Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary
Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area in India’s Gujarat state, located in the western Satpura Range south of the Narmada River and is 607.7 km2 (234.6 sq mi) large. It shares a common boundary with Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. It encompasses mixed dry deciduous forest, riverine forest, few pockets of moist teak forest, agricultural fields and two water reservoirs. It was established in 1982.
The physical aspect is dominated by Rajpipla hills. Dhanmal is the highest peak in this region. The general slope is towards west. The sanctuary has a vast undulating terrain, lush ever pervading greenery, tall canopy, deep valleys, sombre rocks, gentle streams, and waterfalls. All of these are in the Vindhyan and Satpuran ranges.
The Zarwani Waterfall is deep inside the sanctuary.
The Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary is a part of the North Western Ghats moist deciduous forests ecoregion. The forests are moist deciduous with a few small dry bamboo brakes, a few pockets of moist teak forest in hilly areas, degraded scrub forest, and riverine forest bordering Terav and Narmada Rivers and small water courses. The hilly tract of the sanctuary supports forests harboring floral and faunal elements, which bear similarities to those in the Himalayas and Western Ghats. It is also a major watershed feeding two major reservoirs thus conserving the soil and water. There are vast groves of bamboo, and the sanctuary has 575 species of flowering plants.
The sanctuary was initially established for the protection of the sloth bear. A rusty-spotted cat was sighted for the time in 1991.
The Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary’s herpetofauna includes Indian softshell turtle, Indian flapshell turtle, Bengal monitor, Indian rock python, red sand boa, Indian krait, Russell’s viper, Indian chameleon, rock agama, Brooke’s house gecko, Yellow-bellied house gecko, oriental garden lizard and a small population of Mugger crocodile. Frogs recorded include Ramanella species, Asian common toad, marbled toad, ornate narrow-mouthed frog, Indian skipping frog, Indian tree frog, green pond frog, Indian bullfrog, cricket frog and Indian burrowing frog.
Other mammalian fauna occurring includes leopard, leopard cat, rhesus macaque, chousingha, barking deer, pangolin, chital, large Indian civet, palm civet, Indian porcupine and feral dogs. Locally extinct mammal species include Indian giant squirrel, tiger and gaur.
Birds, including Alexandrine parakeet, grey jungle fowl, red jungle fowl, crested serpent eagle, shikra, sparrow hawk, great horned owl and grey hornbill are found here.
Access and accommodation
The nearest airport is that of Vadodara, which is about 90.0 km (55.9 mi) away. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport at Ahmedabad, which is about 260.0 km (161.6 mi) away, is the nearest international airport. The nearest rail head and bus stand are those of Ankleshwar, which is about 60.0 km (37.3 mi) away. There are rest houses to stay at Bharuch, Dediapada, Rajpipla, and the sanctuary.