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The Ratanmahal sanctuary has majority of sloth bears found in the region, which has become the major attraction among the other wild animals of Ratanmahal. The sanctuary lies in the district of Dahod in the central part of Gujarat and is situated near the Baria and Chhota Udepur, the tribal areas.
To learn the habits as well as the behaviour of sloth bear, the sanctuary provides a unique opportunity there is a dense population found here. One also gets to see a huge population of leopards here.
The forest found here consists of dry teak located at the foothills along with deciduous forests having brakes of dry bamboo on the peripheral region. Besides, one can avail pure patches of sadad and timru along with mahuda trees whose high concentration offers a favorite food for sloth bears.
The Ratanmahal was considered as a wildlife sanctuary in the month of March in 1982. The sanctuary is located on the border of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. The Sloth bear, regarded as the actual habitat here extends into the state of Madhya Pradesh.
The sanctuary engrosses 55.65 sq. km area in a triangular landmass covering reserve forests consisting of 11 villages. This forest originally was a belonging of ex-ruler of state of Devgadh Baria.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
The weather here is quite hot and humid as is the weather of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. Therefore people prefer to visit this place from the months of October to the month of May. It is the best time when one can avail the actual pleasure of seeing the wild life found in this Ratanmahal sanctuary.
How to Reach
The close by airports found to Ratanmahal sanctuary are Vadodara airport and Ahmedabad airport.
The closest towns are Sagtala, Kheda, Bariya and Dahod etc from where buses can be easily caught to reach Ratanmahal. The closest bus station found is Devgadh Baria which lies just 42 kms away.
The closest Railway stations found are Dahod railway station and Godhra railway station.
The types of forests constituting various kinds of habitats are the forest of dry teak located at foot hills and the peripheral region has dry bamboo brakes and mixed deciduous forest, patches of Timru and 'Sadad' found as well. The Mahudo trees are thickly found on plateaus of the foothills, hills, in plains and offer food for sloth bear. Quite a good tree cover found. Large numbers of 'Jamun' trees give food to wild life there especially the sloth bear during the monsoon.
As far as Flora in ratanmahal is concerned, there are trees of dudhlo, teak, sadad, amla, timru, bamboo, tanach, dhavdo, mahuda, kakadiyo, charoli, khakhro, jamun and ber etc. precisely, there are 543 plants species seen here where 119 trees species, 238 herbs species, 40 shrubs species, 48 grasses species, 9 orchids species, 87 climbers species, 2 parasite species.
The major animals found here Sloth bear, striped hyena, leopard, jackal, mongoose, 4-horned antelope, porcupine, hanuman langur, jungle cat, civet cat etc.
Saw- scaled viper, krait, Cobra, bamboo pit, Russel's viper are the significant venomous snakes seen. Rat snake, Python, Red sand boa and Trinket are snakes of non-venomous type. Chameleon, Star tortoise, Termite hill gecko, Flap-shell turtle and Chameleon are seen here.
There are 147 birds species seen here among which 16 are terrestrial. Common Babbler, Alexandrine parakeet, crested serpent eagle, hoopoe, green pigeon, lesser golden-backed woodpecker, tailor bird, grey jungle fowl etc are few common species.
If one is willing to visit the Ratanmahal sanctuary, then for sufficing the purpose of accommodation, there is a Forest Rest house called as Kanjeta. In the close by areas there can be availed good hotels in Daho at an affordable and reasonable price. There are taxis to commute from close by areas which help in reaching the sanctuary.
One should be aware of Sloth bear found here as they might prove to be too dangerous at times; even leopards have comparatively a large population. Visiting the Ratanmahal sanctuary may be a nice experience for people fond of thrills, as the glimpse of bear in the sanctuary is worth watching.