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Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary is located 90 km northeast of Mumbai, in the foothills of the Sahyadris (Western Ghats). It extends over Wada, Shahapur and Mokhada talukas of Thane district. It has two rivers, the Tansa and Vaitarna, and the Sanctuary gets its name from the former which divides the Sanctuary into two parts. The Sanctuary forms the catchment area of Tansa lake, along with the surrounding forests of Khardi, Vaitarna, Wada and Shahapur ranges. The reservoir on the River Tansa occupying an area of c. 20 sq. km is under the administration of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Tansa reservoir, along with Vaitarna and Bhatsa reservoirs, is the major sources of water to the megacities of Mumbai and Thane. Five revenue villages located geographically within the Sanctuary, donot form part of the Sanctuary. More than 100 villages are found in the periphery of the Sanctuary, many dependent on the Sanctuary for livelihood. Within Tansa Sanctuary, there is a fort at Mahuli, situated on a 762 m high hill top, indicating the area’s historical importance. The Sanctuary has Southern Tropical Moist Deciduous Forest, with a few patches of Evergreen forest. The dominant species are Teak Tectona grandis, Khair Acacia katechu, Kadam Mitragyna parvifolia, Adina cordifolia, Mahua Madhuca indica, and Red Silk Cotton Bombax ceiba.
AVIFAUNA: About 212 bird species have been recorded from Tansa (S. Laad pers comm. 2003; Maharashtra Forest Dept Unpubl. Checklist 1996). Besides the two Critically Endangered Gyps species of vultures, the Vulnerable Pallas’s Fish-Eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus is also seen here. The site also qualifies for Biome-11 criteria, as 19 out of 59 species of this biome can be easily seen here. If detailed studies are conducted, many more species would be added.
OTHER KEY FAUNA: Little work has been done on the fauna of this Sanctuary (Singh and Pradhan 1992). Tiger Panthera tigris is occasionally sighted.
Two were sighted in Suryamal Range by tribals and forest authorities in 1986. The Leopard Panthera pardus is quite common.
Other members of the Felidae family reported by Singh and Pradhan (1992) are the Indian Desert Cat Felis silvestris, Jungle Cat F. chaus, Leopard Cat F. bengalensis and Rusty-Spotted Cat Prionailurus rubiginosus. However, Desert Cat and Rusty-spotted Cat need further confirmation.
Other mammal species present at Tansa are Golden Jackal Canis aureus, Striped Hyena Hyaena hyaena, Wild Boar Sus scrofa, Fourhorned Antelope Tetracerus quadricornis, Chital Axis axis, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak, Mouse Deer Moschiola meminna and Black-naped Hare Lepus nigricollis.
Indian Porcupine Hystrix indica, Ruddy Mongoose Herpestes smithii, Small India Civet Viverricula indica and Indian Pangolin Manis crassicaudata are the common smaller mammals.
Among reptiles, Indian Pond Terrapin Melanochelys trijuga, Common Indian Monitor Lizard Varanus bengalensis, Indian Rock Python Python molurus, Trinket Snake Elaphe helena and Rat Snake Ptyas mucosus are common.
Key contributor: Sunil Laad.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/09/2022.