Itanagar Wildlife Sanctuary is unique in the sense that the state capital, Itanagar, is located inside the Sanctuary! The major business town of Arunachal Pradesh was Naharlagun, but the capital was shifted to Itanagar. As the town grew, large-scale deforestation took place. For the expansion of the Itanagar capital complex, c. 43 sq. km area is proposed to be excluded from the Sanctuary, while on the western border, an area of equal size is proposed to be added to the Sanctuary. Out of 14,080 ha, we have designated about 10,000 ha of forest area, excluding the capital city and other settlements, as the IBA. The Sanctuary is located north of the Drupong Reserve Forest. Poma, Pam, Pachin, Neorochi and Chingke are the major streams. The area is entirely hilly, with a few valleys. The forest is a heterogenous mixture of evergreen and semi-evergreen forest types. Pure stands of Bamboo occur all over the IBA.
AVIFAUNA: Even in this disturbed Sanctuary, 182 bird species have been reported (Singh 1994; Kumar 2003). The White-winged Duck Cairina scutulata is likely to occur in the Sanctuary or in the adjoining Drupong Reserve Forest (A. U. Choudhury pers. comm. 2003). Four species of hornbills, the Great Pied Buceros bicornis, Wreathed Aceros undulatus, Oriental Pied Anthracoceros albirostris and Rufous-necked Hornbill Aceros nipalensis occur in the area.
This site is selected as an IBA based on the presence of globally threatened species. The site lies in the Eastern Himalayas Endemic Bird Area (EBA 130). Stattersfield et al. (1998) have listed 21 Restricted Range species in this EBA. There are chances of occurrence of the Broad-billed Warbler Tickellia hodgsoni and Yellow-vented Warbler Phylloscopus cantator. As these species have a much wider winter range, they could be present here. The forests of this IBA could also have Beautiful Sibia Heterophasia pulchella. The site is also important as a centre of environmental education due to its easy accessibility for the citizens of Itanagar.
OTHER KEY FAUNA: This area is known for the presence of threatened mammals such as the Asian Elephant Elephas maximus, Tiger Panthera tigris, Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus, Gaur Bos frontalis and Wild Dog Cuon alpinus. The primates include Assamese Macaque Macaca assamensis, Rhesus Macaque M. mulatta, Capped Langur Trachypithecus pileata and Slow Loris Nycticebus coucang.
Key contributors: R. Suresh Kumar, Bharat Bhushan Bhatt and Anwaruddin Choudhury.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Itanagar Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/09/2022.