Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary

Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC

The Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area located in the Union Territory of Chandigarh, India. It is situated approximately 1 kilometer in the North-East of Sukhna Lake.

The sanctuary was established primarily to conserve the ecological balance of the region, control soil erosion from the Shivalik hills, and protect the diverse flora and fauna that inhabit the area.

The sanctuary has been subject to various soil and water conservation measures, including the construction of check dams, afforestation, and engineering methods to reduce soil erosion from the Shivalik hills.

Table of Contents

  • Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary Location
  • Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary History
  • Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary Area
  • Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary Hills
  • Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary Lake
  • Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary Flora
  • Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary Fauna
    • Mammals
    • Birds
    • Reptile
  • Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC Questions

Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary Location

The Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Sivalik Hills of Chandigarh, India, near Sukhna Lake. It is situated approximately 1 kilometer in the North-East of Sukhna Lake. 

Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary Nearest Airport:

Chandigarh Airport is the closest airport to Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary. It is located in Chandigarh, which is the capital city of the Indian states of Punjab and Haryana. The airport serves both domestic and limited international flights.

Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary Nearest Railway Station:

Chandigarh Railway Station is the nearest major railway station. It is well-connected to various cities across India through the Indian Railways network.

Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary History

The Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary's history is closely linked to the establishment and conservation efforts of the Sukhna Lake catchment area and its surroundings. Here's a brief overview of the sanctuary's history based on the information you provided:

Construction of Sukhna Lake: Sukhna Lake, a rain-fed lake located within Chandigarh, was constructed in 1958. However, in the years following its construction, it became apparent that the lake was experiencing significant siltation due to soil erosion from its catchment area in the Shivalik hills.

High Siltation Rate: In the 1970s, it was observed that the siltation rate of Sukhna Lake was quite high due to heavy soil erosion in its catchment area. This erosion was attributed to the ecologically sensitive and geologically unstable nature of the Shivalik hills. By the year 1988, the lake had lost 66 percent of its original water holding capacity due to siltation, which impacted its functionality and ecological balance.

Soil Erosion Control Measures: To address the issue of soil erosion and siltation, the Forest Department of Chandigarh adopted a series of engineering and vegetative techniques. These measures aimed to minimize and control soil erosion from the hilly catchment area, which was prone to erosion during rainfall. Engineering methods included constructing check dams, retention dams, brushwood structures, revetments, and spurs. Additionally, regular desilting of water bodies and appropriate disposal of the silt were undertaken as part of conservation efforts.

Afforestation and Habitat Development: A crucial step in soil conservation was massive afforestation efforts. Extensive tree planting and vegetation restoration were carried out, which led to the development of a dense forest area in the hilly catchment region. This forested area created an ideal habitat for a wide variety of fauna.

Formation of Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary: As a result of the successful soil conservation measures, coupled with substantial afforestation and the development of a thriving forest habitat, the area was officially designated as the "Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary" in 1998. This designation aimed to protect and conserve the diverse flora and fauna that had established themselves in the rejuvenated ecosystem.

Eco-sensitive Zone: In 2017, the Chandigarh administration had notified to leave a 2-to-2.75-kilometre radius from the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary as eco-sensitive zone.

Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary Area

The Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary covers an area of approximately 2600 hectares, which is equivalent to over 6400 acres. It is a significant nature preserve that serves as a habitat for a diverse range of flora and fauna, contributing to the conservation of the local ecosystem.

This area is ecologically sensitive and prone to soil erosion, making it important for conservation efforts.

Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary Hills

The Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Sivalik Hills of Chandigarh, India. The Sivalik Hills are a range of low mountains and foothills that extend across northern India, including parts of the states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Haryana. 

The sanctuary is situated within these hills, and its landscape is characterized by the unique ecological features of the Shivalik region. The sanctuary's establishment and conservation efforts are closely tied to the preservation of this hilly and ecologically sensitive area.

Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary Lake

The Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary is closely associated with Sukhna Lake, which is a prominent feature of the region. Sukhna Lake is a rain-fed reservoir located in the city of Chandigarh, India. While the sanctuary is primarily situated in the Sivalik Hills, the catchment area of Sukhna Lake also falls within this sanctuary.

The lake was created in 1958 and has a significant role in the conservation efforts and ecological balance of the area. It serves as a habitat for various aquatic and avian species and contributes to the overall biodiversity of the region. The conservation measures and afforestation efforts undertaken in the sanctuary have been aimed at controlling soil erosion in the catchment area, which in turn helps maintain the health of Sukhna Lake.

The Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary and Sukhna Lake together form an important ecosystem that supports a diverse range of flora and fauna. The lake's presence enhances the sanctuary's significance as a habitat for wildlife and contributes to the overall ecological well-being of the region.

Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary Flora

The Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a diverse range of flora, including various trees, shrubs, herbs, grasses, and climbers. Here are some of the prominent plant species that can be found in the sanctuary:

  • Khair
  • Phulai
  • Kikar
  • Raeru
  • Shisham
  • Chhal
  • Neem
  • Semal
  • Dhak
  • Kachnar
  • Amla
  • Tut
  • Jhingan
  • Kendu
  • Musket
  • Amaltas
  • Ber
  • Bana or nirgundi
  • Karaunda
  • Vasaka
  • Giloe
  • Rati

Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary Fauna (Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary Animals)

Which animals are found in Sukhna Sanctuary?

The Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a diverse range of fauna, including mammals, birds, reptiles, butterflies, and other organisms. Here are some of the notable species that can be found in the sanctuary:


  • Sambar Deer
  • Spotted Deer (Chittal)
  • Pangolin (Ant Eater)
  • Wild Boar
  • Jackal
  • Small Indian Civet
  • Jungle Cat
  • Porcupine
  • Hanuman Langur
  • Rhesus Monkey
  • Indian Hare
  • Common Mongoose
  • Common Rat
  • Squirrel


  • Peacock
  • Red Jungle Fowl
  • Grey Partridge
  • Cuckoos
  • Night Jars
  • Golden Oriole
  • Kingfisher
  • Swifts
  • Hoopoes
  • Hornbills
  • Barbets
  • Woodpeckers
  • Rollers
  • Barn Owls
  • Parrots
  • Doves
  • Jacanas
  • Plovers
  • Coots
  • Hawks
  • Geese
  • Swan
  • Ducks
  • Grebes
  • Black Drongo
  • Tree Pie
  • Jungle Crow
  • Bulbul
  • Hill Myna
  • Koel
  • Common Myna


  • Cobras
  • Rat Snakes
  • Common Krait
  • Russell’s Viper
  • Indian Python
  • Common Monitor (Gho)

Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC Questions

Q. In which state is the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary?

A. The Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Union Territory of Chandigarh, India. Chandigarh is a city that serves as the capital of two Indian states, Punjab and Haryana. The sanctuary is situated in the Sivalik Hills of Chandigarh, near Sukhna Lake. It covers an area of approximately 2600 hectares and is known for its diverse flora and fauna.

Q. What is the eco sensitive zone of Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary?

A. In 2017, the administration of the Union Territory (UT) issued a notification designating a 2-to-2.75-kilometre radius around the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary as an eco-sensitive zone.

Q. What is the significance of the Sukhna Lake?

A. Sukhna Lake holds significant importance due to its multifaceted roles and contributions to the region:

(i) Water Resource: Originally created as a reservoir, Sukhna Lake serves as a vital water resource for the city of Chandigarh and its residents. It helps in managing water supply, particularly during dry periods.

(ii) Recreation and Leisure: The lake offers a picturesque and serene environment, making it a popular destination for recreational activities. Residents and visitors alike come to the lake for boating, picnics, and leisurely walks, contributing to the city's social and cultural life.

(iii) Ecological Balance: The lake and its surrounding area create a unique microenvironment that supports various flora and fauna. It contributes to the overall biodiversity of the region and can serve as a natural habitat for various aquatic and avian species.

(iv) Conservation Efforts: The catchment area around the lake has been developed into the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary. Conservation measures taken here, such as afforestation and soil erosion control, have improved the ecological health of the area.

(v) Mitigation of Urban Heat Island Effect: Large water bodies like Sukhna Lake can contribute to reducing the urban heat island effect, where cities become warmer than their rural surroundings due to human activities and infrastructure.

Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary

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