Wednesday 13 February 2013

The blackbuck sanctuary

This is one of the smallest sanctuaries around Bangalore and it has the second highest number of Blackbucks in the State. It is just a little more than two and half hours from Bangalore and apart from the Blackbucks you can spot several species of birds and even small animals.
More importantly, the sanctuary is 143 Kms from Bangalore and it is a once in a lifetime experience to see Blackbucks in the wild. Just look at the blackbucks in an enclosure in Bannerghatta and compare them to how carefree they look at the sanctuary.
This is the sanctuary of Jayamangali which is also called as Maidenahalli. This is one of the two Blackbuck conservation reserves in Karnataka, the other one being in Ranebennur and this is the biggest.    
This reserve is only among the two notified protected areas of the Deccan Plateau. The sanctuary is bordered by the village of  Maidenahalli. It is in Madhugiri taluk and is just 20 kms from the border of Andhra Pradesh.
The sanctuary occupies 798 acres comprising of grasslands interspread with Eucalyptus and Acacia auriculiformis. It has the largest contiguous population of Blackbucks (Antilope cervicapra) in south Karnataka.
The blackbucks were noticed in the 1980s and the land then handed over by the Revenue to the Forest Department which then fenced part of the sanctuary, built watch towers and declared it a protected area.
However, it was only in 1997 that 798.33 acres was finally notified by the State Government as conservation reserve. Today, there are nearly 650 blackbucks. Apart from the Blackbucks, 18 species of mammals belonging to 11 families have been recorded in the area such as wolf, Bonnet macaque, Jungle cat, Small Indian Civet, Indian Gray Mongoose, two species of bats and six species of rodents.
The sanctuary is also home to 125 species of birds belonging to 37 families. Of them, 22 are migratory in nature. You can also see Ground birds, shrikes, larks and raptors, Indian Courser (Cursorius coromandelicus) and Painted Sandgrouse (Pterocles indicus indicus).
The Forest Department and wildlife enthusiasts have enumerated
26 species of reptiles in this dry areas and plains, including fourteen different species of snakes.
There are also more than 80 species of plants, many of which have medicinal properties. These plants shelter 67 species of butterflies belonging to seven families.
The climate here varies from season to season. It can be eight degrees during winter and rise to 43 degree Celsius in summer. The rainy season is from late June to mid-October.
Locating the sanctuary is easy. Travel along the Tumkur road and
head to Madhugiri. This is just 23 kms from the sanctuary.
The easiest route is Bangalore City-Dobbespete-Tumkur -Koratgere-Madhugiri and Maidanahalli.
Hindupur in Andhra Pradesh is just 20 km away.

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