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Location India, Maharashtra
Central coordinates 73o 15.60' East  19o 31.30' North
IBA criteria A1, A3
Area 30,481 ha
Altitude 70 - 300m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary is located 90 km northeast of Mumbai, in the foothills of the Sahyadris (Western Ghats). It extends over Wada, Shahapur and Mokhada talukas of Thane district. It has two rivers, the Tansa and Vaitarna, and the Sanctuary gets its name from the former which divides the Sanctuary into two parts. The Sanctuary forms the catchment area of Tansa lake, along with the surrounding forests of Khardi, Vaitarna, Wada and Shahapur ranges. The reservoir on the River Tansa occupying an area of c. 20 sq. km is under the administration of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Tansa reservoir, along with Vaitarna and Bhatsa reservoirs, is the major sources of water to the megacities of Mumbai and Thane. Five revenue villages located geographically within the Sanctuary, donot form part of the Sanctuary. More than 100 villages are found in the periphery of the Sanctuary, many dependent on the Sanctuary for livelihood. Within Tansa Sanctuary, there is a fort at Mahuli, situated on a 762 m high hill top, indicating the area’s historical importance. The Sanctuary has Southern Tropical Moist Deciduous Forest, with a few patches of Evergreen forest. The dominant species are Teak Tectona grandis, Khair Acacia katechu, Kadam Mitragyna parvifolia, Adina cordifolia, Mahua Madhuca indica, and Red Silk Cotton Bombax ceiba.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: About 212 bird species have been recorded from Tansa (S. Laad pers comm. 2003; Maharashtra Forest Dept Unpubl. Checklist 1996). Besides the two Critically Endangered Gyps species of vultures, the Vulnerable Pallas’s Fish-Eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus is also seen here. The site also qualifies for Biome-11 criteria, as 19 out of 59 species of this biome can be easily seen here. If detailed studies are conducted, many more species would be added.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Little work has been done on the fauna of this Sanctuary (Singh and Pradhan 1992). Tiger Panthera tigris is occasionally sighted.

Two were sighted in Suryamal Range by tribals and forest authorities in 1986. The Leopard Panthera pardus is quite common.

Other members of the Felidae family reported by Singh and Pradhan (1992) are the Indian Desert Cat Felis silvestris, Jungle Cat F. chaus, Leopard Cat F. bengalensis and Rusty-Spotted Cat Prionailurus rubiginosus. However, Desert Cat and Rusty-spotted Cat need further confirmation.

Other mammal species present at Tansa are Golden Jackal Canis aureus, Striped Hyena Hyaena hyaena, Wild Boar Sus scrofa, Fourhorned Antelope Tetracerus quadricornis, Chital Axis axis, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak, Mouse Deer Moschiola meminna and Black-naped Hare Lepus nigricollis.

Indian Porcupine Hystrix indica, Ruddy Mongoose Herpestes smithii, Small India Civet Viverricula indica and Indian Pangolin Manis crassicaudata are the common smaller mammals.

Among reptiles, Indian Pond Terrapin Melanochelys trijuga, Common Indian Monitor Lizard Varanus bengalensis, Indian Rock Python Python molurus, Trinket Snake Elaphe helena and Rat Snake Ptyas mucosus are common.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Pallas's Fish-eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis non-breeding  2004  present  A1, A3  Critically Endangered 
Indian Vulture Gyps indicus non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 

IBA Monitoring

2013 medium not assessed medium

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Biological resource use logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Forest   0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A comprehensive and appropriate management plan exists that aims to maintain or improve the populations of qualifying bird species  Unknown  medium 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Tansa Sanctuary 30,481 is identical to site 30,481  


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -
Notes: Nature Conservation
water management -
Notes: Catchment area of reservoirs

Acknowledgements Key contributor: Sunil Laad.


Singh, D. F. and Pradhan, M. S. (1992) Vertebrate fauna of Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary, Maharashtra. Rec. Zool. Surv. India 91(3-4): 449-470.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016

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