Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary
Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary is spread across Meerut, Ghaziabad, Bijnore and Jyotiba Phule Nagar districts (29°7' N to 78°4'E) of Uttar Pradesh. The area was declared a Sanctuary in 1986 in order to protect and conserve the ecology and biodiversity of the Ganga basin. With an area of 2073 km2, the grassland of the Sanctuary holds a variety of flora, avifauna and a population of Swamp deer and Hog deer.
The Sanctuary has a variety of landforms and is a mixture of different habitats such as wetland, marshes, dry sand beds and gently sloping ravines. The vegetation can be classified into tall wet grasslands, dry short grasslands, scrubs and plantations (Nawab, 2000). It was established to protect the state animal of Uttar Pradesh, viz., Swamp Deer (Rucervus duvaucelii duvaucelii). Other mammalian species recorded here include Hog deer (Axis porcinus), Blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra), Nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus), wild boar (Sus scrofa), Golden jackal (Canis aureus), Jungle cat (Felis chaus) and Fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus). Along with rich mammalian fauna, the Sanctuary is home to 180 species of birds along with a large congregation of migratory waterbirds visiting the area during winter. Asian Openbill (Anastomus oscitans) has established several colonies while Sarus crane (Grus antigone) is also recorded to breed here.
Lying in the Gangetic floodplains, the Sanctuary is subject to anthropogenic disturbance, mainly due to large scale commercial exploitation of grasses (Phragmites sp.), grazing and illegal encroachment for cultivation and industrialization (Khan, 1995; 1996). Heavy grazing on islands during summer poses a threat to island breeding birds. Swamps in and around the Sanctuary have been transformed into agricultural fields, or are in the process of transformation. Electrocution of wild animals on fences put up by farmers around fields for protecting their crops from wildlife is common at many places. Poaching of migratory birds, Hog deer and Swamp deer has also been reported from the area. Dwindling numbers of prey and fragmented habitat have resulted in the disappearance of Grey wolf, Striped hyena and Leopard from the Sanctuary.
- Bhargava, R. (2000). A preliminary survey of the western population of Finn’s Weaver in Kumaon terai Uttar Pradesh, Northern India. Oriental Bird club Bull. 32:21-29.
- Islam, M.Z., & Rahmani, A.R. (2004). Important Bird Areas in India: Priority sites for conservation. Indian Bird conservation network: Bombay History Society and Birdlife International, UK. 1133 pp.
- Khan, A. (1995). Status and conservation problems of Swamp Deer in Hastinapur Wildlife sanctuary. Technical Report No.2. Wildlife Society of India. 30 pp.
- Khan, A. (1996) Swamp Deer in Hastinapur Wildlife sanctuary. A preliminary report. The wildlifer 1 (2):1-3
- Nawab, A. (2000). Plant species composition and structure of Hastinapur Wildlife sanctuary, U.P. India. M.Sc. Dissertation, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, (India).
- Rai, Y.M. (1979). Finn’s Weaver breeding at Meerut. Newsletter for Birdwatchers 19(7):11.
Last Updated: November 22, 2016