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Gujarat Balaram Ambaji Wildlife Sanctuary
Balram-Ambaji wildlife sanctuary is based in the northern region of Gujarat at the foothills of Aravali ranges. This sanctuary is located in the upper portion of Banaskantha district in Gujarat. To save and develop the wildlife in the natural environment, establishment of this sanctuary was done in 1989. The name of this sanctuary has been derived from two famous temples located at the northern portion of sanctuary. One Balram temple and another of Ambaji temple gave the recognition to complete area and even the place is known by the name of two temples rather that Banaskantha district. This sanctuary is located on the banks of Banas and Sabarmati rivers. Large desert of Thar also falls in this sanctuary.
In the northern region of Gujarat state of India, wildlife was disturbed as human interference on the plea of development was increased a much and access agricultural and dwelling units construction activities made the wild species disturbed from their natural habitat. Banaskantha district faced severe interference as the population of the area entailed towards outskirts to make shelter arrangements for the mankind resulting in the steeling of residential space of wildlife. In this process, attacks of wild animals on human being were increased and various precious lives converted into food of tigers, panthers and even lions. To put a check on these activities and to provide natural development of wildlife, this area was declared as wildlife sanctuary on 07th August 1989. After declaring the wildlife sanctuary, preservative activities and various preventive measures were also initiated. Due to concerted efforts put in, the population of wild species has been increased in this sanctuary.
In this sanctuary a mixed population of various wild species is habited. Tigers, panthers, sloth bears, Stripped Hyena, Leopards, Jaguar, Foxes and reptiles like Indian Cobra, Python, Monitor Lizard, Flying Lizard, Star Tortoise and some great crocodiles are found in this sanctuary. The basin and spotty creations of Banas river, flows through this sanctuary made natural habitat of crocodiles and due to the tough accessibility Crocodiles have developed their population in large numbers. Earlier typical Asiatic Lions were habited in this sanctuary but being the royal living style specie, they moved towards Gir forest of the state as other Lions were habited there.
At present no Asiatic lion is seen in this area. As far as bird species are concerned, Adjutant Stork, Spoonbill, Osprey, White backed Vulture and Black Vultures are found in this sanctuary. Sabarmati river’s water also provides a regeneration space to the bird species as some migratory birds also seen in the area during Summers.
Flora and Fauna
This sanctuary has a vital biological richness as different type of trees and species are habited here since long and all are well dependent upon each other. Food chain, geographical slope of the area, climatic conditions are extremely matching and supporting each other. This wonderful example of natural environmental conservation is rarely seen. Generally, in the area of hills where climatic conditions are better, this type of natural ecological balance is seen. Balram-Ambaji wildlife sanctuary is also based on the Aravali foothills and thus biological diversified environment in the entire area is not luckily but naturally. In this area there is natural vegetation of more than 480 species of trees. All the plants, herbs, shrubs, grasses and trees are included in this population. In the mid areas of the sanctuary, some medicinal plants are also found but due to extreme tough conditions, better exploitation of these plants is not done. Dhavado, Salai, Khakhra, Saledi, Modad, Khair, Desi Baval, Bili, Dudhi, Golar, Kanji, Indrajav, Karanj, Timru and Behda trees are some of the famous trees of this sanctuary. ,
Monitor Lizard panthers, sloth bears, Flying Lizard, Stripped Hyena, Star Tortoise, Leopards, Jaguar, Foxes and reptiles like Indian Cobra, Python and Scorpions
How to Reach
This sanctuary can be accessed by air, by rail and by road. For air and rail journey, Junagadh is the nearest boarding station. Road connectivity is good in Gujarat and various state highways are lined to Banaskantha wildlife sanctuary.