Monday, August 21, 2023

Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary

Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC

The Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the state of Maharashtra, India. It is part of the larger Sahyadri Tiger Reserve. It forms the northern portion of the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve, with Chandoli National Park forming the southern part of the reserve.

The sanctuary is named after the Koyna River, which flows through the region. The landscape of the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary is characterized by lush forests, hilly terrain, and the presence of the Koyna Dam, which is an important hydroelectric project. 

The central feature of the sanctuary is the historic Vasota fort, which has a rich history dating back to the 12th century. 

The sanctuary is known for its diverse vegetation, including Southern Tropical Evergreen Forest and Southern Moist Mixed Deciduous Forest. It hosts a range of plant and animal species, including some that are endemic to the Western Ghats region. 

Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary is not only important for its wildlife but also for its ecological significance. The diverse flora and fauna in the sanctuary contribute to maintaining the overall health of the region's ecosystem.

Table of Contents

  • Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary Location
  • Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary History
  • Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary Area
  • Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary River
  • Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary Flora
  • Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary Fauna
    • Mammals
    • Birds
    • Reptile
  • Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC Questions

Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary Location

Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the tehsils of Jawali and Patan in Satara district of western Maharashtra. It extends westwards into the Ratnagiri district. 

The sanctuary is part of the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve and encompasses the eastern and western catchments of the Koyna Dam. It is connected to the Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary to the south via the Chandoli corridor.

Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary Nearest Airport:

The nearest airport to the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary is the Pune Airport (Lohegaon Airport) in Pune, Maharashtra. The distance between Pune Airport and Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary is approximately 150-160 kilometers by road.

Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary Nearest Railway Station:

The nearest major railway station to the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary is Kolhapur (60 km), Maharashtra. 

Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary History

The history of the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary is intertwined with the region's ecological significance and its human interactions over time. Here's an overview of its history:

Early History: The region around Koyna has a long history of human habitation, with evidence of ancient settlements and interactions with nature. Indigenous communities and local tribes have lived in and around these forests for generations, relying on the natural resources for their livelihoods.

Vasota Fort: The Vasota Fort lies deep in the forests and is located at an elevation of 1,120 m (3,670 ft) above sea level. The fort was constructed during 1178-1193, which was taken over by the great Maratha warrior, Chhatrapati Shivaji in 1655 and used as a prison. During the Peshwa regime in 1817 AD, the fort was taken by the British after intense war, which resulted in its destruction. Now only ruins of the fort remain.

Colonial Period and British Interest: During the British colonial era, the Western Ghats region, including the Koyna area, garnered attention due to its diverse flora, fauna, and potential for resource extraction. Logging and forest clearing were common practices during this period, which led to the recognition of the need for conservation efforts.

Post-Independence Conservation: After India gained independence in 1947, there was an increased focus on environmental conservation and protecting the country's natural heritage. This paved the way for the establishment of protected areas, including wildlife sanctuaries, to safeguard the unique ecosystems and species found in the Western Ghats.

Establishment of Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary: The Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary was officially established in 1985 to protect the biodiversity of the region and provide a safe haven for various plant and animal species. The sanctuary was designated as part of the larger Sahyadri Tiger Reserve to contribute to the conservation of the endangered tiger population.

Hydroelectric Development: The Koyna Dam, constructed in the mid-20th century, led to the creation of the Shivasagar reservoir and dramatically altered the landscape of the area. While the dam served important hydroelectric and irrigation purposes, it also resulted in the submergence of some areas and changes in the surrounding ecosystems.

Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary Area

The Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary encompasses a vast area of approximately 423.55 within the Western Ghats region. It extends across both the eastern and western catchments of the Koyna Dam, a significant hydroelectric project. The sanctuary's expanse includes a diverse range of habitats, from dense forests to rolling hills and river courses.

The Shivasagar reservoir, created by the Koyna Dam, forms a natural boundary, providing protection to a substantial portion of the sanctuary's interior. This reservoir serves as a crucial barrier, safeguarding the sanctuary's ecosystems from external disturbances and facilitating the flourishing of wildlife within.

To the south, the Chandoli corridor connects the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary to the Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary. This corridor acts as a bridge for wildlife movement between the two protected areas, promoting genetic diversity and contributing to the overall health of the ecosystems.

The Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary is also a crucial component of the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve, forming its northern segment. This designation underscores its significance in conserving not only the region's charismatic tiger population but also the entire ecosystem that thrives within its boundaries.

Beyond its geographical dimensions, the sanctuary's area symbolizes an ongoing commitment to preservation and conservation. It represents a space where the delicate balance of nature is protected, where history and biodiversity intersect, and where the legacy of the Western Ghats continues to unfold.

Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary River

The Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary is blessed with the presence of several rivers and streams that flow through its diverse landscape. These water bodies not only enhance the sanctuary's ecological richness but also provide vital resources for the myriad species of flora and fauna that call this region home. 

Here are some of the notable rivers and waterways within the sanctuary:

(1) Koyna River:

The sanctuary is named after the Koyna River, which flows through the region. The Koyna River is a significant watercourse and a key feature of the sanctuary. It originates in the Western Ghats and eventually joins the Krishna River. Its waters are a lifeline for both wildlife and human communities in the area.

(2) Shivasagar Reservoir:

The Shivasagar Reservoir is a man-made lake that was formed by the construction of the Koyna Dam across the Koyna River. It serves as a reservoir for water storage, hydroelectric power generation, and irrigation purposes. This vast body of water is surrounded by the sanctuary's lush landscapes, making it an integral part of the ecosystem.

Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary Flora

The Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary is characterized by a diverse range of flora that thrives within its various ecosystems. The sanctuary's vegetation can be broadly categorized into two main types, as classified by Champion and Seth (1968):

(1) Southern Tropical Evergreen Forest: 

This type of forest is characterized by its dense canopy and rich biodiversity. It is dominated by evergreen tree species that retain their leaves throughout the year. These forests are known for their high species diversity and support a wide array of plant and animal life.

(2) Southern Moist Mixed Deciduous Forest:

These forests are a mix of deciduous and evergreen trees. The composition of tree species varies based on factors such as soil type, moisture availability, and altitude. This type of forest experiences a shedding of leaves during certain periods, but some evergreen species maintain their foliage year-round.

Within the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary's flora, several plant species stand out:

  • Anjani Spp.
  • Jambul Spp.
  • Hirda Spp.
  • Awala Spp.
  • Pisa Spp.
  • Ain Spp.
  • Kinjal Spp.
  • Amba Spp.
  • Kumbha Spp.
  • Bhoma Spp.
  • Chandala Spp.
  • Katak Spp.
  • Nana Spp.
  • Umbar Spp.
  • Jambha Spp.
  • Gela Spp.
  • Bibba Spp.
  • Karvi Spp.
  • Shikekai Spp.
  • Garambi Spp.
  • Indian Frankincense
  • Longan Spp.
  • Elaeocarpus Spp.

Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary Fauna (Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary Animals)

For which animal Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary is famous?

Here is a list of some of the fauna species found within the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary:


  • Tiger 
  • Leopard
  • Gaur 
  • Indian Wild Dog 
  • Sloth Bear 
  • Sambar 
  • Barking Deer 
  • Mouse Deer 
  • Indian Giant Squirrel 
  • Common Otter 
  • Common Langur
  • Smooth-coated Otter


  • Heart-spotted Woodpecker
  • Rufous Woodpecke
  • Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker
  • Asian Fairy Bluebird
  • Long-tailed Nightjar
  • Crested Goshawk


  • Indian Python
  • Spectacled Cobra
  • Beddome’s Keelback 
  • Indian Chameleon 
  • Banded Gecko 
  • Dwarf Gecko

Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC Questions

Q. Where is Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary?

A. The Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Satara district of the state of Maharashtra, India. It spans across the tehsils (administrative subdivisions) of Jawali and Patan in western Maharashtra. 

Q. Which fort is located inside the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary?

A. The historical fort located within the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary is the Vasota Fort. This ancient fortress holds significant historical and cultural importance and is a notable attraction within the sanctuary. The Vasota Fort stands as a reminder of the region's historical dynamics and has become a part of the sanctuary's unique landscape, adding to its appeal for both history enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Q. When should I visit Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary?/Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary best time to visit

A. The best time to visit the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary is during the months of June-August, October.

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