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Location India, Uttar Pradesh
Central coordinates 78o 42.58' East  26o 42.58' North
IBA criteria A1, A4iii
Area 63,500 ha
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description The Chambal WildLife Sanctuary lies in the three states, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, stretching from Kota in Rajasthan to the confluence of Chambal river with the Yamuna in Uttar Pradesh, extending 600 km and encompassing a total area of 63,500 ha (Scott 1989). The Chambal is a perennial river originating in the Vindhya Range in Madhya Pradesh. Within the Sanctuary, the river flows through areas of deeply eroded alluvium, rapids over rock beds, sand banks and gravel bars along with steep banks and bends. Numerous temporary watercourses provide a variety of habitats (Scott 1989). In Uttar Pradesh, the Sanctuary lies in Agra and Etawah districts, with an area of 63500 ha. Out of this, 23500 ha is forest land and the rest belongs to Gram Samaj (village council), Revenue and private land holders. The Chambal Sanctuary was mainly created to provide protection to the endangered Gharial Gavialis gangeticus and the Gangetic Dolphin Platanista gangetica. The Chambal River forms the core of the sanctuary, and the sandy beach and forested areas along the banks to a distance of one km form the buffer zone. In Uttar Pradesh, it covers 180 km stretch of Chambal river.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: The area is of importance for both resident and migratory waterfowl, especially Common Teal Anas crecca, Northern Pintail A. acuta, Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus, Brahminy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea, Red-crested Pochard Rhodonessa rufina, and Indian Skimmer Rynchops albicollis. Small numbers of Black-necked Stork Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus, Common Crane Grus grus, Sarus Crane G. antigone, and Black-bellied Tern Sterna acuticauda are also found along the river (Scott 1989). National Chambal Sanctuary is one of the most important bird areas in India, being the breeding site of the Indian Skimmer. This wetland has been listed as a Priority V (high priority) wetland, i.e., a wetland with high ecological and socioeconomic potential but poor data availability (Samant 2000).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: This Sanctuary was established to rehabilitate the Gharial. Good protection during the last 30 years has also benefited the Smooth Indian Otter Lutra perspicillata, the Marsh Crocodile Crocodylus palustris and the Gangetic Dolphin Platanista gangetica.

Terrestrial mammals seen are the Nilgai Boselaphus tragocamelus, Wild Boar Sus scrofa, Porcupine Hystrix indica, Black-naped Hare Lepus nigricollis, Indian fox Vulpes bengalensis and Golden Jackal Canis aureus. The Indian Wolf Canis lupus is reported from the surrounding areas. There are reports of Chinkara Gazella bennettii also from some drier areas. As fishing is totally prohibited (to safeguard the food of Gharial, Marsh Crocodile, Otter and Dolphin), the fish fauna has improved.

Chambal is also famous for several species of turtles such as Lissemys punctata, Chitra indica, Kachuga kachuga, K. dhongoka, K. tentoria, Trionyx gangeticus and Hardella thurjii.

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 
Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga winter  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Sarus Crane Antigone antigone resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Indian Skimmer Rynchops albicollis breeding  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds unknown  2004  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

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

Biological resource use fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Energy production and mining mining and quarrying happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high
Pollution air-borne pollutants - type unknown/unrecorded happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads happening now some of area/population (10-49%) very rapid to severe deterioration high

Wetlands (inland)   0 0 moderate (70-90%) good (> 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  Unknown  medium 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
National Chambal Sanctuary 63,500 protected area contains site 63,500  


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
Notes: Agriculture
forestry -
Notes: Reserve Forest
nature conservation and research -
Notes: Nature conservation and research
tourism/recreation -
Notes: Tourism and recreation

Acknowledgements Key contributors: K. S. Gopi Sunder, Asad R. Rahmani, R. K Sharma and R. G. Rao.


Scott, D. A. (1989) A Directory of Asian Wetlands, WWF, IUCN, ICBP and IWEP, Gland, Switzerland.

Samant, J. S. (2000) Prioritisation of Biological Conservation sites in Indian Wetlands. In: Setting Biodiversity conservation priorities for India. (eds. Singh et al. WWF-India, New Delhi, India. Pp.155-167.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: National Chambal Wildlife Sanctuary (Agra/Etawah). Downloaded from on 28/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife