Balaram Ambaji Wildlife Sanctuary
Balaram Ambaji Wildlife Sanctuary is located at Banaskantha, Gujarat, India. It covers 542 Km2. It is inhabited by Bears, Nilgai, Jackals among other animals. The sanctuary borders Rajasthan.
Undulating hills of Aravali, supporting the dry deciduous forests of North Gujarat, provide an unimaginable beautiful ambience to Balaram-Ambaji Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary derives its name from two historical temples- Balaram and Ambaji, situated at the opposite corners of the sanctuary. This picturesque area was constituted as a Wildlife Sanctuary by Government of Gujarat on 7th August’ 1989 for the purpose of protection, propagation and development of wildlife and its environment.
The area is characteristically rich in floral diversity- particularly medicinal plants. It has numerous floral and faunal species of global conservation significance.
The rare flora comprises Kadaya (giving medicinal gum), Gugal, and Musali etc. The predominant trees are- Khair, Salai, Modad, Dhavada, Khakhara, Timru. During late winters (February-March) Khakhara- the flame of the forests- known by many different names such as- Palash, Tesu, Kesudo, Dhak etc. is generally in bloom with its striking red colour resembling flames in the forests. The rare animals include sloth bear, striped hyena, leopard, bluebull, porcupine, fox, small Indian civet, Indian pangolin and a number of reptiles including venomous and non-venomous snakes, monitor lizards, star tortoise etc. The rare birds of this area are adjutant Stork, spoonbill, osprey, white backed Vulture and black vultures. The area falls in the catchment of two rivers- Banas and Sabarmati.
The forests of the sanctuary play an important role in conserving the depleting eco-system of Aravalis and in controlling the southward expansion of Thar desert. The forest areas, interspersed with numerous hills and hillocks form the watershed for Dantiwada and Dharoi dams of north Gujarat. It also constitutes part of the catchment areas of Sabarmati and Banas, which are two important rivers of north Gujarat. The ecological boundaries of the sanctuary get amalgamated with forests of Rajasthan State in the north and spreads into agricultural fields all around providing ecological security and ameliorated environment to the semi arid region of North Gujarat which is threatened by expanding desert.
The picturesque hills of Danta, Ambaji and Amirgadh areas interspersed with nallahs and green vegetal cover, long wooded treks and rocky terrain form an ideal hunt for nature lovers, adventure groups for trekking, hiking and other eco friendly adventure activities. Organized eco-tourism is not in existence but the nature education is a well taken activity as a measure of awareness, interpretation and conservation education.
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