Site description (2004 baseline):
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).
The major threat comes from the proposed Humbarli Pumped Storage Scheme (400 MW), as about 25 ha of pristine forest will be submerged by it. This IBA is honeycombed with privately-owned forests and patches of agricultural land. At the periphery of the Sanctuary, the area is being actively promoted as a tourism zone by the Government of Maharashtra. This would create serious environmental problems in the form of increased tourist traffic, water pollution, littering of non-degradable waste and general disturbance. Koyna is a well-known trekking location. Aggressive promotion of tourism in this area would increase the garbage and noise pollution. The topography of the Sanctuary is conducive to high wind velocity, and therefore likely to be considered for exploitation of non-conventional energy. The windmills that dot the landscape are at present away from the boundary of Sanctuary but are likely to come up inside also. The area is rich in medicinal plants that are sustainably exploited by the tribal community called Dunge-dhangar. However, now, pharmaceutical companies have started increasingly exploiting this limited resource.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/site/factsheet/koyna-wildlife-sanctuary-iba-india on 29/09/2023.