Asola-Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary lies at the far southern edge of the city of Delhi, at Asola near Tughlaqabad in the Delhi National Capital Territory of India. This protected area contains one of the last surviving remnants of Delhi Ridge hill range and its semi arid forest habitat and its dependent wildlife, the northernmost extension of the Aravalli mountains that begin in the state of Rajasthan. Once this forested ridge area extended throughout the city of Delhi, but development has all but destroyed it. The reserve is found at the end of a rutted track that leads through a dusty unlicensed village.
The sanctuary is located on Southern Ridge, the northern terminal of Aravalli Hill Range, one of the oldest mountain system of the world. Biodiversity significance of Ridge lies in its merger with Indo-Gangetic plains. Legal protected Status of southern ridge was uncertain till 1986 when community lands of the villages of Asola, Shapur and Maidangari (4,707 acres (1,905 ha)) were notified during 1986 and the lands of Bhatti 2,167 acres (877 ha)) were notified in 1991 as a sanctuary.
It is located in South Delhi District all along Delhi Haryana, Faridabad and Gurgaon interstate border. It can be approached from Tughlaqabad (Mehrauli-Badarpur Road) to Surajkund Road (2 km (1.2 mi)) near Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range or from Mehrauli via Chhatarpur Temple 6 km (3.7 mi) near Sanjay Colony (Bhatti Area). It is about 25 km (16 mi) from Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, the Delhi Railway station is about 30 km (19 mi) and Maharana Pratap Bus Stand is about 32 km (20 mi) from the sanctuary. It is near Tuglaqabad Fort, on the way of Surajkund Mela.
Biogeographically it represents outlier of Aravalli Mountain Range among protected area in India. It has a high potential for establishing conservation education and nature interpretation programs. It is a potential green lung and carbon sink for India's capital. Here there is an opportunity for establishing long term strategies for restoration of habitat and biological monitoring. There is a potential for improvement in local ground water regime for advantage to the population living in vicinity of the sanctuary. It also provides a potential shelterbelt against advancing aridity.
The main attraction in the Asola area now is the Conservation Education Centre (CEC) in the Forest Department building run in collaboration with the Bombay Natural History Society and Government of NCT Delhi. Here you can get a comprehensive package of information on Flora Fauna and also on how to help to conserve them. The Nature trail run by the staff of CEC through the scrub jungle that surrounds the building is really enriched with interesting facts about the nature and life style. 2 km (1.2 mi) exposing floral and faunal element, topography of area. There are about 193 species of birds reported from Asola along with large number of medicinal plants, more than 80 species of butterflies, hundreds of other insects, mammals like blue bull (nilgai, largest antelope of the country), blackbuck (fastest land animal surviving in the wild in the country), black-naped hare, porcupine, civets, jackals, jungle cats, and even marks of leopard are present.
The film shows and slide shows conducted by the CEC are of a class of their own.
Nature trail 2 km exposing floral and faunal element, topography of area. Good patches of Anogeissus, Balanite and riparian belt representative of Aravalli Hill Range. Large worked out minepits of Bhatti area in process of reclamation and establishment likely to be developed wetland habitat. Historical place around sanctuary are surajkund(Haryana), Tughlakabad and Adilabad ruins (N.Delhi), Chattarpur Temple.
CEC Delhi BNHS organises trips to Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary every winter and summer for children.
The Department of Environment, Delhi Government has been implementing a project on Rehabilitation of 2,100 acres (850 ha) of Bhatti Mines area since October 2000, which is a part of Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary. Project period was for 5 years at the cost of Rs.823 lacs, same was extended for a further period of 3 years with an additional outlay of Rs.493.19 lakhs. Up to 31.03.2006, 7.00 lakhs saplings have been already planted. The project was further extended for another 3 years. A second Eco Task Force was created for Asola Wildlife Sanctuary of 5000 acres.
There has been a history of illegal mining within the sanctuary and surrounding Delhi Ridge hill area for red badarpur sand and stone which are always in hot demand for building activity and construction. The surrounding area is also known as Bhatti mines. There are large open and deep pits in the ground all over the sanctuary and many are lying abandoned for years and turn into ponds of water in the rainy season.
Delhi city as per some officials has anywhere between 5,000 and 20,000 stray rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) monkeys, though this could easily be too low. Parts of the city, especially on the southern edge, are besieged with these teeming animals, who sit on the roadside as traffic passes, or else play in the branches of the tree cover above. Dealing with the monkey problem has been a slow process, Hindus believe that the animals are manifestations of the monkey god Hanuman and feed them bananas and peanuts especially near temples. Culling them is out of the question. Delhi's attempts to persuade a number of other states to accept the city's monkeys have also fallen flat. The authorities in other states have said they had enough monkeys of their own to be dealing with, never mind taking in extra troublemakers from Delhi. In 2007 the federal government demanded that the city authorities act against the monkeys. Exasperated by the monkeys, which had previously broken into a government office, torn up and destroyed secret documents and even broken into the complex in which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's office is located, bitten staff and members of public, they called for action. In May 2007, under pressure from various politicians and campaigners, the Delhi High Court ordered the authorities to begin rounding up the stray monkeys and relocating them to a specially constructed sanctuary. That, they believed, would be the end of the problem.
Authorities have established a sanctuary by erecting a 45 ft (14 m) wall of hardened plastic that contains an area of many acres in Asola-Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary, Delhi. Since April, officials captured and released 1,650 monkeys into the reserve. Trucks will deliver shipments of caged inmates trapped in the City. The city pays monkey catchers 450 rupees (£5.50) per animal and has planned to increase the number it employs. "We trap them in cages and transfer them to the reserve," explains an official in the city's wildlife department. However the released monkeys are not well contained inside the reserve walls as they climb over it and attack and pinch people in the neighboring village where they like to go for foraging.
Menace of wild urban monkeys in Delhi sprouted the popular urban legend of Monkey-man of Delhi which has been fictionalized in popular culture in the Bollywood Hindi feature film Delhi-6.