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Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the tehsils of Jawali and Patan in Satara district, western Maharashtra, covering an area of 42,355 ha and extending westwards till Ratnagiri district. Koyna WLS includes the eastern and western catchments of the Koyna Dam, which is a major hydroelectric project in western Maharashtra, currently generating 2200 MW. The reservoir of the dam is known as Shivasagar. The Sanctuary is well protected to a large extent by the Shivasagar reservoir and steep slopes. The Chandoli corridor connects this Sanctuary to Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary in the south. At the centre of the Sanctuary lies the historical Vasota fort, constructed during 1178-1193, which was taken over by the great Maratha warrior, Chhatrapati Shivaji in 1655 and used as a prison. During the Peshwa regime in 1817 AD, the fort was taken by the British after intense war, which resulted in its destruction. Now only ruins of the fort remain. The vegetation consists of Southern Tropical Evergreen Forest and Southern Moist Mixed Deciduous Forest, as per the classification of Champion and Seth (1968). The Sanctuary hosts a threatened tree species called Narkya Mappia foetida. Euphorbia longana and Elaecoarpus tectorius are other uncommon species. Giant trees such as Harpullia arbore and Turpunia malabarica, endemic to the Western Ghats, are commonly found in this IBA.
AVIFAUNA: No systematic study of the avifauna of Koyna WLS has been done, though the area is rich in avifauna and other biodiversity. Recently, BNHS has undertaken an EIA project in the area and till now 61 bird species have been reported from a small part of the Sanctuary. Indian Blue Robin Luscinia brunnea, a Himalayan bird was seen in this IBA site (A. Akhtar pers. comm. 2003). This is a Biome-7 (Sino-Himalayan Temperate Forest) species. During winter, it is seen in Sri Lanka, hills of the Northeast and southern Western Ghats (Ali and Ripley 1987, Grimmett et al. 1998). This is probably the first record from northern Western Ghats. This IBA site is one of the undisturbed forests of the Western Ghats Endemic Bird Area. Two restricted range species have been seen, but more research is needed to know the full extent of the avian diversity of this IBA.
OTHER KEY FAUNA: Mammals found in the Sanctuary are Tiger Panthera tigris, Panther P. pardus, Gaur Bos frontalis, Indian Wild Dog Cuon alpinus, Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak, Mouse Deer Moschiola meminna, Indian Giant Squirrel Ratufa indica, Common Otter Lutra lutra and Common Langur Semnopithecus entellus.
Reptiles such as the Indian Python Python molurus, Beddome’s Keelback Amphiesma beddomii, Indian Chameleon Chamaeleon zeylanicus, Banded Gecko Geckoella deccanensis, and Dwarf Gecko Cnemaspis sp. are also found.
A unique endemic species of amphibian, the Koyna Toad Bufo koyanensis is reported from this Sanctuary which is the type locality of this species. Other endemic amphibians, such as Indotyphlus, (a Caecilian), Wrinkled Frog Nyctibatrachus sp., and the Bombay Bush Frog Philautus bombayensis are also reported (V. Giri pers. comm. 2003).
Key contributors: Girish Jathar, Varad Giri and Asad Akhtar.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 17/01/2022.