Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary

Country/territory: India

IBA criteria met: A1, A2, A3 (2004)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 10,032 ha

Bombay Natural History Society
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2003 not assessed low not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (2004 baseline)
Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary, the name is said to have been derived from an endemic plant, Gluta travancoria, locally known as Chenkurinji, lies on either side of Shendurney river. It is a valley of green splendour, acclaimed for its biodiversity. Located on the north of Kulathupuzha Valley and separated by the Churuttumala Ridge, it is bounded by the Sahyadri range on the east. Most of the Sanctuary area (about 25 km long and 10 km broad) is hilly and interspersed with ravines. There are quite a few rugged and steep peaks, and the Sanctuary is, therefore, inaccessible in many places. Before the advent of the British, the entire region was covered with thick evergreen forests of great timber value. White planters, who took possession of large tracts ostensibly for coffee and tea cultivation, ruthlessly destroyed these forests for timber. Most of the areas have since been reclaimed and brought under forest cover. There is no tribal settlement inside the Sanctuary. However, there are three revenue enclosures inside the Sanctuary. Shendurney encompasses the catchment area of Parapar reservoir (13.72 sq. km), which provides irrigation to Kollam and Pathanamthitta districts. Thick forests, extending to the Tamil Nadu border, assure the perennial flow of water to this reservoir. Shendurney IBA bears most of the forest types found in the southern part of the Western Ghats. It has West Coast Tropical Evergreen, West Coast Semi-evergreen, Southern Moist Mixed Deciduous and Southern Hilltop Tropical Evergreen forests (Working Plan document). The West Coast Tropical Evergreen forest is mostly found in the southeast of the Sanctuary in Umayar, Dharbhakulam, Pattakulam, Kallar and Rockwood areas. The trees are often 50 m high, and the undergrowth is a mixture of canes, palms and ferns. The West Coast Semi-evergreen vegetation generally adjoins the evergreen belt and grows on the banks of the main rivers and streams. In the Southern Moist Mixed Deciduous, Teak Tectona grandis is present occasionally and may be an indicator of secondary succession (Working Plan document). Above 1,000 m, stunted Evergeen forest (sholas), typical of the Western Ghats abound. The height of trees is generally 10-15 m. Common species are Mesua, Hopea, Calophyllum, Cullenia, Syzygium, Cinnamomum, Calamus and Strobilanthus spp. This type of forest occurs in Pandimotta area and in the eastern frontier ridges. Shendurney is an important area for the survival of endemic plants of the Western Ghats. In a study by Sasidharan (1997), out of the estimated 1,272 endemic species of the Western Ghats, 460 are threatened under various threat categories. Hundred species that are under threat are found at this site, including 10 that had been considered extinct. Two new species to science, Polyalthia shendurunii Bash and Sasi, and Ardisia stonei Sasi and Sivar. were described from the Sanctuary.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: Ahmed (1996) has observed 84 species, while in bird surveys organized by Warbler and Waders, an NGO, Susanthkumar (1997) reported 204 species. The Kerala Forest Department also organized bird surveys through NGOs and interested people, from 1995 to 2000, involving 36 participants, during which a combined checklist of 245 species was prepared (Anon. 2000). Almost all the Western Ghats endemics were seen in this IBA. The population of the Vulnerable Nilgiri Wood-Pigeon Columba elphinstonii appears to be high. Small nesting colonies of River Tern Sterna aurantia and Small Indian Pratincole Glareola lactea were found. These two species are becoming uncommon, mainly due to disturbance on the breeding grounds. The site is located in the Western Ghats Endemic Bird Area (EBA) and Biome-10 (Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest). In this EBA, 16 species are listed as endemic or restricted range. Ten species, including two Near Threatened ones, have been found till now. Nine out of 15 species listed in Biome-10 are found here. This site also serves as an important wintering area for migrants from the Himalayas and further north. Tickell’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus affinis, Western Crowned Warbler P. occipitalis, Large-billed Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus magnirostris, Rufoustailed Flycatcher Muscicapa ruficauda, Brown-breasted Flycatcher M. muttui and Blue-headed Rock-thrush Monticola cinclorhynchus are some of the migrants of temperate and subtropical Himalayas commonly seen here. Till now, sixteen species of Biome-11 (Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone) have been seen at this site. Most of them are quite common and widespread, so they fall in Least Concern category of BirdLife International (2001).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Shendurney IBA has almost all the larger mammalian fauna of the southern Western Ghats, such as the Asian Elephant Elephas maximus, Gaur Bos gaurus, Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak, Tiger Panthera tigris, Indian Giant Squirrel Ratufa indica, Liontailed Macaque Macaca silenus and Slender Loris Loris lydekkerianus. It is also known for its endemic butterflies such as the Southern Birdwing Troides minos, Malabar Rose Pachliopta pandiyana, Malabar Tree Nymph Idea malabarica, Red Helen Papilio helenus, Southern Duffer Discophora lepida, Blue Pansy Junonia orithya and Malabar Raven Papilio dravidarum.

Key contributor: The IBA Team.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 26/09/2023.