Kerala Wildlife Sanctuaries - Wildlife in Kerala and Tourism

Kerala has a forest area of 11,125 sq km, which covers almost 29 percent of the total land area of the state. There are Five National Parks and 13 Wildlife Sanctuaries in Kerala. These parks and sanctuaries cover 2250 sq km, which is 24 percent of the total forest area and 6 percent of the total land area of the state. All these National Parks and sanctuaries are famous tourist destinations and are frequently visited by tourists to experience the enjoyment of watching wildlife in their natural habitat and to get a feel of the scenic excellence of Kerala.
The following are the Wildlife Sanctuaries of Kerala.

Periyar wildlife sanctuary:

Also known as the Thekkady Wildlife sanctuary, the Periyar wildlife sanctuary is located in the hills of the Western Ghats spreading over an area of 675 sqkm. With its geomorphology, wildlife, beautiful landscape and the picturesque Periyar lake within, the sanctuary is a major tourism center in Kerala and attracts a very large number of tourists each year. With Over 1800 flowering plants including 171 grass species and 143 species of orchids, 35 species of mammals and 265 varieties of bird species, the Periyar sanctuary is a repository of endemic, rare and endangered flora and fauna. Wild elephants, gaurs, langur, sambar deer, Malabar giant squirrel, flying squirrel, Cobra, viper, krait, hombill, stork, woodpecker, kingfisher, raptor, darter, cormorant, grackle, cluster etc... can be spotted here. Some of the famous tea gardens are also located around this place. Boating and trekking at the Thekkady (Periyar) Wildlife reserve is a memorable experience.
Major attractions of Periyar wildlife sanctuary are boat cruises on the lake, elephant ride, trekking, wildlife photography and bird watching.

Ideal Period of Visit November - April
Vegetation Tropical, a mixture of deciduous, semi-evergreen, and evergreen
Nearest Railway Station Kottayam (120 km)
Nearest Town Kumily (4 km)
Trekking trails Mangaladevi hills, Mullakudy, Thannikudy, Vellimala

Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary :

Adjacent to the Anamalai Wildlife Sanctuary of Tamil Nadu, this sanctuary sprawls across 285 sq km and offers a fascinating sight of rare wild animals. It abounds in a variety of trees, mainly teak, neem, sandalwood and rosewood. There are three dams within the Parambikulam wildlife sanctuary, , Parambikulam, Thunakadavu and Peruvaripallam. Parambikulam has the largest population of Gaurs (Indian bisons). The rich fauna includes tigers, leopards, elephants, sambars, tahrs, wild dogs, Indian muntjacs, spotted deers, jungle cats, bonnet macaques, lion-tailed macaques apart from nearly 150 species of birds. There are two watchtowers to observe animals. The place is ideal for boating and trekking. Boating and cruising facilities are available in the reservoirs.

Ideal Period of Visit November - April
Vegetation Scattered patches of grassland and thickly forested
Nearest Railway Station Palakkad (125 km)
Nearest Town Palakkad (125 kms)

Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary :

Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary covers an area of 77 sq km in the Thodupuzha and Udumpanchola talukas of Idukki and occupies the forested area between the Cheruthoni and Periyar rivers. Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary is located at a distance of 40 kms from Thodupuzha. The great reservoir formed by the construction of the Idukki arch dam and dams at Cheruthoni and Kulamavu is a major tourist attraction. Lying at an altitude of 450 - 748m above sea level, the pristine forests and green hills around the area provide ample scope for trekking.
Besides wildlife viewing and trekking, one can enjoy boat cruises on the lake within the sanctuary, which offers a panoramic view of the surrounding areas. Wild Population of Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary includes Elephants, Bison, Sambhar, Deer, Wild Dogs, Jungle Cats, Tiger, Wild Boar etc. The avian population includes Jungle Fowl, Myna, Laughing Thrush, Black Bulbul, Peafowl, Woodpecker, Kingfisher etc.

Ideal Period of Visit December - April
Vegetation Tropical Dense Evergreen Forest
Nearest Railway Station Kottayam (135 km)
Nearest Town Thodupuzha (40 kms)

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Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary :

Chinnar wild life sanctuary in Idukki district covering an area of 90 sq. km is unique for the thorny scrub forest. Unlike Other Regions in Kerala, Chinnar gets Only 48 Days of Rain. This is the second habitat of the endangered giant grizzled squirrel of India. This sanctuary is situated on either side of the Marayoor - Udumalpet road. The Marayoor sandal forest and the beautiful Thoovanam waterfalls are located here. Traveling along the Karimunthi - Chinnar road one can spot Elephants, Spotted Deer, Sambhar, Hanuman monkey and even Peacocks on either sides of the road. There is a watchtower to observe animals. Early hours of the day is the best time to visit this sanctuary.

Ideal Period of Visit December - April
Vegetation Thorny Scrub Forest, Dry Deciduous Forests
Nearest Railway Station Aluva (200 km)
Nearest Town Ernakulam (130 km)

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary :

The Wayanad sanctuary is part of the Wayanad plateau and is home to tigers, leopards, elephants and a number of other animals. The sanctuary is an extension of the Bandipur National Park in Kerala at its southern border. Rich in bio-diversity, the sanctuary is an integral part of the nilgiri biosphere reserve, which has been established with the chief objective of conserving the biological heritage of the region. The Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary comprises of deciduous forest.

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a number of animals that include monkeys, Elephant, Panther, jungle cat, tiger, civet cat, wild dog, deer, bear and bison. Peacock, babblers, cuckoos, owl, wood pecker and jungle fowl are only a few among the different types of birds seen in the area.

Ideal Period of Visit June to October
Vegetation Moist deciduous forests, Semi evergreen forests
Nearest Railway Station Kozhikode (130 km)
Nearest Town Sulthan Bathery (22 km)

Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary :

The Neyyar reservoir extends for only 9.06 sq km and offers exceptional opportunities for boating. The 1890 metres high Agasthyakoodam hill, named after the legendary Indian sage Agasthya, lies in the premises of this sanctuary. A crocodile rearing centre set up by the Govt. of India, deer farm and lion safari park are the main attractions. The vegetation varies from tropical wet evergreen to grasslands. The park houses reptiles like pythons, cobras and monitor lizards and well-maintained gardens.

Ideal Period of Visit October to March
Vegetation Tropical wet evergreen to grasslands (depending on altitude)
Nearest Railway Station Mullayar

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Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary :

Located at about 50 km north east of Thiruvananthapuram city in Nedumangad taluk of Thiruvananthapuram district, Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over an area of 53 sq. km. The forests of this sanctuary constitute the catchment of Peppara dam, constructed across Karamana River to supply drinking water to Thiruvananthapuram city and suburban areas. It was declared a sanctuary in 1983 as thanks to the ecological significance of the area.

The place is fascinating for its dam site, thick forest areas, eucalyptus plantations, crystal clear streams and rocky terrains ideal for adventure expeditions. This sanctuary has tropical, evergreen and deciduous forests, and the hilly parts of the sanctuary harbor tropical forests.

Peppara National Park is the natural habitat of tiger, panther, wild dog, elephant, gaur, mouse deer, Nilgiri langur, sambhar, lion tailed macaque, barking deer, wild boar, Malabar squirrel etc.

At Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary, there are 13 tribal settlements. The tribes have a fascinating culture untouched by modern life bustling outside the sanctuary.

Three major forest belts characterize the flora of the Peppara National Park. These are: southern hilltop tropical evergreen forests that occur mostly on the hills with an altitude of above 1000m, west coast semi- evergreen forests that found atop the hills with an altitude of 150 to 1050m and southern moist mixed deciduous forests found in the lower slopes of the hills and cover more than 60% of the area.

Ideal Period of Visit October to March
Vegetation Tropical evergreen forests, semi- evergreen forests, moist mixed deciduous forests
Nearest Railway Station Trivandrum

Chenthuruni Wildlife Sanctuary :

The Chenthuruni or Shendurni Wildlife Sanctuary is situated 70 km far from Kollam town on the Kollam-Shencotta Road . The Chenthuruni River flows through the midst of this sanctuary. Both shores of the river is covered with thick forests which is home to a lot of diffrent species of trees and animals like , Elephans, Deer, Tigers, diffrent kinds of Monkeys etc...

Steep and rugged peaks surround the sanctuary, which is dotted by several breathtaking ravines.

Ideal Period of Visit March to July
Vegetation tropical evergreen and mixed deciduous forests
Nearest Railway Station Kollam

Peechi Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary :

Peechi Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary, a 125 sq km sanctuary, is situated at about 20 km east of Thrissur, in the catchment area of the Peechi and Vazhani dams. The Sanctuary comprising of the dense, moist deciduous and semi-evergreen forests is a haven for a variety of wildlife that consists of many rare species of animals, birds and plants as well. With more than 50 species of orchids, medicinal plants, rosewood and teakwood the sanctuary is a veritable treasure trove of rare flora and fauna. Among the wildlife, one can find animals like leopards, sambar deer, wild dogs, barking deer, spotted deer, bison and elephants.

The place is congenial for boating and trekking.

Ideal Period of Visit October To March
Vegetation tropical evergreen and mixed deciduous forests dense, moist deciduous and semi-evergreen forests
Nearest Railway Station Thrissur, 23 kms

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Chimmini Wildlife Sanctuary :

Chimmini Wildlife Sanctuary, is situated at the Mukundapuram taluk of Thrissur District. It covers an area of 87 sq km. The sanctuary has a dam which was constructed across the Chimmini River at 75 m above the sea level. A part of the Chimmini wildlife sanctuary lies adjacent to the Peechi-Vazhani wildlife sanctuary and the other part to Parambikulam wildlife sanctuary. All kinds of flora found in rain forest are seen here. Animals like leopard, tiger, elephant, bear, wild pigs, wild bison etc are commonly seen here. Vegetation here consists of Evergreen forests, Semi evergreen forests. Leaf shedding forests.

Ideal Period of Visit October To March
Vegetation Evergreen forests. Semi evergreen forests, Leaf shedding forests
Nearest Railway Station Thrissur, 35 kms

Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary :

The Aralam sanctuary is the northern most wildlife sanctuary of Kerala and is located on the western slopes of the Western Ghats. The sanctuary is only 55 sq.kms in area. The elevation varies from 50m to 1145m and the highest peak of Katti Betta, covered with tropical and semi- evergreen forests rises to a majestic height of 1145 m above sea level. A variety of flora and fauna endemic to the Western Ghats is found here. Herds of deer, elephants, boar and bison are quite common. Leopards, Jungle Cats and various types of Squirrels have also been sighted. The vegetation here consists of tropical evergreen and semievergreen forests. There are about 490 ha of teak and eucalyptus plantations within the forest area.

Ideal Period of Visit June to October
Vegetation Tropical evergreen and semi evergreen forests
Nearest Railway Station Thalassery, 35 kms

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Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary :

Mangalavanam is an ecologically sensitive area situated at the centre of Kochi city. This mangrove forest is home to many exotic and rare varieties of migratory birds. Mangalavanam gained importance because of the mangrove vegetation and also due to the congregation of communally breeding birds. The most common bird species found at Mangalavanarn were Little Cormorant and Black-crowned Night Heron. Highest species richness of birds was found in the months of May and July.

Ideal Period of Visit May and July
Vegetation Mangrove vegetation
Nearest Railway Station Kochi

Thattekkad Wildlife Sanctuary (Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary) :

Thattekkad Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Kothamangalam Taluk of Ernakulam district on the northern bank of the Periyar river. One of the most famous landmarks in Kerala, Thattekkad bird sanctuary is home to almost 500 species of exotic birds. The thick tropical deciduous and evergreen cover is a safe haven for these winged creatures.

Dr Salim Ali, the renowned ornithologist of India, described Thattekad in the 1930's as the richest bird habitat in peninsular India, comparable only with the eastern Himalayas. This bird sanctuary, a peninsular land of 25 sq. km is covered with deciduous forests and plantation of rosewood, teak etc.

The fascinating birds that are found here are Bee-eater, Falcon Grey, Jungle Fowl, Black Winged Kite, Shrike, Crimson-throated Barbet, Ceylon Frogmoth, Sunbird, Night Heron, Blue winged parakeet, white-breasted water hen, rose-billed Roller, Hornbill, etc. This rare haven offers picturesque landscapes, and is a nature lover's paradise.

Ideal Period of Visit May and July
Vegetation Tropical deciduous and evergreen forests
Nearest Railway Station Aluva, 48 kms

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