Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary

Country/territory: India

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

Area: 5,000 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
A 60 km stretch of the River Ganga extending from Sultanganj, eastward to Kahalgaon has been notified as the Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary. During monsoon, the river inundates a vast floodplain and the river course also changes a bit. There are many small sandbars inhabited by birds. They serve as breeding grounds for many birds, especially the section from Sultamour to Bhagalpur, a 36 km stretch, which seems to be a paradise for birds and other aquatic animals.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: This site has been selected as an IBA due to the presence of hundreds of Indian Skimmers Rynchops albicollis. Globally threatened species such as the Greater Adjutant Leptoptilos dubius and Lesser Adjutant L. javanicus are also present. Other storks present are the Black Ciconia nigra, Black-necked Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus, White-necked Ciconia episcopus, and the Asian Openbill Anastomus oscitans. The Sanctuary is rich in waders. Common Crane Grus grus, Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia and various ducks are also seen here.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The River Ganga is the lifeline of north India and the Gangetic Dolphin Platanista gangetica epitomizes its life and the wealth of biodiversity in India. This is the only Dolphin Sanctuary to be declared in India. Listed by IUCN as Endangered, included in Appendix-II of CITES, and placed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the dolphin enjoys a high level of protection, nationally and internationally. Yet its numbers continue to decline due to continuing developmental pressures on its habitat.

Key contributors: Sandeep Behera, Arvind Mishra and R. K. Sinha.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 07/10/2022.