Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary

Country/territory: India

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

Area: 8,840 ha

Bombay Natural History Society
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2003 high not assessed not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
Named after the presiding deity of the temple in the area, Someshwara, this Sanctuary comprises two unconnected areas, the smaller being situated to the southwest of the larger part. A rich diversity of flora and fauna has been reported from this highrainfall area. The Kudremukh National Park lies to the southeast of the Sanctuary, which can be approached by rail or road from Bangalore to Shimoga (270 km), and then by road (95 km) via Tirthahalli and Agumbe, which is near the southeastern boundary of the Sanctuary. Someshwara is not a well-known Sanctuary although it has all the features and values of the Western Ghats. It is west of the popular tourist destination, Agumbe, just a treacherous half-hour climb away. The villages of Hebri and Sitanadi border it, and the River Sitanadi passes through it. The Someshwara temple is visited by thousands of devotees every year. Besides, there are several smaller temples in and around this protected area. The Sanctuary has West Coast Tropical Evergreen, West Coast Tropical Semi-evergreen, Southern Secondary Moist Mixed Deciduous Forests, and Dry Grasslands (Champion and Seth 1968). Tree crown density of 40% and above is still found (Lal et al. 1994) in much of the Sanctuary. Some areas had earlier been clearfelled for plantation, but this has now stopped. Apart from plantations of Tectona grandis, Eucalyptus, Casuarina and Cashew, there are also some mixed plantations of native species such as Bombax, Sterculia and Ailanthus.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: L. Shyamal and D. Rajkumar (in litt. 2002), during their bird surveys in March 1995, identified 75 species in the Someshwara and Agumbe area, 58 species in Someshwar alone. Most of them were common species. N. Bhanutej (in litt. 2003) and Lal et al. (1994) have also prepared bird lists of this Sanctuary. Based on the three checklists, the following threatened, restricted range species and Biome-10 species are present in this IBA. The list of threatened and restricted range species of this Endemic Bird Area is rather limited, because not many researchers have ventured into this birdwatchers’ paradise. Much more work needs to be done to identify the avifauna. This site was selected as an IBA due to its great potential to protect most of the restricted range species of the Western Ghats.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Someshwara is known for its population of the endemic Liontailed Macaque Macaca silenus. It also has the usual complement of predators (Tiger Panthera tigris, Leopard P. pardus and Wild Dog Cuon alpinus) and herbivores (Gaur Bos frontalis, Chital Axis axis, Sambar Cervus unicolor and Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak). Recently, Groves (2001) has identified seven species of Langurs from India. There is some doubt whether the Langurs in the rainforests of Karnataka belong to Semnopithecus dussumieri (Southern Plain Gray Langur) or S. hypoleucos (Blackfooted Gray Langur) (Ajith Kumar in litt. 2003).

Not much is known about reptiles, but the King Cobra Ophiophagus hannah is definitely present, along with the Indian Cobra Naja naja, the Indian Rock Python Python molurus and Indian Monitor Lizard Varanus bengalensis (Manjrekar 2000).

Key contributors: Thejaswi Shivanand and the IBA Team.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 25/06/2022.