Sunday, October 1, 2023

Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary

Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC

The Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area located in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh in India. This sanctuary is known for its rich biodiversity and is home to a variety of flora and fauna, including several endangered species. 

The sanctuary is characterized by its diverse ecosystem, which includes tropical and subtropical evergreen forests, bamboo forests, and grasslands. It is home to numerous species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

The sanctuary is also known for its birdlife, with over 300 species of birds recorded here. Birdwatchers can spot a wide range of avian species, including hornbills, pheasants, eagles, and many more.

Visitors interested in exploring this natural paradise should take note of the best time to visit, which is between October and March, as well as the nearest transportation options, including the railway station in Tinsukia and the airport in Dibrugarh.

The Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary indeed appears to be a valuable ecological treasure, offering a unique and pristine natural environment for both wildlife enthusiasts and researchers.

Table of Contents

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

Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary Location

The Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the  Lower Dibang Valley district of Arunachal Pradesh, India. It is situated in the eastern part of the state. 

This protected area is part of the Eastern Himalayas and is known for its rich biodiversity and unique natural beauty.

Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary Nearest Airport:

The nearest airport to the Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary is the Dibrugarh Airport (Mohanta Bordoloi Airport), which is located in Dibrugarh, Assam. Dibrugarh Airport is approximately the closest airport to access the sanctuary.

Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary Nearest Railway Station:

As for the nearest railway station, the Tinsukia Railway Station in Tinsukia, Assam, is the most convenient option for reaching the Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary by train. Tinsukia is the nearest major town with rail connectivity to the sanctuary.

Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary History

The Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary has a history closely tied to its establishment as a protected area for the conservation of biodiversity. Here is a brief overview of the history of the Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary:

Establishment: The sanctuary was formally established in the year 1980. It was designated as a wildlife sanctuary to protect the rich flora and fauna of the region. The sanctuary's creation was driven by the need to conserve the unique and diverse ecosystem found in this part of Arunachal Pradesh.

Geological Origins: The Mehao Lake, one of the prominent features of the sanctuary, is believed to have originated as a result of the 1950 earthquake. This natural lake is now an integral part of the sanctuary and provides habitat for various species of wildlife.

Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary Area

The Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary covers an area of approximately 281.5 square kilometers (109 square miles). This protected area is spread over hilly terrain and features various types of forests, including tropical evergreen forests, bamboo forests, and grasslands.

The sanctuary area is known for its rich biodiversity and is home to a wide range of wildlife species, making it an important conservation area in the region.

Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary River

The Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary is home to several perennial fast-flowing streams and rivers that drain through the sanctuary's hilly terrain. Some of the notable rivers and streams within or adjacent to the sanctuary include:

(1) Iphipani River:

This is one of the rivers that flow through the sanctuary. It is a fast-flowing perennial river that adds to the sanctuary's ecological significance.

(2) Eje River:

The Eje River is another watercourse within the sanctuary. It contributes to the sanctuary's water resources and supports the diverse flora and fauna in the region.

(3) Eme River:

The Eme River is yet another water body that is part of the sanctuary's ecosystem. These rivers, along with their tributaries, provide water sources for the wildlife and contribute to the overall biodiversity of the sanctuary.

(4) Aba River:

This is another notable river in the vicinity of the sanctuary. Rivers like the Aba are crucial for the overall health of the ecosystem and are often lifelines for various species of wildlife.

(5) Difu River:

The Difu River is also associated with the sanctuary's landscape. These rivers and streams collectively form a network of water bodies that are essential for the flora and fauna within the sanctuary.

The Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary is located on the windward side of the Eastern Himalayas, which means it receives heavy rainfall from both the southwest and northeast monsoons. This rainfall, along with the contribution of these rivers and streams, plays a crucial role in shaping the sanctuary's landscape and maintaining its ecological balance. 

The sanctuary also forms a part of the catchment area of the Brahmaputra River, further emphasizing its importance in the region's hydrology.

Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary Lake

The Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary is home to several lakes, with the two most prominent ones being Mehao Lake and Sally Lake:

(1) Mehao Lake:

Mehao Lake is the larger of the two lakes within the sanctuary. It covers an area of less than 200 hectares and is situated at an altitude of approximately 1,640 meters above sea level. This lake is a significant feature of the sanctuary and is believed to have originated as a result of the 1950 earthquake. It provides habitat for various aquatic species and serves as a water source for the surrounding wildlife. Mehao Lake is known for its scenic beauty and is a point of interest for visitors to the sanctuary.

(2) Sally Lake:

Sally Lake is smaller in size, covering an area of about 2 hectares. It is situated at a lower altitude, approximately 520 meters above sea level. While smaller in size compared to Mehao Lake, Sally Lake also contributes to the overall ecosystem of the sanctuary and supports local biodiversity.

Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary Flora

The Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary boasts a diverse range of flora due to its varying altitudes, which give rise to different forest types. Here are some of the notable flora found within the Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary:

(1) Tropical Evergreen Forests (Up to 900m):

In the lower altitudes of the sanctuary, you can find tropical evergreen forests. Some of the key tree species in this forest type include Hollock (Terminalia myriocarpa), Khokan (Duabanga grandiflora), Mekai, Simul, Titachampa (Michelia champaca), and Gamari (Gmelina arborea).

(2) Sub-Tropical & Temperate Forests (Above 900m to 1800m):

As you move to higher altitudes, the forest type transitions to sub-tropical and temperate forests. Common tree species in this zone include Ainus nepalensis, Populus amblei, Castanopsis indica, Quercus griffithii, Michelia species, and others.

(3) Temperate Broadleaf Forest (1800M to 2800m):

At higher elevations, you'll find temperate broadleaf forests with tree species like Quercus griffithii, Betula alnoides, Cophis teeta (a medicinal plant), and R. anthropogon.

(4) Temperate Conifer Forest (2800m to 3500m):

In the highest reaches of the sanctuary, you can encounter temperate conifer forests. These forests may include species such as Tsuga abies, Pinus roxburghii, Taxus baccata, Picea abies, and various types of bamboo.

(5) Bamboo and Canes:

Bamboo and cane species are also common in the sanctuary. One notable variety is Dendrocalamus hamiltonii, found in abundance.

(6) Shrubs and Herbs:

Shrubs and herbaceous plants are part of the sanctuary's flora, including species like Clerodendrum colebrookei, Maesa indica, Costus species, and more.

(7) Medicinal Plants and Orchids:

The sanctuary is rich in medicinal plants, with the endemic Coptis teeta (Mishmi teeta) being of particular note. It is also known for its orchid varieties.

Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary Fauna (Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary Animals)

What animals are in the MEHAO Wildlife Sanctuary?

The Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary is renowned for its rich and diverse fauna. The sanctuary is home to a wide range of wildlife species, including several rare and endangered ones. Here are some of the notable fauna found within the Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary:


  • Tiger
  • India Elephant
  • Leopard
  • Clouded Leopard
  • Leopard Cat
  • Jungle Cat
  • Fishing Cat 
  • Marbled Cat
  • Spotted Linsang
  • Wild Dog
  • Jackal
  • Yellow bellied Weasel 
  • Burmes Ferret Badger
  • Malay Treeshrew
  • Himalayan Black Bear
  • Assamese Macaque
  • Stumptail Macaque
  • Slow Loris
  • White Browed Gibbon
  • Gaur
  • Sambar
  • Barking Deer
  • Red Pand
  • Musk Deer
  • Mishmi Takin
  • Serow
  • Goral


  • Alpine Chough
  • Black Napped Oriole
  • Blue Naped Pitta
  • Blue Throated Barbet
  • Blue Winged Laughing Thrush
  • Cotton Teal
  • Great Pied Hornbill
  • Green Magpie
  • Godwall
  • Himalayan Pied Kingfisher
  • Japanese White Eye
  • Large Cormorant
  • Large Niltava
  • Large Racket-tailed Drongo
  • Long-tailed Broadbill
  • Mallard
  • Monal Pheasant
  • Red Headed Laughing Thrush
  • Silver-eared Mesia
  • Spotted Short Tailed Wren Babbler
  • Three Toed Forest Kingfisher
  • Tibetan Grey-backed Shrike
  • Temminck's Tragopan
  • White Spotted Laughing Thrush
  • White Throated Redstart
  • White-naped Yuhina
  • Wrens


  • Banded Krait
  • Black Krait
  • Cobra
  • Common Indian Black Snake
  • Checkered Keelback
  • Green Whip Snake
  • Himalayan Cat Snake
  • King Cobra
  • Pit Viper
  • Python
  • Reticulated Python
  • Striped Racer
  • The Whip Snake

Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC Questions

Q. In which district is Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary?

A. The Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Lower Dibang Valley district of the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, India.

Q. In which district is Mehao Lake situated in Arunachal Pradesh?

A. Mehao Lake is situated in the Lower Dibang Valley district of Arunachal Pradesh, India. This district is also where the Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary is located, and the lake is an integral part of the sanctuary's ecosystem.

Q.  What is the Mehao Wildlife sanctuary famous for?

A. The Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh, India, is famous for several reasons:

(i) Biodiversity: The sanctuary is renowned for its rich biodiversity. It is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including several rare and endangered species. The diverse ecosystems found within the sanctuary make it an important area for wildlife conservation and research.

(ii) Scenic Beauty: The sanctuary's hilly terrain, lush tropical forests, lakes, and rivers contribute to its stunning natural beauty. It offers breathtaking scenic views and is a popular destination for nature enthusiasts and eco-tourists.

(iii) Rare and Endangered Species: Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary is known for harboring species such as the clouded leopard, red panda, various pheasant species, and many other mammals, birds, and reptiles. The presence of these rare and endangered species enhances its conservation significance.

(iv) Habitat for Birds: It is a haven for birdwatchers, as the sanctuary is home to a wide variety of bird species, including some endemic and threatened species.

(v) Natural Lakes: The sanctuary features two major lakes, Mehao Lake and Sally Lake, which are not only scenic attractions but also important for the ecosystem and wildlife.

Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary

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