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Location India, Madhya Pradesh
Central coordinates 77o 52.58' East  23o 7.22' North
IBA criteria A1, A4iii
Area 82,384 ha
Altitude 300 - 690m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Ratapani WLS is spread over a vast area in the forests of the Vindhyachal Ranges, north of the Narmada river. Bhopal, the state capital, is about 35 km away. The landscape is undulating, with hills, plateaux, valleys and plains. A number of seasonal streams irrigate the site in the monsoon, and water is retained in some pools along these streams even in the summer. Two large reservoirs, namely Barna Reservoir and Ratapani Dam (Barrusot lake) are among the major waterbodies adjacent to or inside the Sanctuary. The forest of Ratapani is Dry Deciduous and Moist Deciduous type, with Teak Tectona grandis as the main tree species. About 55% of the area is covered by Teak. The remaining mixed forests consist of various dry deciduous species. Bamboo Dendrocalamus strictus overlaps the two aforementioned forest types and covers about one quarter of the forest area (Dwivedi 2003).

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: The Ratapani WLS is rich in the typical wildlife of central India. Not much work has been done on the birds of Ratapani, although frequent visits by birdwatchers to the site provide baseline information on the species seen in and around the site. More than 150 species of birds are reported from Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary (K. Sharma pers. comm. 2003). Oriental White-backed Vulture Gyps bengalensis, Long-billed Vulture Gyps indicus and Red-headed Vulture Sarcogyps calvus are often found perched on a cluster of trees or soaring at great heights in search of food (K. Sharma pers. comm. 2002). The Ratapani dam at the periphery of the Sanctuary invites thousands of migratory birds in winter. There are many smaller reservoirs dotted all over the Sanctuary. The total waterfowl populations in all these smaller reservoirs and Ratapani reservoir would easily exceed 20,000 (A4iii criteria). Moreover, these waterbodies also attract large wading birds such as the Sarus Crane Grus antigone, Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala, Black-necked Stork Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus and White-necked Stork Ciconia episcopus (K. Sharma pers. comm. 2002). The rich diversity in terrestrial species throughout the Sanctuary certainly calls for a proper bird survey of the area. Ratapani retains some of the finest representative forest cover of the Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone (Biome-11). Of the 59 bird species identified by BirdLife International (undated) in this biome, 33 are found in Ratapani, further proving the importance of this site for the protection of biome species. Detailed studies could reveal more bird species.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: This site has almost all the carnivores and herbivores found in dry deciduous forests of central India, such as the Tiger Panthera tigris, Leopard Panthera pardus, and Dhole or Wild Dog Cuon alpinus, Striped Hyena Hyaena hyaena, Jackal Canis aureus and Jungle Cat Felis chaus. The herbivores include Chital Axis axis, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Nilgai Boselaphus tragocamelus, Four-horned Antelope Tetracerus quadricornis and Wild Boar Sus scrofa (Dwivedi 2003). Not much is known about the smaller mammals, reptiles and amphibians.

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 
Indian Vulture Gyps indicus non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Sarus Crane Antigone antigone resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds unknown  2004  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

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

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) very rapid to severe deterioration low
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 hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - persecution/control 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 some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) very rapid to severe deterioration low
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now some of area/population (10-49%) very rapid to severe deterioration high

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Ratapani Sanctuary 82,384 is identical to site 82,384  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   -
Artificial - aquatic   -
Wetlands (inland)   -
Artificial - terrestrial   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture -
Notes: Fishing
tourism/recreation -
Notes: Tourism and recreation
water management -
Notes: Irrigation

Acknowledgements Key contributor: Koustubh Sharma.


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

Dwivedi, A. P. (2003) Protected Areas of Madhya Pradesh. Forest Department of Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

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