Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary

As Bhimashankar is a pilgrim centre from ancient time, it is also famous and a reserved evergreen forest covering 100 sq. kms wildlife sanctuary. Bhimashankar is conserve red forest area and wildlife sanctuary where a variety of birds, animals, flowers and plant species can be seen.
The Western Ghats or Sahyadri mountains run along the western edge of India's Deccan plateau, and separate the plateau from a narrow coastal plain along the Arabian Sea. The range starts south of the Tapi River near the border of Gujarat and Maharashtra, and runs approximately 1600 km through the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamilnadu, to the southern tip of the Indian peninsula. The Western Ghats are an area of global bio-diversity hotspot and are one of the major Tropical Evergreen Forest regions in India. At the northern end of the Sahyadri in Maharashtra, lie the rugged forests and mountains of Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary.

The sanctuary is small (only about 100 sq. kms), but it is home to a wide variety of animals Leopard, Sambar, Barking deer, Porcupines, Grey Jungle fowls, Wild pig, Hanuman langar, Rhesus macaque, Puma and Flying Squirrel etc.

One can find variety of species of animals and birds in this enchanting forest. Blue Mormon (6 inch wide) butterflies are very commonly seen in addition to the Blue Oak leaf, Yellow Pansy, Striped Tiger among others. The biggest moth - "Atlas moth" is also seen in this forest area in monsoon. The bird species lists Common Peafowl (Peacock), Grey Jungle fowl, Red Jungle fowl, Birds of prey, Tawny Eagle, Black Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, Sparrow Hawk, Indian Nightjar, Small Green Bee-eater, Common Iora, Black Bulbul, and so on .... a self list can be recorded after a wonderful trek in the region. Its a amazing experience one can enjoy during the stay.

The sanctuary is famous as the home of a highly endangered subspecies of the Indian Giant Squirrel - Shekru (Ratufa indica elphistoni), which is also the state animal of Maharashtra ! The animal is extremely shy and almost never comes down from the trees where it stays. You can often hear its loud rattling call, that usually reveals its presence. The giant squirrel is mainly arboreal and so needs a thick canopy of trees to move around in, look for food. The giant squirrel has a distinctive rust-coloured fur and shrill cry. It lives either on its own or in pairs, making nests at the high ends of branches, well away from the reach of predators. It lives all its life on the trees, leaping upto 15-20 feet between branches and trees. It could make upto six nests on trees so as to take shelter in the nearest one during a crisis.
The dense forests surrounding the high ranges also play an abode to the rare species of flora and fauna. The dominant species of flora are Mango, Hirda, Behda, various medicinal herbs, bamboo and fern. The plant life includes anything and everything from Kaarvi (Strobilanthus callosus) to Khair (Acacia catechu). In the monsoon season, bioluminous fungi grows on some trees. The fungus gives out a faint glow that makes the tree trunks shine gently in the darkness of the night. These trees are called Jyotivanti trees.

Rules and Regulations to be followed in Wildlife Sanctuary

1) Do not enter/wander in forest area after sunset and before sunrise.

2) Do not collect any species or part of flora and fauna, nest, eggs, etc.

3) Do not use plastic in forest area. Plastic is very harmful for animals as well as for environment.

4) Do not smoke inside forest area. Do not cook food inside forest area as it is hazardous and can result in fire incidents.

5) Always follow the paths / trails made up for tourist.

6) Do not take pet animals with you inside the forest area.

7) Take a government approved Guide with you for forest trek.

8) Do not use any music equipment in forest area such as radio, taperecorder etc. Do not use horns or do not make loud noise inside forest area.

9) Pay proper entry and photographs permission fees to forest department.

10) Do not disturb or misbehave with wildlife.

Situated at the extreme end of the Sahyadri Ranges, this place gives a wonderful view of the world around you, the forts, the rivers and the tourist stations around.