Sandi Bird Wildlife Sanctuary
Spread over an area of 3 sq kms, in Hardoi district, the Sandi wetlands were declared a Bird Sanctuary in 1990. This was done after realising the importance of the wetlands as a habitat for local and migratory water birds, as well as for conservation of aquatic plants and animals. Sandi Bird Sanctuary is home to over 200 sarus cranes. The ‘footmark-shaped’ Dahar jheel lies within the Sanctuary.
In winter, Sandi welcomes thousands of avian visitors, the most common ones being the brahmini duck, red-crested pochard, white-eyed pochard, Eurasian wigeon, northern shoveller, gadwall, coot and garganey teal. Resident birds which roost here include open-billed stork, painted stork, white-necked stork, black-necked stork, spoonbill, purple heron, black drongo, and Indian moorhen.
Once upon a time, these wetlands were an important habitat for the endangered Siberian crane, but these birds have not been sighted here in many years. A Bird Interpretation Centre has been set up inside the Sanctuary to help in spreading awareness about the rich avifauna here. There are two observation towers to facilitate bird watching and are popular with tourists. There is also a walking trail along the banks of the lake where the Forest and Wildlife Department has provided benches for visitors.
Animals inside the Sanctuary include fox, jackal, mongoose, Indian porcupine and nilgai. Sandi Sanctuary supports some species of turtles including the Indian soft shelled turtle, Indian flap shelled turtle, spotted pond turtle and Indian roof turtle. A small reptilian population also thrives in the Sanctuary including red sand boa, wolf snake, rat snake and the venomous common krait and Russel’s viper.
The common trees found here are babool, neem, jamun, mahua and khajur trees.
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