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Gujarat Jessore Wildlife Sanctuary
Jessore wildlife sanctuary is only the sanctuary in Indian which is dedicated for preservation of Sloth Bear. This sanctuary is situated in the northern district of Gujarat named Banaskantha and this district is bordering the neighboring state Rajasthan. Typical Indian Sloth Bear are habited in this sanctuary in large population and presently more than 156 Bears are habiting here. The bear called as Sloth bear as various travelers found this animal in hanging position with the branches of trees like human being. Hanging activity called Sloth and since the name of this bear was called as Sloth Bear. Originally this bear was found in the upper portion of the country. High elevation of surface provides ease to the mammal as climatic conditions of that area are supportive but later the races of this animal spread all over India and restricted in the forest areas according to the availability of living needs. In the foot hills of Jessore hills (Aravali ranges) this sanctuary is located.
Banaskantha district of Gujarat state has dense and wide forestry. In the Jessore area, dense forests and tall grasses are in much population. This place is ideal for living of Bears. But being the modernization and increasing agricultural land, the natural residence of Bears disturbed and to avoid any biodiversity distraction, the area was restricted from general interference and declared as wildlife sanctuary in 1978. This sanctuary is spread over an area of 180 sqkm. Natural survival ratio of this mammal is not satisfactory and the population is declining inspite of repeated efforts. Sloth Bear has come in the category of endangered species.
Except Sloth Bear, in this sanctuary, Hyenas, Antelopes (Four Horned) and Sambhar are also habited. Inspite of strict vigil and efforts made by official functionary, some kidnapping of Sloth bears is in practice by the locals whose livelihood is showing the various stunts and activities performed by the bears. Sloth bear are generally vegetarian but some bears are also meat eater. They hunt and eat as a routine. Inside the sanctuary there are 5 villages and all the population residing in these villages is tribal. Routine livelihood of this population is selling of fire wood collected from forest and other medicinal herbs etc.
How to Reach
To access this wildlife sanctuary, all the three means of travelling may be adopted.
By air access to Jessore Sloth Bear Sanctuary is possible and a visitor will have to de-board at Ahmedabad airport as this one is nearest and located at 190 kilometers from this sanctuary. From airport, means of transportation are available till this place. Ahmedabad airport is well connected with flights from every part of the country.
Palanpur is nearest railway station located at 45 kilometers from here. Major trains area also connected with this station.
This sanctuary falls on Ahmedabad Kota highway in the northern portion of Banaskantha district. From Ahmedabad, 167 kilometers journey is required to reach here.
Inside the sanctuary, there are two old and famous temples of Lord Shiva are located. These temples are much visited during October – November every year. Except these temples, there is also a shrine which attracts a lot of pilgrims.
Flora and Fauna
Floral property of this area is quite rich as various types of trees like Shesham, Neem, Gular, Mahuwa, and Mango are found in this area in large numbers. Bamboo trees which are also the favorite food of Bears found here in sufficient numbers. Termite hills which are being destroyed by human is the reason for declining population of bears in this sanctuary as termite hills are the favorite food of Sloth bears. United Nations Development Programme supported a study and it revealed that more than 406 tree species are existing in this sanctuary. This total includes Shrubs, Herbs, Creepers and Climbers etc.
Inside the sanctuary, except Sloth bears, there is a rich population of other animals, reptiles, insects and birds. All of them are depend upon each of them as food chain of this area is so strong and biodiversity imbalance is not seems in near future.