It is one of the largest seasonal saline wetlands having an average water depth between 0.5 to 1.5 metres. By October-November each year, rain water dries up and the entire area turns into saline desert. The sanctuary supports wide variety of water birds and mammalian wildlife.
Important animals- Wolf, hyena, jackal, chinkara, wild ass, bluebull, wild boar, Indian porcupine, pale hedgehog, mongoose, rufous-tailed hare, desert fox, spiny tailed lizard etc.
Important birds : Greater flamingo, lesser flamingo, pelicans, black-necked storks, cormorant, Indian cormorant, brahmini duck, pintail, spotbill, shoveller, pochard, sandpiper, gulls, terns, stints, plovers etc.
The Sanctuary is mainly established to preserve the nesting ground of a magnificent bird; the flamingo or Greater Flamingo. It is the largest sanctuary encompassing a true saline desert, not to be found elsewhere in the world. It covers the only area in the country, where the Greater Flamingo breeds regularly in the north and northeast of Kala Dungar. Great Rann is very interesting from biological, ecological, geological and climatic points of view. It represents one of the largest seasonal saline wetland areas having the water depth ranging from 0.5 to 1.5 m. After October- November, water dries up and the area turns into saline desert.
An eco-tourist visiting the Sanctuary is exposed to fresh-cum-saline water wetland from monsoon to early winter and true saline desert from late winter to summer. He would see four hilly and rocky islands ('bets') viz., Pachchham, Khadir, Bela and Chorar, the first three being located in Kutch district and the last being located in Patan district. Khadir is the only island in true sense, other three being connected to the mainland from one or the other side.
The Pachchham island at the dist
ance of about 80 km from Bhuj, is about 25 km long and 9 km wide and supports the hill called 'Kala Dungar', which represents the highest point (438 m) within the Sanctuary. Another hill called 'Goro Dungar' is slightly shorter and narrower than Kalo Dungar. Both the hills represent rocky habitats, with or without thorny scrubs like Ganda Baval (Prosopis juliflora) and Thor (Euphorbia nivula). Khadir bet (80 km north of Rapar), having an area of about 313 sq. km supports the hill called Chhapariya Dungar, whose northern flank overlooks the mudflats of the Great Rann. Bela bet, the eastern most major hilly island in Kutch district, supports two hills namely 'Nilvo' and 'Muvano'.
The world famous 'flamingo city' is located in the mudflats of the Rann, at the distance of around 10 kIn from the Nir out-post on Kala Dungar. Hundreds or thousands of greater flamingoes breed here, normally during the year at the optimum level of inundation. They construct their muddy nests, lay eggs and rear young ones. The nesting was first reported in 1883 by the late Maharao Shri Khengarji of Kutch and recently by officials of the Border Security Force (BSF) and State Forest Department (Bhuj- Kutch) in 1998. In 1945, Dr. Salim Ali visited Flamingo city and estimated a population of half million birds at nesting city. Besides Greater Flamingo, Rosy Pelican, Lesser Flamingo and Avocet are also recorded having bred here in the Great Rann in the past.
Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary is the largest sanctuary of Gujarat. Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary occupies an area of 7505.22 square kilometers. The Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary of Gujarat comprises of forest area, revenue wasteland and territorial water of the Arabian Sea. Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary lies in the north-eastern part of Kutch district that borders Pakistan and Wild Ass Sanctuary. Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary was so declared in February 1986 and is the largest sanctuary of the country.
Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary of Gujarat has vast area of sun-baked mud flats that are salt impregnated. Some of the area around Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat have small patches of uplands and the hilly islands of the sanctuary are called bets. Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary has marine calcareous grit and oyster bed in the shore bordering the Arabian sea.
Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat houses some of the rare wild animals like striped hyena, porcupine, fox, small Indian civet, Indian pangolin and a large number of reptiles. You will find both venomous and non-venomous snakes, monitor lizards, star tortoise in the Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary at Gujarat. Some of the rare species of birds are found in the Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary at Gujarat.
Cultural remains of 5000-year-old civilisation of Indus Valley lie buried at Dholavira, one of the most distinct sites of all the Harappan sites. It is remarkable for its magnificent planning, sophisticated architecture and amazing water-management system. It is the sixth largest city of the Indus Valley civilisation.
A well-fortified city was spread over an area of almost 48 hectares, housing within it three distinct complexes- a citadel, a middle town and a lower town. They were fully aware of the technology of copper working, pottery, stone dressing and manufacturing of moulded bricks of standard dimensions. They excelled in mass production of beads and pieces of ornaments and domestic items of semi-precious stone and shells. The culture started declining around 2100 BC.
The sanctuary has some other attractions as well. Embedded below the Jurassic and Cretaceous rocks on Khadir, Kuvar and Pachchham bets, are plenty of fossils of vertebrates, invertebrates and plants. There are records of recovery of fossils of dinosaurs, crocodiles (of Dinosaurian period) and whales (of tertiary period). Fossilised forests have also been found in the rocks belonging to Jurassic and Cretaceous eras. The fossils of invertebrates include those of amonites, sea urchins and such others.
Many timid and harmless spiny-tailed lizards, with their typical hide and run activity are found in abundance in this sanctuary. Chinkara, fox, hyena and nilgai are also in abundance and there are some occasional sightings of caracal also. Apart from number of resident and migratory birds including raptors, Houbara bustard is also seen here.
The world famous 'Flamingo City' is located in the mudflats of the Rann, at a distance of around 10 km. from the Nir outpost on Kala Dungar. Hundreds of greater flamingoes breed here, particularly during the year at the optimum level of inundation. They construct their muddy nests, lay eggs and rear young ones.
There are two hills named- Kala Dungar and Goro Dungar. On this hilly island exist several microhabitats. They include grassland, scrubland, barren wasteland, agricultural land, village ponds, irrigation reservoir etc. All of them provide habitat to the fauna of one or the other type. Both the hills represent rocky habitats, with or without scrubs like-Prosopis chilensis, kahri jar, mithi jar, gugal, thor, lai, khijado, gorad, hermo baval, kerdo, bokhano etc.