Thol Lake Wildlife Sanctuary

Country/territory: India

IBA Criteria met: A1, A4i, A4iii (2004)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 700 ha

Protection status:

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
Thol is an irrigation tank with water storage capacity of about 84 million cubic metres. It was constructed in 1912 during the Gaekwad regime to supply irrigation water to villagers, thus they have the traditional right to use water. Thol is predominantly an open sheet of shallow water of about 1,450 ha command area, surrounded by cropland. The catchment area is nearly 15,500 ha (Pandit 2001). In 1988, this wetland was declared as Thol Bird Sanctuary. Kadi, the taluka headquarters of the district, is just 22 km away from the Sanctuary, 25 km northwest of Ahmedabad. The final settlement of the Sanctuary is still pending. At present, it is under two departments - Forest and Irrigation, which creates problems in management. Thol is an important inland wetland in North Gujarat, and provides excellent habitat to the waterfowl during post-monsoon to winter season. More than 20,000 waterfowl can be seen at the site in winter. The vast open sheet of shallow water and the surrounding crop fields, where the birds are mostly left unmolested, have created a very conducive habitat for birds. There are emergent and floating aquatic plants, mainly in the vicinity of the wetland. Acacia nilotica, A. leucoploea, Zizyphus sp, Azadirachta indica, Ficus sp., Salvadora sp, Prosopis chilensis, Capparis sp. are the important tree species in and around the pond. Some peripheral area has been afforested during recent years (Singh 1998, 2001).

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: Over 150 species of birds are reported from the Sanctuary, of which around 90 species are waterbirds. The site is important for prebreeding congregation and nesting of Sarus Crane Grus antigone. Gopi Sunder et al. (2000) have seen 35 cranes in May 1998. Thol also supports one of the biggest congregations of Ruff Philomachus pugnax. Sometimes 5-6 thousand Flamingos congregate in the Thol lake. Thakker (1983) found 70-80 nests of flamingo, presumably Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber, although he does not mention the species. It is also not proved whether the flamingo bred there or just made the nests and abandoned them, as they do in many other wetlands. Thol is a very important wintering area for waterfowl. For example, approximately 62,000 birds were estimated in December 2000 (Singh 2001).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: In the fields surrounding the Sanctuary, Bluebull Boselaphus tragocamelus, Striped Hyena Hyaena hyaena, Wolf Canis lupus, Golden Jackal Canis aureus and Blackbuck Antilope cervicapra are found. In some parts of Mehsana district, Blackbuck has become a major menace to crops but as the people are generally vegetarian, they do not molest these animals. Nilgai is also common and spreading.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Thol Lake Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 28/11/2020.