Jessore Sloth Bear Sanctuary

Introduction

Located in the lap of Aravalli hills in North Gujarat, bordering Rajasthan, Jessore Sloth Bear Sanctuary has many rare species of flora and fauna. The forests generally belong to the forest types of southern dry mixed deciduous and desert thorn forests. It is a home to the endangered sloth bear. The sanctuary derives its name from the picturesque Jessore hills of Aravalli ranges cutting across the sanctuary. The area was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in May 1978. The area has a great ecological significance as it acts as a buffer between the desert eco-system and the dry deciduous type of forest ecosystem.

Fauna

The major floral species comprise Ber, gando baval, khair, Isaraily baval, dhav, dudhalo, gando baval, dhavado, saledi, kadaya, siras, gorad etc.

Flora

The flagship specie of the area is Sloth bear. The top carnivore, leopard cohabits the area with other vertebrates. Other important animals include rhesus macaque, Indian civet cat, Indian porcupine, striped hyena, fox, jackal, bluebull, wild boar, hare, langur, wolf etc. The reptiles include snakes, tortoises and lizards. The avifauna includes spurfowls, cuckoos, barbets, woodpeckers, tree pies, flycatchers, shrikes, spoonbills, storks, cranes, egrets and many raptors.

Management Approach

Habitat amelioration works to provide well distributed food and water sources and creation of suitable living and breeding environment by blending the rehabilitation of degraded areas with effective protection measures are the major thrust activities for management. Prosopis invasion occurring almost in pure composition in certain areas needs phased replacement with the local floral species. The area being drought prone, water conservation works need special attention for improvement in hydrological cycle of the area.

Eco-development

The resource development needs to be taken up by involving the local community in planning and management. Eco-development activities are planned in order to meet the basic needs of the people and to reduce pressure on the resource. The major activities include provision of drinking water, fodder development, soil and water conservation, alternative sources of energy, agricultural and horticultural development and various income generating activities.

Eco-tourism

Jessore, the second highest hill of Gujarat is an ideal hunt for jungle trekking. Along the densely wooded trek one can always take a short break at age old Kedarnath Mahadev temple and Muni ji ki kutia. Nature education is a well taken activity and every year thousands of participants visit the sanctuary from various parts of Gujarat. The scenic habitat is known to offer a surprise sighting of Sloth Bear under the moonlight.

Community

There are different communities such as ‘Thakore’, ‘Chauhan’, ‘Koli’, ‘Kumbhar’, ‘Mali’, ‘Rabari’, ‘Harijan’, ‘Waghari’ and ‘Agrawals’ in the villages located near the Sanctuary. The tribal communities of the area are ‘Majirana’, ‘Garasia’, ‘Gamar’ , ‘Damor’ , ‘Khokharia’ , ‘Dama’, ‘Dhajora’, ‘Dhrangi’, ‘V ansia’ and’ Kharadi’: Traditionally the people are religiously inclined. Major festivals of the people are Diwali, Dussehra, Holi, Shivaratri, Uttrayan etc.

Economy of the people is mainly agrarian. Most of the people are engaged in agriculture. Cattle rearing is the other major occupation of the villagers as well as of ‘Rabaris’. The people depend upon forests for fuelwood, fodder, grazing, collection of honey, ‘timru’ leaves, gums, wild fruits and medicinal constituents of plants. Honey collection, grazing, lopping practices and fire wood collection are the major damaging factors, adversely influencing the habitat. Nilgai (Blue bull) invades the croplands and cause damage to the farmers.

Tourist Guide
Reach by air
The Nearest airport is Ahmedabad (140 kms).
Reach by bus
The Nearest bus station is Palanpur (28 kms).
Reach by train
The Nearest Railway station is:Iqbalgarh – 3 kms. Ahmedabad – 64 Kms
Best time to visit
Post monsoon to winter.
Nearest places to visit
Jessore hill and the long wooded treks amidst thick forests. Age old Kedarnath Mahadev temple and Muniji ki kutia. Splendid view of the southernmost foothills of Aravalis merging into plains of Rajasthan Wildlife interpretation center at Balundra. Mount Abu, the famous hill station is very close by.
Accomodation
Hotels at Palanpur, Ambaji & Balaram