Wildlife Sanctuaries in Kerala

Wildlife Sanctuaries

The Government of India enacts special protection laws to protect endangered wildlife. The Forest Act came into force in Kerala in 1970. There are 18 wildlife sanctuaries and 5 national parks in Kerala. What are the important wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala?

1.Periyar Tiger Reserve

It is also the first wildlife sanctuary in Kerala. The Periyar Tiger Reserve is one of the 27 tiger reserves in India. Covering an area of ​​777 sq km, it is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. In 1934 Part of Periyar Tiger Reserve declared as Nellikampetti Wildlife Sanctuary. In 1950 It became the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. In 1978, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary became a Periyar Tiger Reserve. The Periyar Tiger Reserve is located in the Idukki and Pathanamthitta districts of Kerala. The rivers Pampa and Periyar flow through the area. 

Periyar tiger reserve

It covers 430 sq km of forest area, 148 sq km of recreational areas around Periyar Lake and 345 sq km of buffer zone. The core area is perfectly protected. This place is considered to be a virgin forest with no human presence. It is believed that there are 7 types of forests here. 

Evergreen forests 

Semi-evergreen forests

Wet deciduous forests 

High tropics 

Moisture mixed tropical flowering forests 

Semi-tropical hill ridges 

Moisture mixed grass meadows 

Seed-bearing species of plants 1970 species are thought to exist here. There are three types of plants that do not have seed pods. 173 species of pollinated plants have also been found here. There are many herbs here. Three species of plants found only in the Periyar Tiger Reserve have been identified. 

62 species of mammals, 326 species of birds, 45 species of reptiles, 27 species of amphibians and 38 species of fish have been identified. Elephants, wild buffaloes, lion-tailed macaque, hooves, coyotes and endangered species are found in the area. Although tigers cannot be counted directly because of the dense forests, it is estimated that there are at least 50 tigers in the study of footprints, nail scratches, and excrement.

2.Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary

This wildlife sanctuary covers the forest area around the Idukki Reservoir. The deforestation of 7 hectares as part of the Idukki Hydroelectric Project has resulted in significant damage to wildlife there.As a result, it was decided to protect the surrounding forests. Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over Idukki and Thodupuzha taluks. The sanctuary covers an area of ​​105.364 sq km. The place was declared a wildlife sanctuary on February 9, 1976. This wildlife sanctuary is located at an elevation of 1000 ft above sea level. Elephants, wild buffaloes, llamas, monkeys, deer, bears, tigers and many other species of birds can be seen here. The area is rich in evergreen forests, semi-evergreen forests, deciduous and moist forests. Idukki, Cheruthoni and Kulamavu dams are located in this sanctuary. Painavu is the headquarters of the Idukki District and is located within the sanctuary.

Idukki wildlife sanctuary

3.Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Marayoor in Devikulam Taluk, Kanthalloor Panchayat, Idukki District. The area is 90.44 sq km. The sanctuary was established in August 1984. There are 963 species of flowering plants in the sanctuary. Mostly the grasslands and wet grassland vegetations and South Western ghats montane rain forest and Shola at the higher western elevation . South Western ghats moist deciduous forests at mid elevations give way to dry deciduous forests and thorny scrub forest in the lower dryer eastern edges of the valley. The Marayoor sandalwood forests are located within it. 

It is home to a wide variety of wildlife. There are 28 species of mammals including Indian leopard, and spotted deer, Elephant, Gaur, Bengal tiger, Nilgiri tahr, Bonnet macaque, Gray langurs, Sambar deer, rasty - spotted cat and grizzled giant squrrael. 225 species of birds, 52  species of reptiles including 29 species of snakes, 14 species of fish observed in the chinnar and pambar river. 15 species of amphibians and 156 species of butterflies. In 2016, 101 species of spiders were reported.

4.Shenduruny Wildlife Sanctuary

Shenduruny wildlife sanctuary located in Kulathupuzha, Kollam District.  Comes under the control of Agasthyamalai Biosphere reserve. The sanctuary was established in the year 1984. It is headquartered in Thenmala.  The shenduruny covers an area of ​​172.403 square kilometers. Shenduruny is a wildlife sanctuary known for its trees. The name comes from the abundance of Gluta travancorica (Shenduruny tree). Nearby is Asia's first butterfly safari park. It is believed that this was the first time that trunks were counted in India. The highest point is Alwarkurichi at an altitude of 1550 m. There are 1257 species of flowering plants, 62 species of mammals, 171 species of birds, 36 species of reptiles, 54 species of amphibians, 31 species of fish, 187 species of butterflies, 40 species of tortoises and 40 species of ants. The Garuda Butterfly, the largest butterfly in South India, and the Oriental Grass Jewel, the smallest butterfly, were found here. 

5.Parambikulam Tiger Reserve

Parambikulam Tiger Reserve is located in Palakkad district. It covers an area of ​​285 square kilometers. It is located at a distance of 90 km from Palakkad town. The main road to Parambikulam also passes through Sethumada in Tamil Nadu. It is adjacent to the Annamalai Wildlife Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu. It is an area with a lot of elephants. The sanctuary is home to wild buffalo, Nilgiri tahr, Lion tailed macaques crocodiles and a few tigers and leopards. The sanctuary has a rich diversity of animals including mammals 39 Species, Amphibians 16 Species, Reptiles 61 Species, Birds 268 species, insects 1049 species, fish 47 Species and Butterflies 221 Species. 

Parambikulam wildlife sanctuary

The place is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. You can go on an adventure in the forest with prior permission. Boat rides are also available on the lake. The sanctuary was established in 1973. Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary was converted into Parambikulam Tiger Reserve on February 19, 2010. This is the second tiger sanctuary in Kerala. This sanctuary is the home to 4 types of indigenous peoples including the kadar, malasar, muduvar and mala malasar settled in colonies.

6.Neyyar wildlife Sanctuary

Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Thiruvananthapuram district. This is a forest area of ​​about 128 sq. Km in the protected area of ​​Neyyar Dam, about 32 km from the city center of Thiruvananthapuram. It was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1958. This is a forested area with evergreen forests and deciduous forests. Agasthyakoodam, the second highest peak in the Western Ghats after Anamudi, is located in this region. There are 39 species of mammals including Elephant, wild buffalo, Nilgiri tahr, monkey, tiger, llamas, bear, leopard, wolf and lion tailed macaques etc..176 species of birds, 30 species of reptiles, 17 species of amphibians, 40 species of fishes are reported in this sanctuary. A crocodile farm situated nearby, setup in 1977 at Neyyar is home to around 20 muggar crocodiles. This crocodile rehabilitation and research center was inaugurated at Neyyar wildlife sanctuary in may 2007. There is also an Elephant Rehabilitation Center and a deer rehabilitation center nearby.

7.Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary

This wildlife sanctuary located close to the Sahyaparvath in Wayanad district. This wildlife sanctuary is part of the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve and was declared a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1973. Bandipur National Park, Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary and Nagarhole Wildlife Sanctuary are located nearby. It is located between Sultan Bathery in Wayanad district and Mysore in the state of Karnataka. It is the second largest wildlife sanctuary in Kerala. The uniqueness of this wildlife sanctuary is that it is rich in flora and fauna. The wildlife sanctuary aims at scientific conservation of wildlife in accordance with the traditions of the tribals living here. 

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary was established in the year 1973. During 1991-92, the wildlife sanctuary was included in the Project Elephant plan. The 345 sq km wildlife sanctuary is divided into two parts, Upper Wayanad and Lower Wayanad. This wildlife sanctuary is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Maruti, Karumaruti, Cedar, Vendak, Wormwood and Vengal are some of the important plants grown here. Elephants, tigers, leopards, monkeys, wild bears, wild cats, wild buffaloes, various types of snakes, lizards and many other species of animals live in this sanctuary. Muthanga and Tholpetty are two important wildlife sanctuaries in the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary.

  • Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuary

Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuary is another important wildlife sanctuary in Wayanad district. Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuary is located on Mananthavady Kudak Road, 20 km east of Mananthavady. The place is rich in wildlife and birds. Adjacent to this wildlife sanctuary is the famous Thirunelly Temple. The Brahmagiri Hills guard the north and west of Tholpetty. Nagarhole Wildlife Sanctuary is also located close to Tholpetty. Situated close to the Sahyaparvata Range, this sanctuary is also home to a wide variety of wildlife. The place is famous for its elephants and tigers. Tholpetty stretches from the northern Wayanad border to the Coorg district of Karnataka. Elephants, wild buffaloes, deer, elephants, leopards and tigers can be seen roaming around here. Jeep safaris are the best way to visit Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuary. Travelers are only allowed to travel a certain distance. Admission to the forest is from 7 to 10 in the morning and from 2 to 5 in the evening. It is 24 km from Mananthavady, 59 km from Kalpetta and 66 km from Bathery to Tholpetty. Trekking and bird watching are some of the activities offered to the tourists visiting this place. A watch tower has been set up here for a panoramic view of Tholpetty and Wayanad.

  • Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary

Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary is located on two sides of the Wayanad border, which joins Karnataka and Tamilnadu. Wayanad Bandipur Mudumalai National Park covers an area of over 2500 Sq. Km and is spread over three states. It is also home to tigers and leopards. Wild buffalo, spotted deer and llamas can also be seen. Birds, butterflies, other reptiles and mammals are also abundant as the forests are covered with wet deciduous forests and evergreen forests. On the way to Muthanga, you can see wildlife along the way. This area is part of the project elephant as there are elephant sanctuaries spread across all the three states. The sanctuary is located in the Nagarhole and Bandipur forests of Karnataka and the Mudumalai forest in Tamil Nadu. It is part of the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve. The nearby village of Choonda is also part of the sanctuary. There are facilities to go hiking in the forest. Tribal huts are also available at Muthanga and Choonda.

Muthanga wildlife sanctuary

8.Chimmini Wildlife Sanctuary

Chimmini wildlife sanctuary located along the western ghats in chalakkudy taluk of Thrissur district of Kerala, India. Chimmini Wildlife Sanctuary was established in the year 1984 and covers an area of ​​85.067 sq. Km. The headquarters of the sanctuary is at Echippara, which is located 40 km away from Thrissur. The highest peak in sanctuary is punda peak ( 1116 m). The Chimmini river flows through the sanctuary. A 75 meter high dam has also been constructed across the Chimmini River. Various species of monkeys, leopards and tigers are protected here. The place is home to a large number of flora and fauna. It is home to all the major species of plants of the Indian subcontinent. Wild buffalo, elephants and other small wildlife can be seen here. There are also trekking trails for the adventurous climbers.

9.Peechi - Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary

Peechi Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary is located 20 km east of Thrissur city on the western side of the Palapilli - Nelliampathi hills. Covering an area of ​​125 sq. Km, this wildlife sanctuary is the catchment area of ​​the Peechi-Vazhani dams. The Kurumali, Wadakkancherry and Manali rivers flow through this sanctuary. It is a land of more than 50 species of orchids, medicinal plants and rainforests from the Mediterranean Hills to the Western Ghats. About 25 mammals including leopards, tigers, elephants, wild buffalo, deer, hundreds of species of birds, reptiles and snakes can be seen here. The sanctuary was established in 1958. The Chimney Wildlife Sanctuary is adjacent to it. 

Peechi - vazhani wildlife sanctuary

10.Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary

Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary is an area adjacent to the Peppara Dam located on the Karamanayar near Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala. It is located in Vithura Panchayath. This entire forest area is mountainous. The mountains range in height from 100 m to 1717 m. The most important of these is the Chemmunjimotta hill. Also important are Athirumala, Arumughakunnu, Kovil Therimala and Nachiyadikunnu. The average annual rainfall is 2500 mm. This area attracts a lot of tourists. Mammals are an important part of this conservation area. Of these, 43 species of mammals, 233 species of birds, 46 species of reptiles, 13 species of amphibians and 27 species of fish have been recorded. 

Peppara wildlife sanctuary

The Papara Dam was established in 1983. Due to the importance of the forest and the environment, it has been declared a protected area since 1983. This area was initially part of Puthuppilly. This includes the forests of Palode Reserve and Kottur Reserve. Rare species of plants and animals are found in this forest. The 11 islands in the dam are very special. Migratory birds visit the islands every year. You can see a lot of wildlife here especially elephants. Many large and small rivers such as Thodayar, Karamanayar, Attayar, Vachopayanthiyar and Kaviyar converge in this dam. Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary is located about 50 km northeast of Thiruvananthapuram on the Thiruvananthapuram - Ponmudi Road. 

11.Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary

Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Kannur district of Kerala. It is the northernmost wildlife sanctuary in Kerala. The Wildlife Sanctuary is located at a distance of about 35 km from Thalassery and 60 km from the city of Kannur. It is a small wildlife sanctuary in Kerala covering an area of ​​55 sq. Km. The sanctuary was established in the year 1984. Elephants, wild buffaloes, llamas, deer, wild boar, wild dogs, tigers, various species of monkeys and cubs can be seen here. The headquarters of the sanctuary is near Iritty. Numerous small and large streams and creeks, including the Cheenkannipuzha and Bavalipuzha, the main tributaries of the Valapattanam River, flow through the sanctuary's boundaries. It is bounded on the north by the forests of the state of Karnataka and on the east by the forests of Wayanad district on the south by Aralam Farm, Cheenkanni River and on the west by Aralam Farm. 

Forest land up to 40-45 m tall undergrowth, 15 to 30 m high undergrowth of small trees and shrubs and undergrowth along ground level. The migration of albatross butterflies from December to January attracts the attention of butterfly researchers and zoologists. Thousands of butterflies pass along the banks of the Cheenkanni River during this time. They are recorded passing through the forests of Wayanad, emerging from the Kodagu Hills. It is reported that 40 to 140 albatross butterflies pass through the river in one minute. 

12.Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary

Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary is the last established wildlife sanctuary in Kerala. The sanctuary was established on August 8, 2010. It is located at a distance of 65 km from Kozhikode. This wildlife sanctuary is situated at Kakkayam in Malabar. Kozhikode - Kakkayam Pannikottur forest area in Koyilandy taluk has been made a protected area. The protected area covers an area of ​​about 74.25 sq km. The core zone is approximately 54 square kilometer. The mountains range in height from 1,500 feet to 4,500 feet. The Kuttyadipuzha River flows through it and other tributaries of the river originate from here. 

680 species of flowering plants, 39 species of grasses, 22 species of orchids and 28 species of ferns were found here. It is home to a variety of wildlife including monkeys, tiger, wild buffalo, elephant, leopard, deer, wild boar, bear, wild boar and porcupine. More than 150 species of birds have been found here. In addition, many amphibians and reptiles are found here. More than 50 species of fish have been found in the rivers here. In addition, more than 150 butterflies and more than 200 moths have been found here, including rare butterflies.

The first was the Reserve Forest.  The flora of Malabar and importance of the rainforests was later realized and it was converted into a wildlife sanctuary. It is bordered by the Kurichi forest area of ​​Kalpetta, some forest areas of Peruvannamoozhi and some forests of Thamarassery range and Kozhikode. 

13.Karimpuzha Wildlife Sanctuary

Karimpuzha Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Nilambur in Malappuram district of Kerala. Karimpuzha is the first wildlife sanctuary in Malappuram district. It is declared as a wildlife sanctuary on July 3, 2020. It covers an area of 227.97 Sq km. Landscape of this wildlife sanctuaries from 40 m to 2654 m above sea level. This sanctuary is also the only forest stretch in Kerala where 7 types of forest include Evergreen forest - semi evergreen forest, evergreen rainforest, moist deciduous forest, sub tropical Savannah, sub tropical hill forest, montane wet temperate forest and wet grasslands. Areas free from human touch are the speciality of the Karimpuzha Wildlife Sanctuary. 

Karimpuzha wildlife sanctuary

This sanctuary has almost all mammals endemic to western ghats including the Nilgiri Tahr, and lion tailed macaque. It is home to 226 species of birds, 41 species of mammals, 33 species of reptiles and 23 species of amphibians. It covers an area of ​​227.97 sq km including the protected forest area of ​​New Amarambalam Forest. The wildlife sanctuary is located at a distance of 25 km from the settlement. Karimpuzha Wildlife Sanctuary is the fourth largest wildlife sanctuary in the state. It is bordered on the north-east by the Silent Valley National Park Buffer Zone and on the south by Mukurthi National Park.

14.Kottiyoor Wildlife Sanctuary 

Kottiyoor Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Kannur district. It is the 23 rd wildlife sanctuary in Kerala. The total area of the wildlife sanctuary is 3,037.98 hectares. This sanctuary is a part of northern western ghats. It is classified as a  tropical borad leaf forest. the region is a transition zone between the moist cullenia - dominated forest in south to dryer Dipterocarp forest in north. This region is classified under critical biodiversity hotspots. kottiyoor wildlife sanctuary is a part Nilgiri Biosphere reserve. It is also home to many flora and fauna. Kottiyoor Wildlife Sanctuary is located close to the Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary is adjacent to the Bandipur National Park, a tiger reserve park in Karnataka border. 

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