Ratanmahal Sloth Bear Sanctuary

About the Sanctuary

This sanctuary harbours maximum population of sloth bears in the entire state, which is the star attraction in the wilds of Ratanmahals. The sanctuary falls in the Dahod district of Central Gujarat and is located very close to the tribal towns, Baria of Dahod district and Chhota Udepur of Vadodara district. This area was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in March 1982. The sanctuary falls on the border of Gujarat with Madhya Pradesh. The actual habitat of the Sloth bear, therefore, extends into Madhya Pradesh. The pristine beauty of forests in this small tract with rugged topography gives the feel of a hill station to wildlife enthusiasts.

For learning the habits and behaviour of the sloth bear, this sanctuary offers a unique opportunity as they are densely populated here. The sanctuary also has a large population of leopards.

The forests include dry teak forests at the foothills and mixed deciduous forests with dry bamboo brakes on the periphery. There are pure patches of timru and sadad as well. The high concentration of mahuda trees provides a favourite food to sloth bears.

Ecological significance

The forests of Ratanmahals form the catchment of river Panam- a major river of Central Gujarat. It drains through the districts of Dahod and Panchmahals. These are major towns on the banks of this river. An irrigation dam and reservoir is also built on this river near Godhra. These forests, therefore, have a great ecological significance for water conservation.

LocationSanctuary area
District Dahod55.65 sq. Km.

The Forest Types

The forest types which constitute different types of habitats are dry teak forest at foot hills and in periphery of the P A, mixed deciduous forest, dry bamboo brakes, ‘Timru’ forest (pure patch) and ‘Sadad’ forest (pure patch). High population of ‘Mahudo’ trees intermixed with pure patches of ‘Sadad’ and ‘Timru’ forest on plateaus of the hills, at foothills, in plains on the periphery of PA provide food to sloth bear. Tree cover is very good. There are also quite a good number of ‘Jamun’ trees, which provide food to sloth bear during monsoon.

Flora

Teak, dudhlo, sadad, timru, amla, bamboo, dhavdo, kakadiyo, mahuda, tanach, charoli, ber, jamun, khakhro etc. a total of 543 species of plants are recorded (119 species of trees, 40 species of shrubs, 238 species of herbs, 48 species of grasses, 87 species of climbers, 2 species of partial parasite and 9 species of orchids).

Fauna

Important animals- Sloth bear, leopard, striped hyena, jackal, four-horned antelope, mongoose, porcupine, civet cat, jungle cat, hanuman langur etc.

Cobra, krait, Saw-scaled viper, Russel’s viper and Bamboo pit viper are the main venomous snakes found here. Python, Rat snake, Red sand boa, Trinket are the non-venomous snakes. Star tortoise, Flap-shell turtle, Chameleon and Termite hill gecko are also found here.

Important birds : 147 species of birds are recorded here 16 of which are terrestrial (nesting and foraging on ground such as grey jungle fowl, partridge, quail etc.). Alexandrine parakeet, common babbler, crested serpent eagle, green pigeon, hoopoe, lesser golden-backed woodpecker, grey jungle fowl, tailor bird etc. are some common species.

Tourist Guide

Reach by air

The Nearest airports are:

  • Vadodara (170 kms)
  • Ahmedabad (250 kms)

Reach by bus

  • The Nearest Towns : Sagtala (15 kms.), Bariya (30kms.), Kheda (45kms.), Dahod (60kms.)
  • The Nearest bus station is Devgadh Baria (42 kms).

Reach by train

The Nearest Railway station are:

  • Dahod – 70 kms.
  • Godhra – 85 kms.

Best time to visit

  • October to May

Nearest places to visit

  • Pavagadh Fort- 75 kms.
  • Mahakali temple on the top of Pavagadh hills
  • Champaner Fort- 75 kms.
  • Nagina Masjid- 75 kms.
  • Ratanmahal hill- the pinnacle within the sanctuary
  • Shiv temple on Ratanmahal hilltop

Accomodation

  • Forest Rest house- Kanjeta
  • Reasonably good hotels in Dahod