Jaisamand Lake and Wildlife Sanctuary

Site description (2004 baseline):

Site location and context
The Jaisamand Wildlife Sanctuary is situated 50 km south of Udaipur, amidst lush green valleys of the Aravallis Range. The forest of the Sanctuary used to be a Shikargah (Game Reserve) of the erstwhile Maharanas of Mewar. The world famous Jaisamand Lake forms an integral part of Sanctuary. Jaisamand Lake, one of Asia’s largest artificial aquatic bodies, was constructed by Maharana Jai Singh of Mewar in late 17th century (1691 AD) to provide water for the population of Udaipur. The lake now not only serves this purpose, but also provides an ideal habitat for many local and migratory birds. A small waterbody called the Dhebar Jheel existed here originally. A wall was constructed across the Aravalli to impound several rivers, converting this waterbody into a huge expanse of water with a span of 14 km at certain places. With a circumference of 88 km, the lake covers an area of 2,100 ha. According to folklore, nine rivers and ninety-nine rivulets feed Jaisamand. The lake receives water from four main rivers, the Gomti, Jhamari, Rooparel and Bagaar. The tree species of this IBA are representative of dry deciduous forests, and scrub forests such as Acacia leucophloea, A. nilotica, A. catechu, Tamarindus indica, Phoenix sylvestris, Anogeissus latifolia, A. pendula, Wrightia tinctoria, Azadirachta indica, Boswellia serrata, Sterculia urens and Butea monosperma. The wetland has no major natural macrophytic population but the marginal area have rich growth of Polygonum. The weeds Lantana camara and Parthenium sp. infest the Sanctuary area to a large extent, along with Prosopis chilensis.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: This freshwater lake attracts a large number of migratory and resident birds. The islands with large reed beds provide safe nesting sites. More than 200 bird species are reported from the lake and its surrounding land area (Sharma 2002). The site qualifies Biome-11 criteria. BirdLife International (undated) has identified 59 species in this biome, out of which 27 are found here. Besides these, the lake harbours large congregations of about 20-25,000 Coot Fulica atra, as well as Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus and Greylag Goose A. anser (Raza Tehsin pers. comm. 2003). Species population estimates are not available but it is likely that many species would qualify A4i criteria (populations exceed the 1% threshold of their biogeographic populations). For instance, Wetlands International (2002) estimates that the total population of Common Coot in South Asia is 15,00,000. This IBA supports 1% population. This site is, therefore, selected as an IBA principally based on the A4i and A4iii criteria. It also holds Critically Endangered species such as the Oriental White-backed Gyps bengalensis and the Longbilled G. indicus vultures but these species are widely distributed and Jaisamand does not have particularly significant populations. The wetland and the surrounding forest constitute this IBA.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Leopard Panthera pardus is the top carnivore. Other predators include Jungle Cat Felis chaus and Striped Hyena Hyaena hyaena. Common Langur Semnopithecus entellus is the only primate found in the Sanctuary. Other typical species of dry tropical forest and scrub forest dwellers such as Wild Boar Sus scrofa, Chinkara Gazella bennettii, Spotted Deer Axis axis, Sambar Cervus unicolor and Bluebull Boselaphus tragocamelus can be commonly sighted. Reptiles include: Starred Tortoise Geochelone elegans, Monitor Lizard Varanus bengalensis, Indian Rock Python Python molurus, John’s Earth Boa Eryx johnii, Rat Snake Ptyas mucosus, Common Krait Bungarus caerulus, Indian Cobra Naja naja are also in the Sanctuary.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
MAIN THREATS: Excessive fishing; Boating; Pollution; Encroachment (Island Resorts); Siltation; Weed Infestation (Lantana); Firewood Collection; Poaching; Grazing.

The Sanctuary area is excessively infested by the exotic, Lantana camara, which poses a threat to the local vegetation. Prosopis chilensis, is also degrading the natural habitat. The Department of Forest, Wildlife Wing along with Natural Environment-Education and Development (NEED) Organization, Udaipur conducts annual trekking for the general public and nature camps for school and college students to raise conservation awareness.

Key contributors: Raza Tehsin, Satish K. Sharma, Satya P. Mehra, and Sarita Sharma.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Jaisamand Lake and Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 01/12/2023.