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Location India, Rajasthan
Central coordinates 74o 25.48' East  23o 55.25' North
IBA criteria A1, A3
Area 42,294 ha
Altitude 0
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society



Site description Sitamata Sanctuary is located in South Rajasthan at a distance of 130 km from Udaipur city in Chittorgarh district. The Sanctuary represents the only teak forest in Rajasthan State, and is known for the presence of an isolated population of Large Brown Flying Squirrel Petaurista petaurista philippensis (Tehsin 1980). Before India’s Independence, the area served as a major supplier of bamboo to the Provinces. On the southeast of the Sanctuary lies Jakham Dam on the River Jakham. High hilly tracts surround it. In the hilly part of the Sanctuary, large colonies of Long-billed Vulture Gyps indicus were present up to the 1990s, but now few are left (Raza Tehsin pers. comm. 2002). The forest of the Sanctuary has mythological importance, as it is the forest where Goddess Sita is believed to have spent her last days after being banished from Ayodhya by Lord Rama. The Sanctuary thus gets its name from her. Inside the Sanctuary, River Jakham distributes its water through rivulets named Luv and Kush that rejoin after passing through the Sanctuary. It is said that the river makes thirteen bends inside the Sanctuary. The flow of these rivulets throughout the year makes the forest lush green in the plain areas, with a crown density of over 40%. The Sanctuary is at the junction of the Aravalli and Vindhyan Ranges, which makes the biodiversity of the Sanctuary very significant. The important woody vegetation of the site comprises of Teak Tectona grandis, Butea monosperma, Diospyros melanoxylon, Emblica officinalis, Wrightia tomentosa, Grewia flavescens, Tamarindus indica, Mangifera indica, Ficus glomerata, Syzygium cumini, Eugenia jambolana with large patches of Bamboo Dendrocalamus strictus.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: The area is quite rich in avifauna, and 178 bird species are reported from the site (Sharma 2002). The site lies in Biome-11 (Indo- Malayan Tropical Dry Zone), where BirdLife International (undated) has listed 59 species in the biome-restricted assemblages. In forests and grasslands of Sitamata, 31 species of this biome have been recognized, hence the site is important for the biomerestricted assemblages (A3 criteria). It also has a small nesting colony of Long-billed Vultures, now much depleted. Five species recognized as Near Threatened are also found here.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The Sanctuary is known for the presence of an isolated population of the Large Brown Flying Squirrel. Other vertebrates commonly seen are Common Langur Semnopithecus entellus, Wild Boar Sus scrofa, Bluebull Boselaphus tragocamelus, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Spotted Deer Axis axis, Chinkara Gazella bennettii, Four-horned antelope Tetracerus quadricornis and Black-naped Hare Lepus nigricollis. The important predators of the Sanctuary are Leopard Panthera pardus, Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus, Wolf Canis lupus, Hyena Hyaena hyaena, Golden Jackal Canis aureus and Indian Fox Vulpes bengalensis. Indian Pangolin Manis crassicaudata and Porcupine Hystrix indica also occur.

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 

IBA Monitoring

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

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  Very little or no conservation action taking place  medium 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Sitamata Sanctuary 42,294 is identical to site 42,294  

Habitats

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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
Notes: Agriculture
forestry -
Notes: Forestry / plantations
nature conservation and research -
Notes: Nature conservation and research
tourism/recreation -
Notes: Tourist and recreation
urban/industrial/transport -
Notes: Human settlements
water management -
Notes: Water management

Acknowledgements Key contributors: R. S. Shekhawat, Satish. K. Sharma and S. P. Mehra.

References 

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

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, Dept. of Forests, Govt. of Rajasthan. Unpublished report.

Tehsin, R. H. (1980) Occurrence of the Large Brown Flying Squirrel and Mouse Deer near Udaipur City. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 77(3): 498.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Sitamata Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 24/11/2014

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