Jhilmil Jhil Conservation Reserve
Jhilmil Jheel is a saucer shaped wetland covering a total area of 37.83 km², on the left bank of the Ganga River in Chiriyapur forest range of Haridwar district in Uttarakhand. It is among the first in India to be declared as a Conservation Reserve, declared on 14th August 2005. The central swamp zone represents an oxbow lake surrounded by numerous seasonal and perennial swamps formed over time due to shifting of river channels. The terai landscape of the area presents a mosaic of short and tall grasslands, tropical mixed moist deciduous forests, and secondary scrub. The sub-tropical climate (44°C and 2°C; 45-80% relative humidity and rainfall ranging from 1050 to 1550 mm per annum) forms a favourable habitat resulting in rich floral assortment and wholesome climate insects in general and butterflies in particular. The low-lying wetland (altitude: 240 m or 800 ft) is home to Uttarakhand's only surviving herd of Swamp Deer or Barasingha (Rucervus duvaucelii duvaucelli). It also supports a sizable population of Chital (Axis axis), along with Sambar (Rusa unicolor), Barking deer (Muntiacus muntjak), Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), Nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus), Leopard (Panthera pardus) and, occasionally Tigers (Panthera tigris), as well as a large number of resident and winter migratory birds.
Tantpur village is the only village adjacent to Jhilmil Jheel and the villagers strongly support conservation of Swamp deer in the Reserve. However, excessive livestock grazing and lopping for fodder and fuelwood within the Reserve area by nearby villagers and gujjars have put immense pressure on the habitat and degraded its quality. There is a bottling plant for Bisleri just at the boundary of Reserve and unregulated extraction of water from the wetland has affected the prime habitats for swamp deer in the area. The existence of bottling plant on the boundary of the wetland has caused receding ground water table in the area, thus threatening the wetland habitat. Construction of check dams at the exit point of drainage from the wetland to the Ganga River has an adverse effect on the water regime of Jhilmil Jheel.
(a) (a) Swamps in the Jhilmil Jheel Conservation Reserve (b) Swamp deer’s herd in the Reserve (c) Swamp deer’s herd in the Reserve
- Anonymous, (2005). Jhilmil Jheel Conservation Reserve, Forest Department. Government of Uttaranchal. 10p.
- Tewari, R., & Rawat, G.S. (2013). Butterfly Fauna of Jhilmil Jheel Conservation Reserve, Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India.
Last Updated: November 22, 2016