The Itanagar wildlife sanctuary was declared with an aim to conserve the biodiversity around the Itanagar sanctuary. The reserve forest around Itanagar became part of the sanctuary.
Since the sanctuary has human population living around, there is a continuous threat from the people who carry out illegal hunting, Fishing, fires, grazing, encroachments in the sanctuary area. The local organizations are demanding denotification of certain portions of the sanctuary due to encroachments.
The area was rich in the population of Wildlife like Sambar, Barking Deer, Elephant herbs, Tiger, and Panthers. But now their numbers have unfortunately gone down due to expansion of human habitation and clearance of forest covers for development purposes, settlements, etc.
The State bird of Arunachal Pradesh, the magnificent Hornbill, used to be found in the Sanctuary, but their population came down drastically due to loss of habitat. However, the Wildlife is still available in a fair number especially in the northern and eastern side of the Itanagar Sanctuary.
The Itanagar WLS, earlier known as the Itanagar Reserve Forest, was notified as a sanctuary on 2nd February, 1978.
The Itanagar WLS notification was issued before the creation of Papum-Pare district from the greater Subansiri district.
Location and Geography
Itanagar Reserve Forest was declared as Itanagar Wildlife Sanctuary covering an area of 140.30 km2 with the geographical boundary as Pam River in the East, Pachin in the South, Neorochi on the North-East and Chingke stream in the North. The capital of Arunachal Pradesh, Itanagar is located within the Sanctuary.
The terrain is mostly hilly. Since the sanctuary is close to the city, it plays an important role in environmental education.
The forest can be classified into Tropical Semi-evergreen and wet evergreen forest.
Pure patches of Bamboos are seen intermittently. The most common Bamboo species are Bambusa pallida (Bijuli) and Bambusa hamiltonii (kako).
The other tree species are Duabanga grandiflora (Khokan), Amoora wallichi (Aman) Toona ciliata (poma), Magnolia sps (Sopa), Schima wallichi (Makrisal), Castanopsis indica (Hingori).
The Itanagar Sanctuary was rich in biodiversity. The Itanagar Wildlife Sanctuary was very rich in Wildlife both in variety and number, which has unfortunately dwindled in the recent past for the reasons, described in the proceeding paras. Animals like Elephants, Tigers, Panthers, Sambar, Barking Deer and Bears were quite common. Hornbills were very common bird to sight. But now it is a rare chance to sight a Hornbill.