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Location India, Uttar Pradesh
Central coordinates 82o 9.42' East  27o 44.30' North
IBA criteria A1
Area 45,247 ha
Altitude 120 - 202m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society



Site description The Soheldev Wildlife Sanctuary lies in the Tulsipur tehsil of Balrampur district and Bhinga tehsil of Saravasti district along the Indo-Nepal border. The Sanctuary is approximately 120 km long and 6-8 km broad. Forest areas which constitute the Soheldev Wildlife Division were brought under Government control in 1967. Prior to 1952, only Tulsipur reserve forest of Gonda district and Soheldev reserve forest of Bahraich district were under Government control and the remaining forests were under the control of Balrampur Estate. Soheldev Wildlife Sanctuary was named after Raja Sohel Dev, the local King. The total area of the Sanctuary is 45,200 ha and buffer zone is 22,000 ha. This site has been selected as an IBA on the basis of A1 (Swamp Francolin) and A3 (Biome restricted species) criteria. Soheldev Wildlife Sanctuary falls in the Bhabhar area (lower foothills of the Himalaya). It is Sal Shorea robusta dominated forest, with Acacia catechu, Syzygium cumini, Terminalia tomentosa and grasses of the genera Vetiveria, Themeda, Arundo donax, Imperata and Saccharum. Calamus thickets are found along the river banks. Tectona grandis was planted by the Forest Department but since the Sanctuary was declared, planting has been stopped.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: Owing to great vegetation diversity, the area is a mosaic of diverse habitats, as a result of which faunal diversity is also high. About 40 species of mammals are found in the Sanctuary, but data on birds is lacking. There are a number of water reservoirs within the Sanctuary area, which harbour many waterbirds but a checklist is not available. This area has been listed as a Priority 3 grassland (Katkunya beat), considering the conservation requirements of the Swamp Francolin Francolinus gularis (Rahmani and Islam, 2000). As the site has great potential to host threatened and biome species, it is designated as a Data Deficient site.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Besides Tiger Panthera tigris, Spotted deer Axis axis, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Barking deer Muntiacus muntjak Hog deer Axis porcinus and Bluebul Boselaphus tragocamelus are found in the Sanctuary.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Swamp Francolin Francolinus gularis resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 

IBA Monitoring

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

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming likely in long term (beyond 4 years) 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
Agriculture and aquaculture wood and pulp plantations (includes afforestation) - agro-industry plantations happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Biological resource use gathering terrestrial plants - unintentional effects (species being assessed is not the target) happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Biological resource use logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Sohelwa Sanctuary 45,247 is identical to site 45,247  

Habitats

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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -
Notes: Nature conservation and research
tourism/recreation -
Notes: Tourism and recreation
water management -
Notes: Water management

Acknowledgements Key contributor: V. P. Singh.

References 

Singh, V. P. (2002). Impact of fire on forest in Terai region. Pp. Report submitted to WWF-India.

Rahmani, A. R. and Islam, Z. A. (1997) Prioritization of the Indian Grasslands for Conservation of Biodiversity. In: Setting Biodiversity Priorities for India (eds. Singh, S., Sastry, A. R. K., Mehta, R. and Uppal, V.) WWF-India, New Delhi. Pp. 169-175.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Soheldev Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/08/2015

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