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Location India, Rajasthan
Central coordinates 72o 47.08' East  24o 40.83' North
IBA criteria A1
Area 28,884 ha
Altitude 0
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society



Site description Being the only hill station in Rajasthan, Mount Abu is considered one of the most beautiful locations in the state. It comprises the famous Arbuda Hills (1,250-1,700 m) of the Aravalli Range made up of several valleys and steep mountain slopes. Guru Shikhar (1,722 m) in the Arbuda Hills is the highest peak between the Himalaya and the Nilgiri Hills. Mount Abu has a very rich floral diversity with xeromorphic Subtropical Thorn Forest at the foothills to Subtropical Semievergreen Forest along watercourses and valleys at higher altitudes. Due to this wide range of habitats, Mount Abu harbours rich avifaunal diversity. Good populations of Grey Junglefowl Gallus sonnerati and Red Spurfowl Galloperdix spadicea are found in the Sanctuary. Mount Abu is situated in the southwest region of Rajasthan, and separates the Western Desert Region from the Eastern Plateau and hilly terrain. By road, it is 28 km from Abu Road, which is c. 85 km from the district headquarters, Sirohi. The site contains about 830 plant species from 112 families of which 328 species are of medicinal value. Dicliptera abuensis is strictly endemic to Abu. The dominant plant species are Anogeissus sericea, Boswellia serrata, Mangifera indica, Phoenix sylvestris, Ficus bengalensis, other Ficus spp. Carissa opinarum, Caesalpinia spp. and Zizyphus spp.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: Nearly 135 bird species have been reported by Sharma (2002), including two Critically Endangered species, Oriental Whitebacked Vulture Gyps bengalensis and Long-billed Vulture G. Indicus, and two Vulnerable species, Green Munia Amandava Formosa and Pied Tit Parus nuchalis. Mount Abu is a good example of the relict extant natural vegetation of the Aravallis. It lies in Biome-11 (Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone). BirdLife International (undated) has identified 59 bird species from this biome. This biome includes a wide range of habitats, including both forests and open country. Many of the species listed have adapted to man-modified landscapes. Some species have changed their distribution so much that they are also present in other biomes. Nevertheless, 32 out of 59 species of this biome have been recorded. This site is selected as an IBA mainly on the basis of its biome assemblage of birds of Tropical Dry Deciduous and its relict patch of Tropical Semi-evergreen Forests, and also for the presence of good populations of Green Munia and Pied Tit. Green Munia appears to be well distributed in this IBA. Tiwari and Varu (1999) have seen six in agricultural fields near Salgaon area, five near Adhar Devi Temple forest, and three near Teachers’s Training Centre and Kanyakumari Temple. Presence of this globally threatened species was further confirmed by Lodhiya (1999) when he saw it four times near Oriya village, 8 km from Mount Abu, and three times behind Mini Nakki Lake, 2 km from the famous Delwara Temple. Mount Abu WLS has a disjunct population of Grey Junglefowl Gallus sonneratii. They were quite abundant on the Shanti Shikar Hill and Guru Shikar region but are now much reduced in number due to trapping by tribals (Prakash and Singh 1995). This species is not threatened (BirdLife International 2001) but its presence, in the small surviving relict semi-evergreen forests in an otherwise very dry area, is of interest. The nearest other population of this basically south Indian species is Pachmarhi (c. 22° 30’N and 78° 25’E) in Madhya Pradesh (Ali and Ripley 1987). Another taxon worth noting is the Aravalli Red Spurfowl Galloperdix spadicea caurina, a subspecies of the Red Spurfowl (Ali and Ripley 1987). Although the Red Spurfowl is not a threatened species, the Aravalli subspecies has a very small distribution, with Mount Abu as its principal stronghold. Protection of this site is important for the survival of this subspecies.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The most common large mammals in the Sanctuary are Langur Semnopithecus entellus, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Spotted Deer Axis axis and Chowsingha or Fourhorned Antelope Tetracerus quadricornis. Leopard Panthera pardus and Bear Melursus ursinus are occasionally sighted, generally near water holes. Small Indian Civet Viverricula indica, Jungle Cat Felis chaus, Porcupine Hystrix indica, Ratel or Honey Badger Mellivora capensis, Pangolin Manis crassicaudata, Indian fox Vulpes bengalensis and Golden Jackal Canis aureus are the common smaller mammals.

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 
White-naped Tit Parus nuchalis resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Green Avadavat Amandava formosa resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 

IBA Monitoring

2013 very high near favourable medium
  unset
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now whole area/population (>90%) moderate to rapid deterioration very high
Invasive and other problematic species and genes invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - unspecified species happening now whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Pollution air-borne pollutants - type unknown/unrecorded happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high

Shrubland   0 0 good (> 90%) moderate (70-90%) near 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  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  medium 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Mount Abu Sanctuary 28,884 is identical to site 28,884  

Habitats

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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
forestry -
Notes: Plantation
nature conservation and research -
Notes: Nature conservation and research
other -
Notes: Pilgrim centre
tourism/recreation -
Notes: Tourism and recreation
water management -
Notes: Watershed management

Acknowledgements Key contributors: Raza Tehsin, Satish K. Sharma, Sarita Sharma, Satya P. Mehra.

References 

Ali, S. and Ripley, S. D. (1987) Compact Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan (Second Edition). Oxford University Press, Delhi.

BirdLife International (2001) Threatened Birds of Asia: The BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

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

Lodhiya, C. (1999) Sighting of Green Munia (Estrilda formosa) at Mt. Abu. Newsletter for Birdwatchers 39(4): 61.

Prakash, I. and Singh, P. (1995) Some observations on birds of Abu Hill, Aravallis Ranges. Pavo 33 (1&2): 99-110.

Rodgers, W. A. and Panwar, H. S. (1988) Planning a Protected Area Network in India. Vol. 2 Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun.

Sharma, S. K. (2002) Preliminary Biodiversity Survey of Protected Areas of Southern Rajasthan. Pp. 1-23. Unpublished Report.

Tiwari, J. K. and Varu, S. M. (1999) Sighting of Green Munia (Estrilda formosa) in Gujarat and Rajasthan. Newsletter for Birdwatchers 39(2): 29-30.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/12/2014

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