Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary

Year of compilation: 2004

Site description
The Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary derives its name from Bar and Nawapara forest valleys which are close to each other and situated in the middle of the Sanctuary. The site comes under Raipur Forest Division, and includes the reserved forests in Lawan and Sonakhan Forest Ranges. It is situated 15 km north of block headquarters Pithora on National Highway - 6, 100 km from Raipur town, and is approachable in all seasons. The terrain is generally flat, with some hills varying from 265 to 400 m. There are numerous perennial and seasonal streams - all tributaries of the Mahanadi river. Summer is very hot, and most of these streams dry out. The Forest Department has created some waterholes, where most of the wildlife concentrates in summer. The forest of this IBA can be classified according to Champion and Seth (1968) as Dry Teak, Dry Sal and South Indian Dry Deciduous Mixed Forest. Teak Tectona grandis occurs mainly in Schistose rock and in alluvial banks around rivers and streams (A. M. K. Bharos pers. comm. 2002). The important teak areas are on the Tenduchua hills. Sal Shorea robusta forest occurs mainly around village Gidpuri. Mixed forest areas harbour Bamboo Dendrocalamus strictus, Terminalia sp. and other species.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: More than 110 bird species have been recorded (A. M. K. Bharos pers. comm. 2003). The site lies in Biome-11 representing Indo- Malayan Tropical Dry Zone and therefore its typical bird species are found here. Besides the two Critically Endangered vulture species, this IBA site also has the Vulnerable Green Munia Amandava formosa. Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni is also reported in winter. Out of the 59 Biome-11 species, 25 have been seen here. Most of them are quite common and widespread. This site was selected as an IBA mainly for the Green Munia, which is under tremendous threat from habitat destruction and trapping (BirdLife International 2001, Rajat Bhargava pers. comm. 2002). A small nesting colony of Oriental White-backed Vulture Gyps bengalensis, with 4 active nests, was located in 2001. The population is estimated to be 18 near village Rampur, and there could be more in other parts of the Sanctuary. Near Threatened Greater Grey-headed Fish Eagle Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus is also found near streams.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Barnawapara has the typical biodiversity of central India’s Dry Deciduous Forest, with its complement of well-known large mammals such as the Tiger Panthera tigris, Leopard P. pardus, Gaur Bos frontalis, Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus, Chital Axis axis, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Nilgai Boselaphus tragocamelus, Four-horned Antelope Tetracerus quadricornis, Chinkara Gazella bennettii, Barking Deer or Indian Muntjak Muntiacus muntjak and Wild Boar Sus scrofa. This area is famous for its population of Gaur. Medium sized carnivores are Striped Hyaena Hyaena hyaena, Golden Jackal Canis aureus, Wolf C. lupus and Indian Wild Dog Cuon alpinus.

Jungle Cat Felis chaus represents the small carnivores. Not much work has been done on reptiles, but Indian Rock Python Python molurus and Indian Cobra Naja naja are found here.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
MAIN THREATS: Livestock grazing; Man-animal conflicts; Disturbance to birds; Tourism; Forest fires.

There are 25 forest villages inside the Sanctuary, of which 10 are located in the area presently under the management of the State Forest Development Corporation. Their total population is about 7,000 (Tiwari 1997). The livestock number about 8,500, and share the forest and its produce with wildlife, resulting in disturbance to the natural ecosystems. Man-animal conflict is common, especially involving Sloth Bear and Leopard. The site is a major attraction for tourists and pilgrims, who further deteriorate the conditions. Forest fires, mainly man-made, also pose a threat to the site. These fires are started to facilitate the collection of Mahua flowers and to obtain Tendu leaves. Locals are allowed to collect minor forest produce. Sal seeds and Tendu leaves are collected from all over the Sanctuary. Unfortunately, the time of their collection coincides with the breeding season of most resident birds, and causes disturbance. Traditional hunting by tribals, prevalent in many other sanctuaries, is not a big problem here. Motorized hunting in the night was quite common on the numerous roads that crisscross this Sanctuary before it was declared in 1976, but now it is under control.

Key contributor: A. M. K. Bharos.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 31/03/2023.