Kaundinya Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary and an elephant reserve situated in Andhra Pradesh, India.It is the only sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh with a population of Asian Elephants, which migrated after 200 years from neighbouring regions.
Kaundinya is a region to which elephants have returned after 200 years. In the last decade, elephants have been migrating more than ever before, looking for habitable forests. From 1983 to 1986, a sizable number of elephantsbegan their journey from the forests of Anekal-Hosur in Tamil Nadu and Bannerghatta in Karnataka to seek alternative homes in other regions. Thirty-nine of the elephants moved to the forests of Andhra Pradesh, a state which had no elephants before. This led to the government setting up the sanctuary in December 1990. Today it is home to about 72 elephants
The habitat of Kaundinya sanctuary is rugged with high hills and deep valleys. The sanctuary has dry deciduous forests with thorny scrubs interspersed with trees.These forests have small ponds, tanks and the Kaindinya and Kaigal tributaries of Palar River. The sanctuary is situated in region where the Deccan Plateau ends and slopes down into the plains of Tamil Nadu creating many valleys and ghats.
Flora and Fauna
The sanctuary is covered by Southern tropical dry deciduous and thorn forests.Some of the important flora consists of Albiziaamara, Accacias, Lagerstroemia, Ficus, Bamboo, and a species which is a regeneration ofsantalum album.
The sanctuary is primarily an elephant reserve and is home to about 78 Indian Elephant. The vulnearble Yellow-throated Bulbul is present in the sanctuary. Apart from Indian Elephant, some of the animals found in the sanctuary are:
Sloth Bear, Panther, Cheetal, Chowsingha, Sambar, Porcupine, Wild Boar, Jungle Cat, Jackal, Jungle Fowl, Starred Tortoise, Slender Loris.
Threats and Conservation Issues
The threats faced in the sanctuary are man-animal conflict, over-grazing, illegal collection of wood. Insufficient fodder in the forest due to over-grazing by livestock, and availability of crops like sugarcane, sorghum and ragi attracts elephants, resulting in man-animal conflict. Till 2002, 42 people have been killed by elephants, and 12 elephants have been electrocuted to death by local population.
Kalyani dam in Chamala Valley, a part of Sri Venkateswara National Park, is a good habitat for elephants. A corridor for elephants is being planned between Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary and Sri Venkateswara National Park under Project Elephant .
Best time to visit
The best time to visit the Kaundinya Wildlife Sanctuary is between October and April, as the climate is quite soothing. The maximum temperature soars to 40-45 degree Celsius in summers and dips to a minimum of 15-20 degree Celsius in winters.
The winter months are also an ideal time to watch the lake and the pools of the sanctuary full of an assortment of vibrant migratory birds
How to get Reach:
50 Kms. by road from Chittoor; 120 Kms. from Bangalore.
Nearest Airport – Bangalore, Tirupathi.
Nearest Railway Starion: Chittoor
Where to stay:
Forest guest house at Palamaneru, Madanapalli and Horseley Hills
Divisional Forest Officer, Chittoor (West).
Forest Range Officer, Palamaner,