The Wild Ass
Sanctuary at Little Rann of Kutch (Kachchh) is located in
north-west India, in Gujarat's Surendranagar, Rajkot, Patan,
Banaskantha and Kachchh districts. Spread over 4,954 (7,170?) sq. kms,
the Sanctuary is part of the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK), a southward
extension of the Great Rann of Kutch (GRK). The sanctuary holds
the last population of the endangered Asiatic Wild Ass Equus
hemionus khur (see image
Like the GRK, the LRK is a flat, salt-impregnated, mudflat which is
seasonally inundated during the southwest monsoon by up to 2 meters of
water. During the dry season the area turns into a desiccated
salt-encrusted wasteland and the only vegetation that survives is
found in the edges and in the 'bets' (beyts). Bets are elevated
isolated patches of land with less salinity which support some
xerophytic vegetation and provide wet season refuge to the wildlife.
The LRK has 74 identified bets, of which 51 have vegetation cover. The
'Pung Bet' covers an area of 30 sq. kms. and the 'Mardak Bet' rises to
in the 'Rann of Kutch Seasonal Salt Marsh' (IM0901) bio-geographic zone.
The ecoregion represents the dry, arid mudflats at the end of the Luni
river and falls within Udvardy's Thar
Desert biogeographic province. It extends
across north-western Gujarat and southern Pakistan's Sind Desert
region. The vegetation here consists
mainly of grasses and dry thorny scrub.
and Seth (1968) classify these forests as
Salvadora scrub and tropical Euphorbia scrub.
There are very few trees and large portions
of Little Rann is covered by Prosopis
spp., an invasive plant. Bets and fringe
area support a variety of indigenous plants like Suaeda spp.,
Salvadora persica, Capparis decidua, Capparis deciduas, Calotropis
procera, Tamarix sp., Aeluropus lagopoides, Cressa cretica, Sporobolus
spp. and Prosopis Cineraria. Grasses and
dry thorny scrub include Apluda aristata, Cenchrus spp.,
Pennisetum spp., Cymbopogon spp. etc.
Little Rann of Kutch is a place to see birds in numbers.
Due to its unique geographical location,
Kutch is considered to be at the crossroads of Palearctic migration streams and witnesses great waves of migratory birds in winter.
near the sea and its vast low-lying expanses,
which get periodically flooded by
marine water, creates an unique habitat which
attracts a wide variety of birds.
Over 200 bird species have
been recorded in the area. Breeding species include India's only
known nesting colony of the Lesser Flamingo. Other key species consist
of European Roller, McQueen’s Bustard, Lesser Florican, Demoiselle
Crane, Common Crane, Spotted Sandgrouse, Red-necked Phalarope,
Cream-colored Courser, Sociable Lapwing, Collared Pratincole,
White-rumped Vulture, Indian Spotted Eagle, a variety of harriers,
Greater Flamingo, Dalmatian Pelican, White Stork, Greater Hoopoe Lark
and Sykes’s Lark.
Bird and wildlife viewing is easy at LRK due to the presence of
excellent birding infrastructure. Most of the top-rated tourist
establishments have knowledgeable guides who can show you all the
Greater Hoopoe Lark
Where to stay
There are several places to stay in and around
LRK. Aside from the Govt. Guest House at Dhrangadhra, there are some
well-known private operators who offer a complete LRK experience.
These include the Rann Riders Resort at Dasada and the Desert Coursers
Entry and travel
The Sanctuary has three main
access points at Dhrangadhra, Range Bajana,
and Range Adesar (Aadeshwar).
Range Bajana is the best place to enter in the winter as the wetlands
that house migratory birds are closest to it.
Dhrangadhra is the easiest place to find transportation and
Railway station: Dhrangadhra -
Airport: Ahmedabad -
Important Facts and figures
(7,170 ?) sq. km
Phone : (O) 02754 260716.
45ºC; Low 0ºC.
Winter November - February.
Location: Between 22º
55' to 24º
35' N and 70º
30' to 71º
Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, about
October to March
Forests and Environment Deptt. Govt. of Gujarat
World Heritage Convention: Wild Ass Sanctuary, LRK
LRK Trip with images December 2010
Kachchh Biosphere Reserve: Rann and Biodiversity by M. Pardeshi et.al.
Rann Riders, Dasada
Desert Coursers, Camp Zainabad
WWF Terrestrial Ecoregion
Guide to India by Krys Kazmierczak and Raj Singh
Sumit K Sen