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Location India, Karnataka
Central coordinates 75o 39.12' East  14o 38.02' North
IBA criteria A1
Area 11,900 ha
Altitude 546 - 762m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Ranebennur Blackbuck Sanctuary, located in Dharwad district of Karnataka state, is one of the few sanctuaries established for the wildlife of the Indian plains. It is about 120 km from Dharwad town. Administratively, it is part of Godag Forest Division, divided into three blocks namely, Hunashi Katti, Hullai and Alalgeri. Alalgeri block is separated from the other two by intervening agricultural lands, dividing the Sanctuary into two areas, about 7 km apart. The Sanctuary is surrounded on all sides by agricultural land owned by the local farmers (Karanth and Singh 1981). This sanctuary harbours the highly endangered Great Indian Bustard Ardeotis nigriceps. Till the 1970s, the whole area was denuded and overgrazed, with very few wild animals left. The Forest Department took on a massive plantation programme.With the protection to the plantation, the beleaguered Blackbuck Antilope cervicapra got some respite from poaching and started increasing in number. When the prey based improved, the Grey Wolf Canis lupus returned to the area. In 1974, the Forest Department declared it a Sanctuary. The vegetation of the Sanctuary is classified as Southern Tropical Thorn Forest, with the tree cover of Acacia sp. and ground cover of Dodonaea, Cassia, Carissa and Lantana species and grass species of Cenchrus and Stylosanthes. Due to afforestation work, Eucalyptus sp. has become established as the dominant tree. Other species used for afforestation are Santalum album, Albizzia lebbek, Cassia sp., Prosopis spp. and Leucaena sp.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: About 90 species are known to occur in the Sanctuary. This site has been selected as an IBA mainly due to the presence of the Great Indian Bustard. Although the bustard population has drastically declined since the 1990s, the area still has potential for recovery if grassland habitat is maintained. Other common birds of the sanctuary are Indian Courser Cursorius coromandelicus, Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus, Montagu’s Harrier C. pygargus, Sirkeer Malkoha Phaenicophaeus leschenaultii, Common Sandgrouse Pterocles exustus, Peafowl Pavo cristatus, Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius and Black Ibis Pseudibis papillosa.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Blackbuck is the star attraction of this Sanctuary, with a population of nearly 1,000. Their main predator is the Grey Wolf while fawns are sometimes killed by Golden Jackals Canis aureus. Jungle Cat Felis chaus and Indian Fox Vulpes bengalensis are other smaller predators, especially for eggs and chicks of the Great Indian Bustard. Striped Hyena Hyaena hyaena is also reported. There are unconfirmed records of Leopard Panthera pardus. Wild Boar Sus scrofa has increased, much to the concern of villagers.

Owing to extensive plantation, forest species are being added to this Sanctuary. Common Langur Semnopithecus entellus and

Slender Loris Loris tardigradus are now seen. In future Spotted Deer Axis axis may also appear.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Great Indian Bustard Ardeotis nigriceps resident  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 

IBA Monitoring

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

Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) very rapid to severe deterioration high
Agriculture and aquaculture wood and pulp plantations (includes afforestation) - agro-industry plantations happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high
Biological resource use gathering terrestrial plants - unintentional effects (species being assessed is not the target) happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
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: subsistence/small scale happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Ranebennur Sanctuary 11,900 is identical to site 11,900  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland   -
Artificial - terrestrial   -
Grassland   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
Notes: Agriculture
forestry -
Notes: Forestry
tourism/recreation -
Notes: Tourism and recreation

Acknowledgements Key contributors: Ullas Karanth, Mewa Singh and Asad R. Rahmani.


Karanth, K. U. and Singh, M. (1981) Status survey Report: Ranebennur Blackbuck Sanctuary. WWF - India, Southern Regional Office, Bangalore. Pp. 59.

Rahmani, A. R. (1989) The Great Indian Bustard: Final Report. Pp. 234. Bombay Natural History Society, Bombay.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Ranebennur Blackbuck Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016

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