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Wild Ass Sanctuary

The Wild Ass Sanctuary is located in the northern part of the state of Gujarat state, India. The area is known as the Little Rann of Kutch and is about 130 km from the capital city of Ahmedabad. The sanctuary is 45 km away from the city of Viramgam. Spreading over 4954 square km, this is the largest wildlife sanctuary of India.

There are two primary entrances to the sanctuary, one from Dhrangadhra and the other from Bajana.

The sanctuary was created in 1972 under the provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act. It is the only place on the earth that offers a haven for the much endangered Indian Wild Ass. Animals of this species have a shoulder height of over a meter and are about two meters long. They are fantastically agile and can run for long distances at high speeds of 50 km per hour making them somewhat like wild horses. There are around 3000 wild asses in the sanctuary. They generally move around in herds, especially during the breeding season which is around October - November.


The Rann of Kutch is a saline desert which gets flooded during the monsoons for about a month. It has around 74 elevated islands or plateaus, locally known as 'bets'. These are grass covered and serve the purpose of feeding the total population of animals.


The Sanctuary offers a home to many more living species other than the wild ass. There are 32 other mammal species which include the Indian deer, the Indian and white-footed desert foxes, jackals, Asian antelopes, Indian wolves, striped hyenas and blackbucks.

Because the sanctuary is located on the migration routes of many bird species, it is home to a large number of birds throughout the year. About 75,000 birds make their nests in the reserve each year. The cranes come in from Siberia, the vultures from Egypt, the blue-tailed bee-eaters from Europe, and the houbara bustards from Iran and Iraq. Many other birds stop by and can be sighted commonly in the sanctuary. You’ll also come across sand-grouses, many species of larks, the white-browed bulbul, ducks, geese, ibis, spoonbills, sandpipers, moorhens, cranes, flamingoes and pelicans.

In addition to this, you’ll get to see various invertebrate species which include crustaceans, mollusks, insects and spiders along with a myriad species of frogs, toads, turtles, snakes, lizards and crocodiles. Prawns primarily breed in the wetlands lying along the Gulf of Kutch edge.


There are various threats faced by the Wild Ass Sanctuary. Primary among these is the illegal mining of salt. A large portion of the country’s salt, nearly 25 per cent comes from the Little Rann. The pollution of air and noise caused by salt mining is gradually having a detrimental effect on the habitats of the various wildlife species. Another problem is frequent poaching by unauthorized elements.  The 200 square km firing range maintained by the Indian Army within the borders of the sanctuary borders poses an additional threat. Further, the mushrooming of chemical industries in the vicinity has resulted in the contamination of the region due to hazardous chemicals.

How to Reach

If you’re an air traveller, the nearest airport would be Ahmedabad. Then you could avail of ST bus services or hire a private vehicle. The distance by road to the sanctuary is 130 km from the city of Ahmedabad, 175 km from Rajkot, 45 km from Viramgam and 265 km from Bhuj.

Railway stations nearby are Dhrangadhra at16 km, Ahmedabad at 130 km and Rajkot at 175 km.

Best Time to Visit

A good time to plan a visit the sanctuary would be soon after the monsoons, in the months of October or November. The grasslands look beautifully green and fresh. You’ll see young foals running about and grazing on the tender vegetation. If you’re particular about the temperatures, then you need to know that the months December to March are quite cool since this is the winter season. It starts getting hotter from April and the heat sometimes becomes difficult to bear. It is advisable for people who cannot take very hot climates to refrain from visiting during the summer months. Plan an early morning wildlife safari to get the best opportunities to view a variety of amazing animals, birds, insects and more. Afternoon safaris are also conducted for the not-so-early risers.

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Wild Ass Sanctuary
Wild Ass Sanctuary
Wild Ass Sanctuary
Wild Ass Sanctuary
Wild Ass Sanctuary
Wild Ass Sanctuary

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