Saturday, August 19, 2023

Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary

Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC

The Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area located in the state of Gujarat, India. Although it was created mainly to protect the Sloth Bear, the diversity of the wildlife is rich. When a protected area was first declared, it was considerably smaller in extent and was called the Dumkhal Sanctuary

The sanctuary derives its name "Shoolpaneshwar" from a historic temple of Lord Shiva, which once existed in this region on the banks of river Narmada. The temple is now submerged due to the Sardar Sarovar Reservoir. However, a new Shoolpaneshwar temple has since been built near Rajpipla. The word "Shoolpaneshwar" refers to Lord Shiva portrayed as having "Shool" or "Trishul" in his hand i.e. `Pani’.

Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. The forested areas are inhabited by various species of mammals. The sanctuary is also a haven for birdwatchers, as it hosts a variety of bird species, making it a great destination for birdwatching and wildlife enthusiasts.

The sanctuary is an important conservation area due to its location and its role in protecting the flora and fauna of the region. It helps in preserving the natural habitat of many species and contributes to maintaining the ecological balance of the area. 

Table of Contents

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

Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary Location

The Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Narmada district of Gujarat, India. It is situated in the southeastern part of Gujarat, near the border with the state of Madhya Pradesh. 

Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary Nearest Airport:

Vadodara airport, 90 km from the sanctuary, is the closest airport if you choose to fly.

Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary Nearest Railway Station:

Vadodara railway station is the convenient place to disembark at if you are coming to Shoolpaneswar by a train.

Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary History

The Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary's history revolves around its establishment as a protected area to conserve the region's biodiversity and natural resources. Here's a brief overview of its history:

Formation as "Dumkhal Sanctuary": In 1982, the initial iteration of the Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary was established, spanning a modest area of 150.87 square kilometers. At this juncture, it was known as the "Dumkhal Sanctuary." The sanctuary's creation addressed the need to protect vital habitats, particularly for the region's sloth bear population, marking the first steps towards conservation efforts.

Expansion and Transition (1987-1989): Recognizing the growing importance of preserving biodiversity and ecosystems, significant changes were set in motion. Between 1987 and 1989, the sanctuary underwent a substantial expansion, encompassing a sprawling area of 607.70 square kilometers. Simultaneously, it underwent a transformative renaming, becoming the "Shoolpaneshwar Sanctuary." This period marked a pivotal shift towards a more comprehensive approach to conservation.

Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary Area

The Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary covers an area of approximately 607.70 square kilometers. Initially established in 1982 over an area of 150.87 square kilometers, the sanctuary underwent significant expansion between 1987 and 1989, resulting in the substantial increase in its coverage. 

This expansion allowed the sanctuary to encompass a diverse range of habitats, flora, and fauna, contributing to its significance as a conservation area in the Narmada district of Gujarat, India.

Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary River

The Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary is traversed by the Narmada River, one of the major rivers of India. The Narmada River flows through the sanctuary's landscape, enriching the ecosystem and providing a water source that supports the diverse flora and fauna within the sanctuary. 

The presence of the river contributes to the sanctuary's biodiversity by offering habitats for aquatic species, providing water for the wildlife, and shaping the vegetation patterns in the surrounding areas. The Narmada River's influence is not only ecological but also cultural, as it has played a significant role in the region's history and local communities.

Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary Tribe

The Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary area is home to predominantly tribal communities, with the 'Vasavas' being the main tribal community in the region. These tribal communities have a deep-rooted connection with the land and the forest resources, forming an integral part of the sanctuary's cultural and social fabric.

The local population, including the Vasavas and possibly other tribal groups, relies heavily on the forest produce for their socio-economic sustenance. This dependence on the forest encompasses various aspects of their daily lives, from livelihood to cultural practices. The forest provides them with resources for food, medicine, shelter, and other necessities.

One notable example of this dependence is the use of bamboo, which plays a significant role in the lives of these tribal communities. Bamboo is utilized in various spheres of their existence, including construction of houses, making tools and implements, crafting everyday items, and more. The sustainable use of bamboo highlights the harmonious relationship between the local communities and the natural environment.

Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary Flora

The flora of the Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary showcases a diverse range of ecosystems, spanning from semi-evergreen to moist deciduous forests. Within this rich botanical landscape, you can encounter a wide variety of plant species that contribute to the sanctuary's ecological balance and biodiversity. 

Here's an overview of some of the prominent flora species found in the sanctuary:

(1) Timru: Known for its vibrant and fragrant flowers, timru (also known as Tecomella undulata) is a notable presence in the sanctuary's flora. Its bright blooms add a splash of color to the landscape.

(2) Amla (Indian Gooseberry): Amla (Phyllanthus emblica) is an indigenous tree known for its antioxidant-rich fruit, which holds medicinal significance in traditional practices.

(3) Khair: Acacia catechu, commonly known as khair, is a deciduous tree with thorny branches. It's valued for its wood and has traditional medicinal uses.

(4) Aritha (Soapnut): The aritha tree (Sapindus spp.) produces soapnut berries that contain natural saponins and have been used traditionally for their cleansing properties.

(5) Sadad: Sadad (Balanites roxburghii) is a tree with edible fruits and has various uses in local communities, including for its oil-rich seeds.

(6) Tanachh: Also known as the Chinese manjack, tanachh (Xanthophyllum spp.) is a tree that contributes to the sanctuary's biodiversity.

(7) Karanj: Karanj (Millettia pinnata) is a tree with multiple benefits, including its seeds being used for oil extraction and its leaves serving as fodder.

(8) Bamboo: Bamboo (Bambusoideae) is a significant component of the sanctuary's flora, forming vast patches known as bamboo-brakes. Bamboo is integral to local life and used for various purposes, from construction to crafts.

(9) Mahuda: Madhuca longifolia, commonly known as mahuda, is a tree whose flowers are used to produce a sweet-tasting sap, which can be used to make products like honey or fermented beverages.

(10) Bor: Bor (Ziziphus mauritiana) is a thorny tree that produces small, edible fruits and is valued for its shade and wood.

(11) Herde: Herde (Randia dumetorum) is a shrub that produces small fruits and has traditional medicinal uses.

(12) Amaltas: The amaltas tree (Cassia fistula), also known as the Indian laburnum, displays clusters of yellow flowers, adding a vibrant touch to the landscape.

The variety of flowering plants, trees, and shrubs in the Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary underscores the richness of its ecosystem. These plants provide habitats, food sources, and materials for both wildlife and local communities, highlighting the intricate relationship between nature and human societies.

Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary Fauna (Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary Animals)

Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary is famous for which animal?

The Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a diverse array of fauna, reflecting its rich biodiversity and varied ecosystems. Here are some of the notable wildlife species that can be found within the sanctuary:


  • Sloth Bear
  • Leopard
  • Barking Deer
  • Pangolin
  • Indian Porcupine


  • Red Junglefowl
  • Grey Junglefowl
  • Grey Hornbill
  • Crested Serpent Eagle
  • Great Horned Owl


  • Rock Agama
  • Marsh Crocodile
  • Red Sand Boa
  • Russell’s Viper
  • Common Krait

Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC Questions

Q. Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary in which district?

A. The Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Narmada district of Gujarat, India. It spans across the southeastern part of Gujarat and is known for its diverse ecosystems, rich biodiversity, and hilly terrain.

Q. When was the Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary established in Gujarat?

A. The Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat was established in the year 1982. It was created with the aim of conserving the region's biodiversity and providing protection to its unique ecosystems and wildlife. Over the years, the sanctuary has evolved and expanded to encompass a larger area, contributing to its role in nature conservation and ecological preservation.

Q. Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary distance from statue of unity?

A. The distance between the Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary and the Statue of Unity, which is also located in the Narmada district of Gujarat, can vary depending on the specific route taken. Generally, the distance between the two locations is around 35 kilometers  by road.

Q. What is Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary famous for?

A. The Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat, India, is famous for several reasons:

(i) Biodiversity: The sanctuary is renowned for its rich biodiversity, including a diverse range of plant and animal species. Its varied ecosystems, from semi-evergreen to moist deciduous forests, contribute to its significance as a habitat for various wildlife.

(ii) Tribal Communities: The sanctuary is home to tribal communities, with the 'Vasavas' being the predominant tribe. These communities have a deep connection with the land and its resources, showcasing the coexistence of human cultures with nature.

(iii) Flora and Fauna: Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary is known for its diverse flora, including numerous flowering plant species, bamboo groves, and other trees and shrubs. Its fauna includes species like sloth bears, Indian bison, leopards, spotted deer, and various bird species.

(iv) Narmada River: The presence of the Narmada River flowing through the sanctuary adds to its charm, providing water resources for both wildlife and local communities.

(v) Shoolpaneshwar Temple: The sanctuary derives its name from the Shoolpaneshwar Temple located within its boundaries. The temple adds a cultural and spiritual dimension to the area.

Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary

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