Year of compilation: 2004
AVIFAUNA: More than 125 bird species have been recorded till now (A .M. K. Bharos pers. comm. 2003) but there could be many more. No systematic study on avifuana has been done in this IBA, which lies in Biome-11 and represents Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone. There are not many threatened or endemic species. The site has been selected on the basis of presence of the Vulnerable Green Munia Amandava formosa, which has suffered severe decline due to habitat destruction and illegal trapping (BirdLife International, 2001). Udanti and Sitanadi Sanctuaries could form its stronghold, where its chances of long-term survival are good. Moreover, as they are protected areas, illegal trapping for bird trade could be controlled. Once the Green Munia’s exact habitat requirements are known through research, habitat manipulation could be attempted in this IBA to increase habitat availability. The two Critically Endangered Gyps species of vultures are quite widespread even now. Out of the 59 Biome-11 species listed by BirdLife International (2001), 27 have been seen in this IBA.
OTHER KEY FAUNA: Along with the Indravati Tiger Reserve (another IBA), Udanti and Sitanadi are important refuges for the last few herds of the highly endangered Wild Buffalo. The Tiger Panthera tigris and Leopard P. pardus are at the top of the food pyramid of fauna. Indian Wild Dog Cuon alpinus is another important carnivore, which mainly hunts 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 and young Gaur Bos frontalis. Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus is quite common, and often mauls villagers. Smaller carnivores include the Jungle Cat Felis chaus, Striped Hyena Hyaena hyaena, Wolf Canis lupus, and Golden Jackal Canis aureus. Not much is known about the reptilian and amphibian fauna of this IBA.
Udanti Wildlife Sanctuary was mainly constituted to protect the remnant populations of the Wild Buffalo. According to the records of the Udanti Forest Department, a total of 78 animals are found. Kotwal et al. (2002) claim to have seen 27 animals, in 6 herds. There are about 50 villages with more than 16,000 human population and more than 10,000 cattle. Over 50% of Udanti is burnt every year during summer in forest fires set by villagers (Kotwal et al. 2002). This poses a grave threat to all wildlife, especially the ground nesting birds which generally breed during summer. However, the long-term and irreversible threat comes from plans for diamond mining. B. Vijaykumar Chhattisgarh Exploration (BVCE) Co. has already dug out samples from Deobhog area including the Udanti Wildlife Sanctuary, and has also set up its own Kimberlite sample processing laboratory near Mainpur village. This was despite the refusal the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India to grant permission for mining inside the Sanctuary.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Udanti and Sitanadi Wildlife Sanctuaries. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/05/2022.