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The Udanti (24,760 ha) and Sitanadi (55,336 ha) wildlife sanctuaries derive their name from the rivers Udanti and Sitanadi which flow through the respective sanctuaries and form the lifeline of this IBA. They are located in the Brindanawagarh tehsil of Raipur district, and Sihawa-Nagri tehsil of Dhamtari district respectively. Udanti Sanctuary is situated 210 km and Sitanadi Sanctuary is situated 175 km southeast of Raipur. The eastern boundary of Udanti Sanctuary is the interstate boundary between Chhattisgarh and Orissa. The distance between the two sanctuaries is about 30 km, with a corridor of good forest cover. Both these sanctuaries form a compact forest for free movement of wildlife, particularly the Wild Buffalo Bubalus arnee (=bubalis) which is the State Mammal. As they are close to each other, and the bird fauna is very similar, we consider them as one IBA. The forest types are Dry Tropical Peninsular Sal Forest and Southern Tropical Dry Deciduous Mixed Forest. The dominant species is Sal Shorea robusta, mixed with species of Terminalia, Anogeissus, Pterocarpus, and Bamboo. Teak Tectona grandis is also found. In Udanti, Sal forest covers about 34%, miscellaneous forest occupies 61.55% and Teak covers 4.4% (Gabrial 1995). Teak has been introduced into the area by the Forest Department.
AVIFAUNA: More than 125 bird species have been recorded till now (A .M. K. Bharos pers. comm. 2003) but there could be many more. No systematic study on avifuana has been done in this IBA, which lies in Biome-11 and represents Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone. There are not many threatened or endemic species. The site has been selected on the basis of presence of the Vulnerable Green Munia Amandava formosa, which has suffered severe decline due to habitat destruction and illegal trapping (BirdLife International, 2001). Udanti and Sitanadi Sanctuaries could form its stronghold, where its chances of long-term survival are good. Moreover, as they are protected areas, illegal trapping for bird trade could be controlled. Once the Green Munia’s exact habitat requirements are known through research, habitat manipulation could be attempted in this IBA to increase habitat availability. The two Critically Endangered Gyps species of vultures are quite widespread even now. Out of the 59 Biome-11 species listed by BirdLife International (2001), 27 have been seen in this IBA.
OTHER KEY FAUNA: Along with the Indravati Tiger Reserve (another IBA), Udanti and Sitanadi are important refuges for the last few herds of the highly endangered Wild Buffalo. The Tiger Panthera tigris and Leopard P. pardus are at the top of the food pyramid of fauna. Indian Wild Dog Cuon alpinus is another important carnivore, which mainly hunts Chital Axis axis, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Nilgai Boselaphus tragocamelus, Four-horned Antelope Tetracerus quadricornis, Chinkara Gazella bennettii, Barking Deer or Indian Muntjak Muntiacus muntjak, and Wild Boar Sus scrofa and young Gaur Bos frontalis. Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus is quite common, and often mauls villagers. Smaller carnivores include the Jungle Cat Felis chaus, Striped Hyena Hyaena hyaena, Wolf Canis lupus, and Golden Jackal Canis aureus. Not much is known about the reptilian and amphibian fauna of this IBA.
Key contributor: A. M. K. Bharos.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Udanti and Sitanadi Wildlife Sanctuaries. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 05/07/2022.