IN308
Indravati National Park and Tiger Reserve


Year of compilation: 2004

Site description
The Indravati National Park derives its name from the River Indravati which flows through the Park area and is its lifeline. The Park is located in Dantewada district, which has been carved out of the erstwhile Bastar district. The Park was notified in 1978 and declared as a Tiger Reserve in 1983. It is situated 168 km from Jagdalpur and 468 km from Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh. The forest forms the catchment area of the Indravati, hence it is extremely important to protect it from further anthropogenic ravages. Teak Tectona grandis mixed with bamboo is dominant in the Park. Based on the classification of Champion and Seth (1968), three major forest types are recognized in Indravati: Moist Mixed Deciduous Forest with Teak, Moist Mixed Deciduous Forest without Teak, and Southern Dry Mixed Deciduous Forest. The mixed deciduous forests at the foot and lower slopes of the hills include Adina cordifolia, Anogeissus latifolia, Bombax ceiba, Boswellia glabra, Cassia fistula, Gmelina arborea, Semecarpus anacardium, Shorea robusta, and Tectona grandis. Most trees shed their leaves by mid-February, but there are a few evergreens, notably Cipadessa baccifera, Linociera ramiflora and Mallotus philippensis. Evergreen forests occur in the Kangar Valley, Darba, Kutamsar and along the upper slopes of Bailadila. The vegetation here is dense with trees such as Celtis cinnamomea, Callicarpa arborea, Eurya japonica, Symplocos laurina, Wendlandia heynei and W. gamblei.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: Detailed studies on avifauna have not been done, but A. M. K. Bharos (pers. comm. 2003) during various visits identified more than 125 bird species. There is an unconfirmed record of Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga (Vulnerable). The Near Threatened Greater Grey-headed Fish-Eagle Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus is found around perennial forest streams and rivers. The site lies in Biome-11 representing Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone. Among the Red Data Book (RDB) species, the two Critically Endangered Gyps vultures and Green Munia Amandava formosa are present.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The central Indian population of the globally endangered Wild Buffalo Bubalus arnee (=bubalis) is found in Indravati (apart from Pamed and Udanti Sanctuaries). The common herbivore community comprises Chital Axis axis, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Nilgai Boselaphus tragocamelus, Four-horned Antelope Tetracerus quadricornis, Chinkara Gazella bennettii, Barking Deer or Muntjak Muntiacus muntjak, and Gaur Bos frontalis.

Tiger Panthera tigris and Leopard P. pardus are the top carnivores present in the Park. Other important mammals include the Jungle Cat Felis chaus, Striped Hyaena Hyena hyaena, Golden Jackal Canis aureus, Wolf C. lupus, Indian Wild Dog Cuon alpinus, Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus and Wild Boar Sus scrofa. Common Indian Krait Bungarus caeruleus, Indian Rock Python Python molurus and Indian Cobra Naja naja are the most common reptilies sighted in the Park.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
MAIN THREATS: Livestock grazing; Human settlements; Man-animal conflicts; Disturbance by villagers; Forest fires.

The Wild Buffalo is the most important mammal of this Park. The Forest Department claims having 44 individuals counted, but others say that this is a highly exaggerated figure. Even the figure of 44 individuals is a very low number for any species to survive. Unfortunately, the Government of India, has not given enough attention to preserve the gene pool of this highly useful mammal. Perhaps the only pure Wild Buffalo stock in the world is found in Indravati National Park. Every attempt should be made to protect and enhance this species, even if it involves spending millions of rupees. Another important issue, which will have great impact on the Wild Buffalo habitat, is the plan to construct at least seven hydroelectric projects across the Indravati river. They are Bodhghat, Indra Sarovar, Bhopalpatnam, Inchampalli, Kutru I and Kutru II, Nagur I and Nagur II. Not only will these dams submerge vast tracts of forest, they will also displace thousands of tribals, who will be forced to shift to the Tiger Reserve, especially near water sources which are the main habitat of the Wild Buffalo. Man-animal conflict is bound to increase. The Inchampalli hydroelectric dam project is proposed on the border area of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh states. About 40,000 ha of forest would be clear-felled and 100 villages would be shifted. The proposed site of the dam is near village Somnur in Maharashtra on the confluence of Indravati and Godavari rivers. This project would require forest land from Indravati Tiger Reserve. Most of the villagers are opposed to the projects as they would disrupt their lifestyle and submerge fertile agricultural land. Indravati NP also suffers from Naxalite (Maoist) insurgency, as a result of which Forest Officials have not been able to move freely in the Park. Charaching by tribals is rampant, even small birds are not spared. Sometimes, gangs of poachers dealing with wildlife products (tiger, leopard skins, antlers) involve these tribals in the killing of animals. As the area falls at the border of three states, poachers and smugglers have a free run of the Sanctuary while officers spent time in sorting out administrative details!

Acknowledgements
Key contributors: A. M. K. Bharos and Kishore Rithe.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Indravati National Park and Tiger Reserve. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 24/05/2022.