Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary

Country/territory: India

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

Area: 50,000 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
Sunabeda is situated in the Nuapada district of Orissa, adjoining Chhattisgarh State. The Sanctuary harbours a great diversity of wildlife habitats, with a vast plateau and canyons with 11 waterfalls. There are several riparian forests patches where species such as the Giant Squirrel Ratufa indica and the Flying Squirrel Petaurista sp. could be expected (Kotwal 1997). The Sanctuary forms the catchment area of the Jonk river, over which a dam has been constructed to facilitate irrigation. Thirtyfive families in Maragura village within the Sanctuary need to be rehabilitated (Kotwal 1997). The Indra nullah lies to the south and Son River to the west of the Sanctuary. The important vegetation of the site comprises Dry Deciduous Tropical Forest species such as Tectona grandis, Dalbergia sissoo, Boswellia serrata, Adina cordifolia, Diospyros melanoxylon, Emblica officinalis and Terminalia bellerica, as well as semi-evergreen species around the riverine belt such as Terminalia arjuna and Syzygium cumini.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: Around 200 species of birds have been reported from this area (H. K. Bisht in litt. 2002). BirdLife International (undated) has listed 59 species in Biome-11 (Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone), of which 18 have been seen till now, but more are likely to occur. Except for the two Gyps vultures, which are now included in the Critically Endangered category by BirdLife International (2001) due to their steep decline during the last 10 years, none of the other species is threatened with extinction. Biome-11 includes a wide range of habitats, including forests and open country. Many of the species listed have adapted to man-modified habitats. Some species have deviated so far from their earlier distribution that they may not be useful in identifying IBAs for the protection of this biome (BirdLife International, undated).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary has certainly seen better days. It had Swamp Deer Cervus duvauceli branderi and Wild Buffalo Bubalus bubalis (= arnee) (Kotwal 1997). Even now, typical central Indian wild mammals such as Tiger Panthera tigris, Leopard P. pardus, Gaur Bos frontalis, Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus, Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak, Wild Boar Sus scrofa and Bluebull Boselaphus tragocamelus are found, although depleted by poaching. Among the non-human primates, Common Langur Semnopithecus entellus and Rhesus Monkey Macaca mulatta are very common.

Key contributors: P. C. Kotwal and Biswajit Mohanty.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 06/07/2022.