A synopsis of the Birds of India and Pakistan, S.Dillon Ripley, 1961
- A Study of Avifauna of the Rajasthan State (India), Dr. Dhirendra Devarshi, 2004
- "Pratapgarh, Rajasthan".
- "Department of forest, Pratapgarh".
- Kanhaiya Lal Meena, Vimala Dhaka, Prakash Chandra Ahir. 2013. "Traditional Uses of Ethnobotanical Plants for Construction of the Hut and Hamlets in the Sitamata Wildlife Sanctuary of Rajasthan, India." Journal of Energy and Natural Resources. Department of Botany, M. L. V. Government College Bhilwara 311001, Rajasthan, India. Vol. 2, No. 5, 2013, pp. 33–40.
- Johnsingh, AJT (1 February 2006). Field Days: A Naturalist's Journey Through South and Southeast Asia. Universities Press. pp. 126–138. ISBN 978-81-7371-552-5. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
- Meena, K. L. & Yadav, B. L. 2008. Floral resources of Rajasthan with special reference to Sitamata wildlife sanctuary.
- Geographical aspects. Proceedings of the 35th National conference of Rajasthan geography Association. MLV Government College, Bhilwara. Vol. IX, pp. 6-65.
- Meena, K. L. 2014.Flora of Wildlife Sanctuary. Discovery Publishing House Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi.
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