Udhwa Lake Wildlife Sanctuary
Udhuwa or Udhwa Lake (24°59′37ʺN, 87°49′21ʺE) is situated in the Sahebganj district of the state of Jharkhand. Udhwa is named after saint Uddhava of Mahabharat times, a friend of Lord Krishna. It falls within the Gangetic Plains bio-geographic zone. The Sanctuary has two water bodies i.e. Patauran (155 ha) and Berhale (410 ha), interconnected by a water channel. Patauran is a comparatively clean water body with an average depth of about 2 m whereas Berhale is shallow with an average depth of about 70 cm. Berhale is largely covered by aquatic vegetation with small pockets of clear water while Pataura is surrounded by hillocks and plantations. The Sanctuary is connected to Ganga River through a 25 km long water channel known as the Udhuwa Nala, at Farraka. The area receives an average annual rainfall of 1000 mm and the temperature varies between 13°C to 40°C.
The Sanctuary is identified as an ‘Important Bird Area’, however, it has not been studied much. Choudhary et al (1992) recorded 83 species of both aquatic and terrestrial birds, including rarities like the Nordmann’s greenshank or Spotted greenshank (Tringa guttifer). Near threatened Black-necked stork (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus), Critically Endangered Oriental white-backed vulture (Gyps bengalensis), Lesser adjutant (Leptoptilos javanicus), Pallas’s fish eagle (Haliaeetus leucoryphus), Oriental darter (Anhinga melanogaster) and Oriental white ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus) have also been recorded from here. 22 species of fish have also been recorded from the area (Choudhary et al, 1992).
The Sanctuary is under tremendous pressure due to poaching of aquatic birds and illegal fishing. The surrounding hillocks have seen a heavy influx of migrants from nearby areas that have settled beside the lake and put additional demand on its natural resources. The area surrounding both the lakes and the dry lake bed of Berhale, during summer, is used for agriculture, threatening the integrity of the Sanctuary.
- Chaudhary, S.K., Mishra, A., Ghosh, T.K., and Jha, A. (1992). Udhuwa Lake Bird Sanctury: Status Report I. Mandar Nature Club, Bhagalpur. 26pp.
- Islam, M.Z., and 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.
Last Updated: November 22, 2016