Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary
Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary is a part of the dense forest surrounding the hill station and is situated at the oldest part of the Aravalli mountain range. This part of the forest was declared a sanctuary in 1960. The reserve forest is stretched over a large area of 19 kms in length and 5-8 kms in width. The sanctuary crosses a variety of mountain highs, from 300m to 1722m at Gurashikhar- the highest peak in the Aravali Ranges.
This sanctuary is a popular tourist destination, welcoming people with its large variety of flowers, trees and animals. The floral diversity is worth mentioning, as it starts with the Xenomorphic Subtropical Thorn forest at the foot hills to Subtropical Evergreen forest along water courses and valleys at higher altitudes. One can see 112 plant families with 449 genera and 820 species. There are 663 Dicot (seeds have two embryonic leaves or cotyledons) and 157 Monocot (seeds have one embryonic leaf or cotyledon) plants. This is the only place of the entire Rajasthan state where Orchids are grown. Varieties of medicinal plants are also available within the sanctuary zone. About 81 species of tree, 89 species of shrubs, 28 species of climbers and 17 species of tuberous plants of medicinal importance have been identified.
This sanctuary is the abode for many endangered animals. Tourists can enjoy a walk along the forest area while watching varieties of colourful birds. There are 250 species of birds present in the forest including the Grey Jungle Fowl. History suggests that these forests were once famous for the presence of lions and tigers. During Rajputana rule, the forests of Aravallis were popular for hunting purposes. Unfortunately lion had ceased to exist in this place since 1872 and tiger presence was last reported in 1970. Panthers are the main attraction at present with many other animals like Sambhar, Jungle Cat, Small Indian Civet, Wolf, Hyena, Jackal, Indian Fox, Common Langoor, Wild Boar, Pangolin, Common Mongoose, Indian Hare, Porcupine, and Hedgehog. The forest also has many Sloth Bear habitat.
All about the TrekThe Mount Abu main town has many tour operators with proper guides, who are recommendable for any half day or full day trip to the sanctuary. The roads are pretty rough and are almost like dirt tracks. Hence jeeps or SUVs are advisable. Entrance fee to the area is Rs 160/- per person and guide fee can be negotiated to Rs 500/- or Rs600/-. Tourists can enjoy a long trek within the dense forest and enjoy the nature. Animal sightings cannot be guaranteed as there is no specific area for them. However, sloth bears are the most viewed animals other than monkeys. Crocodiles bathing in the sun beside ponds are also often sighted. One can trek up the hills, through the caves, to the Sunset point and get an amazing panoramic view of the entire green Aravalli Range. This trek through the Wildlife Sanctuary is a must for adventure and photography lovers.
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