IN307
Gomarda Wildlife Sanctuary


Year of compilation: 2004

Site description
The Gomarda Sanctuary derives its name from the village Gomarda in Sarangarh tehsil of Raipur district. The Sanctuary is 15 km south of Sarangarh on Raigarh-Sarangarh-Saraipali state highway, which bisects the Sanctuary. The terrain is gently undulating, with numerous boulders and rocks, unfit for cultivation, and hence naturally protected. The main water source is the perennial Lath nullah (stream) and two medium sized tanks. The vegetation is typical Tropical Dry Deciduous forest with Teak Tectona grandis, Bamboo Dendrocalamus strictus, Terminalia sp. and other species. The forest was under tremendous pressure from lopping and earlier commercial clear felling and selective cutting. Since the establishment of the Sanctuary, such pressures have been reduced. Nevertheless, the vegetation needs respite from further biotic pressure.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: More than 100 bird species have been recorded (A. M. K. Bharos pers. comm. 2003). The site lies in Biome-11 and therefore, bird species representing Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone are found. The main species of conservation concern is the Green Munia Amandava formosa, which is endemic to India and is decreasing in numbers due to habitat destruction and illegal trapping for trade (BirdLife International 2001, Rajat Bhargava pers. comm. 2003). Gomarda lies within the main distribution range of the Green Munia, so it could be one of the most important sites for long-term conservation of this globally threatened species. Out of the 59 species listed in Biome-11 that are found in India, 27 species have been recorded till now from this IBA site. In the nearby Sarangarh tank, wildfowl are said to be present in large numbers, but we could not get any authentic information.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Like any typical protected area in central India, Gomarda WLS has Tiger Panthera tigris, Leopard P. pardus, Gaur Bos frontalis, Spotted Deer or Chital Axis axis, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak, Nilgai Boselaphus tragocamelus, Four-horned Antelope Tetracerus quadricornis, and Wild Boar Sus scrofa. The Mouse Deer Moschiola meminna could be present, but there is no confirmed record. Jungle Cat Felis chaus, Golden Jackal Canis aureus, and Striped Hyena Hyaena hyaena are also found. There are records of Grey Wolf Canis lupus, especially in the outskirts of the Sanctuary near human habitation and in open areas. There would be many more smaller carnivores but no study has been done.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
MAIN THREATS: Human settlements; Livestock grazing; Firewood collection; Man-animal conflicts; Disturbance created by villagers, tourists and pilgrims; Forest fires.

There are about 6 villages within and 24 villages around the Sanctuary having human population of more than 7,000 and more than 10,000 cattle, which compete with wildlife to share the limited forest resources. Villagers are allowed to collect minor forest produce such as Tendu leaves, honey, fallen timber, grass, and medicinal plants. Beside this, head loads of wood are allowed ‘for personal consumption’ but most of this wood lands up in the market. Over-grazing by cattle is the main problem, and needs to be stopped, at least in some identified core areas. Villagers start fires to facilitate collection of fallen Mahua flowers, which become visible on the dark burnt ground. These fires are set during April- May, the main breeding time for ground-nesting birds such as the Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus, Painted Spurfowl Galloperdix lunulata, Grey Francolin Francolinus pondicerianus and quails (Coturnix spp., Perdicula spp.). Crop damage by ungulates is quite common, especially in forest villages. Killing of livestock by Leopard and Tiger creates resentment among the villagers most of them are very poor. Cattle kill compensation should be implemented at the earliest to minimize their antagonism. Charaching is still a problem at the periphery of the Sanctuary, which is completely surrounded by human habitation. When the animals go out in search of food, they fall into traps and snares. This problem could be minimized if free grazing by cattle is stopped, so that wild ungulates have more food inside the Sanctuary. The possibility of shifting the six forest villages should be explored. It would be good for both the wildlife and the poor villagers who live a pathetic life without medical, educational, transport and other facilities. However, this translocation should be done only with their active consent and by providing them good cultivable land and alternative livelihoods.

Acknowledgements
Key contributor: A. M. K. Bharos.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Gomarda Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/05/2022.