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Location India, Karnataka
Central coordinates 74o 37.60' East  15o 13.45' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 84,316 ha
Altitude 100 - 970m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description At one time, with an area of 5,72,900 ha, Dandeli was one of the largest sanctuaries in Asia. However, in 1987, it was reduced to 83,400 ha. The area was drastically reduced, ostensibly to make it ‘more manageable’, but actually to allocate areas for industrial, mining, and other purposes. At the same time, an area of 25,000 ha in the southern part of the Sanctuary was constituted as the Anshi National Park (an IBA). But the forests of Bhimgad, another IBA, (which were part of the original Sanctuary) have not been notified till now despite the recommendation of the Karnataka Forest Department to re-notify about 55,000 ha as Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary. Forestry operations are still being carried out in the Sanctuary. Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary (an IBA) in Goa adjoins the Sanctuary on its western border. Many rivers pass through these forests, the most important being the Kali. The Sanctuary has a great diversity in habitats, due to which it has a rich assortment of wildlife, especially avifauna. The IBA has forests ranging from Moist Deciduous to Semievergreen, spread over undulating terrain. Teak plantations of various age-class exist in the Sanctuary. The area is also rich in bamboo, and herbs and climbers of medicinal value.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: This Sanctuary harbours more than 285 species of birds (Girish Jathar 1998). David Stanton (in litt. 2003) has recently listed 185 species, including several Restricted Range and Near Threatened ones. Based on three visits to a small portion of this sprawling Sanctuary, Karthikeyan et al. (1993) have listed 155 species. Dandeli is the catchment of the Kali river basin. The river starts above Dudsagar waterfalls in Goa and flows east for about 40 km and then west, it joins the Arabian Sea in Karwar. For a greater part, the river flows through the evergreen forest where Malabar Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros coronatus, Greater Grey-headed Fisheagle Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus and Darter Anhinga melanogaster, all Near Threatened species could be seen (David Stanton in litt. 2003). The river is dammed in many places for hydroelectric purpose. This has created reservoirs that attract hundreds of River Tern Sterna acuticauda, Little, Indian and Great cormorants (Phalacrocorax spp.), Black-headed or White Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus and Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus, the later two being Near Threatened species. Despite reduction in the size, and many development activities, some parts of Dandeli still retain good primary evergreen and semievergreen forest where three species of hornbills Malabar Pied, Malabar Grey Ocyceros griseus and Large Pied Buceros bicornis are not uncommon to find. It is not unusual to see up to 30 Malabar Pied Hornbills flying to their roost in the evening (David Stanton in litt. 2003). The Mountain Imperial Pigeon Dacula badia, and Pompadour Green Pigeon Treron pompadora are not uncommon in undisturbed thick forests. Recently Rasmussen and Anderton (in press) have upgraded the Western Ghats subspecies of Pampadour Green Pigeon (Treron pompadora affinis) in a full species and named it T. affinis. It has to be now considered as restricted range or endemic to the Western Ghats complex and Sri Lanka. The forest habitat of Dandeli is ideal for species of Biome-10 (Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest). BirdLife International (undated) has listed 15 species in the Western Ghats and isolated areas of moist forests in the Eastern Ghats and elsewhere in peninsular India. Eight out of 15 species have been reported till now (Girish Jathar pers. comm. 2003) but more are likely to be found if detailed studies are conducted. Although, Dandeli lies in Biome-10, 20 species of Biome-11 (Indo- Malayan Tropical Dry Zone) are seen, most of them quite common and widespread and hence, not of much conservation concern. Many species listed in Biome-11 have adapted to man-modified habitats, and some species have changed their distribution so much that they occur in other biomes also. This site has been selected as an IBA based on the threatened, restricted range and biome-restricted species found here, perhaps some in significant numbers.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Large mammals found in the Sanctuary are Tiger Panthera tigris, Leopard Panthera pardus, Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus, Asian Elephant Elephas maximus, Gaur Bos frontalis, and Wild Boar Sus scrofa. Other mammals include Wild Dogs Cuon alpinus, Indian Giant Squirrel Ratufa indica maxima, Common Giant Flying Squirrel Petaurista petaurista, Bonnet Macaque Macaca radiata, Common Langur Semnopithecus entellus, Slender Loris Loris tardigradus, Mongoose Herpestes edwardsi, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Chital Axis axis, Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak, Mouse Deer Moschiola meminna. Wroughton’s Free-tailed Bat Otomops wroughtoni was found in June 2002 by Anand Pendharkar (in press), in the Kawala Caves, with a minimum estimate of 500 individuals.

The Sanctuary also harbours various reptiles, including Gliding Lizard Draco dussumieri, Gliding Snake Chrysopelea ornata, King Cobra Ophiophagus hannah and Marsh Crocodile Crocodylus palustris.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis non-breeding  2004  present  A1, A3  Critically Endangered 
Nilgiri Woodpigeon Columba elphinstonii resident  2004  present  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Malabar Parakeet Psittacula columboides resident  2004  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Malabar Grey Hornbill Ocyceros griseus resident  2004  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Rufous Babbler Turdoides subrufa resident  2004  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Crimson-backed Sunbird Nectarinia minima resident  2004  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2003 low not assessed not assessed
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Biological resource use logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: large scale likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) very rapid to severe deterioration low
Energy production and mining mining and quarrying happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) very rapid to severe deterioration low
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - large dams likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) very rapid to severe deterioration low
Residential and commercial development commercial and industrial development likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) very rapid to severe deterioration low
Transportation and service corridors utility & service lines likely in long term (beyond 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Dandeli Sanctuary 47,502 protected area contained by site 47,502  

Local conservation groups The local conservation group below is working to support conservation at this IBA.

Name Year formed
North Karnataka Birders Network 0


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
energy production and mining -
Notes: Mining
forestry -
Notes: Forestry (monoculture)
tourism/recreation -
Notes: Tourism and recreation

Acknowledgements Key contributors: Girish Jathar, David Stanton and Deepak Apte.


BirdLife International (undated) Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Asia: Project briefing book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K., unpublished.

Jathar, G. (1998) Birds of Dandeli, Unpublished.

Karthikeyan, S., Jayanth, M. S. and Hemanth, J. (1993) Birds of Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary. Newsletter for Birdwatchers 33: 83-85.

Pendharkar, A (in press) New colony of Wroughton’s Free-tailed Bat Otomops wroughtonii in Kawala Caves, Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary. Zoo’s Print Journal.

Rasmussen, P. C. and Anderton, J. C. (in press) Birds of South Asia: the Ripley guide. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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