Year of compilation: 2004
AVIFAUNA: About 240 bird species have been recorded from the Sanctuary (G. Jathar pers. comm. unpubl. checklist), though a detailed study on the avifauna has not yet been done. The globally threatened Nilgiri Wood-Pigeon Columba elphinstonii is seen here in small number, especially during the fruiting period. The site lies in the Western Ghats Endemic Bird Area (EBA 123) where Stattersfield et al. (1998) have identified 16 restricted range species. Two have been identified from this site but more are likely to occur here. The site represents Biome-10 (Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest). BirdLife International (undated) has listed 15 species in this biome, out of which five are found here. Many species of Biome-11 (Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone) are also seen, especially at lower elevations where this site merges with the Deccan Plateau. Biome-11 includes a wide range of habitats, including both forests and open country. Many of the species of this biome have adapted to man-modified habitats. Some species have changed their distributions so much that they are found in other biomes also. During winter, many Himalayan forest birds are found here. Indian Blue Robin Luscinia brunnea, belonging to Sino-Tropical Temperate Forest (Biome-7) has been seen here. Some interesting species such as the Ceylon Frogmouth Batrachostomus moniliger have been reported from this Sanctuary (V. Giri pers. comm. 2003). The Yellow-browed Bulbul Iole indica, Dusky Eagle Owl Bubo coromandus, Great Pied Hornbill Buceros bicornis, Black Bulbul Hypsipetes leucocephalus, Speckled Piculet Picumnus innominatus, and Malabar Crested Lark Galerida malabarica are commonly seen here.
OTHER KEY FAUNA: This Sanctuary is well known for its Gaur Bos frontalis population. Other mammal species include Tiger Panthera tigris, Leopard P. pardus, Leopard Cat Prionailurus bengalensis, Slender Loris Loris tardigradus, Mouse Deer Moschiola meminna and the elusive nocturnal Indian Pangolin Manis crassicaudata.
There are some endemic and endangered species of reptiles and amphibians, notably the Malabar Pit Viper Trimeresurus malabaricus, Deccan Ground Gecko Geckoella deccanensis, Gunther’s Cat Skink Ristella guntheri, Beddome’s Lacerta Ophisops beddomei and amphibians such as Rammanela sp., Bombay Bush Frog Philautus bombayensis, and Humayun’s Wrinkled Frog Nyctibatrachus humayuni (V. Giri pers. comm. 2003).
Bauxite mining is the major problem in this Sanctuary. The Indian Aluminium Co. Ltd. (INDAL) has done open cast mining, causing irreparable damage to the fragile ecosystem of the plateau. As these plateaux are rocky, tree growth is limited, so the government believes that they are of no importance. However, these grassy plateaux have their own biological and ecological values, being rich grazing grounds for herbivores and nesting ground for many species of birds. In February 1998, the Mumbai High Court recognizing the biological and watershed values of Radhanagari, passed a stay order against bauxite mining operations in Iderganj plateau by INDAL. This plateau is a watershed of two major reservoirs that were created when the Radhanagari and Kalammawadi dams were constructed. However, the Forest Department is under intense political pressure to allow mining. NGOs like Kalpavriksha, Paryavarni and the Environmental Department of Shivaji University are struggling to have the Sanctuary declared as an Ecologically Sensitive Area.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/05/2022.