INTRODUCTION AND STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE.
The Nagzira wildlife sanctuary is a miraculously preserved “Green Oasis” in the eastern most part of the Maharashtra State and has a great importance from bio-diversity conservation point of view. This sanctuary is locked in the arms of nature and adorned with picturesque landscapes, luxuriant vegetation and serves as living outdoor museum to explore and appreciate nature. This wildlife sanctuary is indeed nature’s priceless asset and beckons one and all to enjoy its picturesque landscape, its scenic beauty, its pure and fresh air. It is really a boon to us and hence we must realise the real worth of this marvelous treasure house of nature and must protect it as a part of our national heritage. It has got immense potentials from bio-diversity conservation point of view and its values are discussed below.
ECOLOGICAL OR ENVIRONMENTAL VALUES: It is an important conservation unit in Central India in general and Vidarbha in particular. It acts a “Green-lung” for the adjoining human settlements and helps in maintaining the environmental balance.
ZOOLOGICAL VALUES: It is home of many endangered species. The vertebrate fauna includes, besides a number of fishes, about 34 species of mammals, about 166 species of birds including migratory land and water birds, about 36 species of reptiles and about 4 species of amphibia. This sanctuary is notable for its wealth of birds and is indeed a bird watcher’s paradise. The zoological values of this sanctuary are briefly given below.
This sanctuary is the abode of, besides innumerable other insects and ants species, about 49 Butterfly species belonging to 9 families, the important species among them are Common Rose, Common Mormon, Lime Butterfly, Common Sailor, Common Indian Crow, Black Rajah etc.
Nearly 34 – species of mammal belonging to about 8 natural orders and 16 families are seen in this sanctuary, out of which about 14 species are of endangered status, namely Tiger, Panther, Jungle Cat, Small Indian Civet, Palm Civet, wolf, Jackal, Sloth Bear, Ratel, Common Giant Flying Squirrel, Gaur, Four Horned Antelope, Mouse Deer, Pangolin.
The avifauna of this sanctuary is it’s most attractive wildlife feature. Well over 166 species belonging to about 16 different orders and 47 families have been recorded here. Also as many as 15 species of migratory birds and about 42 species of local migrants are reported. One remarkable bird, “Bar-headed Goose” which is a winter migrant from Ladakh and Tibet inhabits Chorkhamara tank located adjoining the sanctuary. There are 13 bird species of endangered status including peafowl and the birds belonging to “Accipitridae” family.
This sanctuary is the abode of about 36 species of reptiles belonging to 2 natural orders and 11 families out of which about 6 species are of endangered status namely Indian Rock Python, Dhaman, Indian Cobra, Russel’s Viper, Checkered Keelback and Common Monitor.
This sanctuary is a home of many interesting varieties of frogs and toads like Tree-frog, Bull-frog, Six-toed frog, an uncommon toad; Ramanella montana etc.
vi) Fishes: The Nagzira lake and the other water-bodies in and around this sanctuary abound in many varieties of fresh water fishes.
One of the unique features of this sanctuary is the existence of diverse vegetation type ranging from dry mixed forests to moist forests. Its forests belong to the category of “Southern Tropical Dry Deciduous Forests” – 5A/C3 as per the revised classification of the forests by Champion and Seth. This sanctuary serves as a living repository of various economical, medicinal, aromatic, ornamental plant species. Nearly 200 tree species are seen in this sanctuary.
This sanctuary exhibits an amazing diversity of terrain and the altitude ranges from nearly 30 meters to about 560 meters above the mean sea level, which is the highest point of the sanctuary. The typical geological formations are Sakoli Series having number of formations comprising of phyllites, slates, chlorites etc. and Saucer Series. The rocks of the two groups appear to show difference in chemical composition of lime bearing rocks. The mineralogical difference is that the rocks of Saucer group commonly contain Felspar and Biolite but no chlorite whereas those of Sakoli group contain invariably chlorite, rarely Biolite and no Felspar. All this is coupled with a diversity of terrain having steep ridges, narrow valleys and deep gorges with varying altitude.
This sanctuary forms the catchments of the Nagzira lake, Thadezari Lake, Chorkhamara Lake, Bodalkasa Lake, Rengepar Lake, Murpar Lake, Lendezari Lake, Malutola Lake, Balapur Lake, Pindkepar Lake, Bodbadya Lake etc. Which are important from agricultural point of view. These lakes are also important for fishing purposes.
On the border of the sanctuary, Mohaedo Temple at Pongezira attracts the people from the various parts of the state and also from the adjoining Madhya Pradesh who come in thousands during Mahashivratri.
This sanctuary has got great potential for providing wildlife education and recreation to the people. The major features of wildlife education and recreation are Bison road, Tiger road, Chital road, Circular road, etc. Around 25000 tourists visit this sanctuary every year.