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About Wild Ass Sanctuary

Context:

Gujarat High Court recently sought a report from the state government on the licenses and permissions it has granted for mining activities within Wild Ass Sanctuary in the Little Rann of Kutch.

Relevance:

GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Wild Ass Sanctuary in Gujarat, India
  2. About Indian Wild Ass:

About Wild Ass Sanctuary in Gujarat, India

Location:
  • The sanctuary is located in the Little Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, India.
  • It is the only place where the Indian wild ass, known as Khacchar locally, can be found.
  • The sanctuary is also home to a sizeable population of Rabari and Bharwad tribes.
Topology:
  • The sanctuary can be considered a large ecotone, a transitional area between marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
  • It is a continuum of a dry area of dark silt with salt encrustation.
  • It is dotted with about 74 elevated plateaus or islands, locally called ‘bets’.
  • During the monsoon, large parts are flooded to depths of up to 2 meters.
Flora:
  • The sanctuary is full of dry thorny scrub, and there are no large trees except on the fringes and bets.
  • Some of the plants and trees found in this sanctuary are Morad, Unt morad, Theg, Dolari, Khijdo, Kerdo, Mithi jar, Kheri pilu, Akado, etc.
Fauna:
  • Besides Indian Wild Ass, the other mammals found here include Blackbuck, Nilgai, Bluebull, Hare, Wolf, Foxes, Desert Cat, Indian fox, Jackal, Hyena, Wild boar, etc.
  • There is rich birdlife, including the Houbara bustard, Sandgrouse, Pale harrier, Black-shouldered kite, Pelican, etc.

About Indian Wild Ass:

Distribution and Habitat:
  • The Indian Wild Ass, a sub-species of the Asian Wild Ass, is found only in the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, India.
  • Its habitat includes desert and grassland ecosystems.
Characteristics:
  • The Indian Wild Ass is characterized by distinctive white markings on the anterior part of the rump and on the posterior part of the shoulder and a stripe down the back that is bordered by white.
  • Scientific name: Equus hemionus khur.
Conservation Status:
  • The Indian Wild Ass is listed as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  • It is listed under Appendix II of CITES.
  • In India, the Indian Wild Ass is protected under Schedule-I of the Wildlife Protection Act (1972).

Source: Indian Express


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