Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
A bit of facts first.
Kerala has a total forest area of 11,125.59 sq.kms which also includes wildlife sanctuaries. In terms of percentage, 28.88 percent of Kerala's landmass is forested which is much higher than the national average of 19.50 percent. Most of the forest area of Kerala is spread over the Western Ghats which is also known as the Sahayadri. The Western Ghats borders Kerala on its eastern side and forms a part of the 25 bio diversity hotspot of the world. Now, a bio diversity hotspot are those areas that are biologically rich but have lost seventy percent of their original habitat. The reduce in area (1.4% of the total land surface) notwithstanding, these bio diversity hotspot still support 60 percent of the world's plant, bird, mammal, reptile, and amphibian species.
The forested areas in Kerala fall into five major category - tropical wet evergreen forests, tropical moist deciduous forests, tropical dry deciduous forests, mountain sub tropical and plantations. These forests are home to around 102 species of mammals (56 of which are indigenous), 476 species of birds, 202 species of freshwater fishes, 169 species of reptiles (139 indigenous) and 89 amphibian (86 indigenous). Kerala also houses around 10,035 plant species which is a staggering 22 percent of India's total.
With all these facts to support Kerala's richness in wildlife, there is little doubt that wildlife tourism in Kerala is happening and is only going to take further leaps in future.
Important Wildlife Sanctuaries and Parks
|Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary||Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary||Kumarakom
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
Occupying an area of around 90 sq km, the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is located at Devikulam taluk of Idukki district. Lying in the rainforest region of the Western Ghats, the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary provides refuge to the endangered Giant Grizzled Squirrel of India. Other wildlife species that can be sighted here include Tigers, Elephant, Bonnet Macaques, Gaur, Kraits, Spotted Deer, Spectacled Cobras, Sambar, Turtles, Vipers, Little Cormorants, Darters and Black Eagles. Tourists coming here can also indulge in bit of adventure by undertaking trekking and boating expeditions.
Silent Valley National Park
Also a part of Nilgiri Bio Sphere, the Silent Valley occupies an area of 90 sq km. It lies at a distance of 80 km from Palakkad and 55 km from Coimbatore (in Tamil Nadu). Notwithstanding its name as a Silent Valley, there is actually nothing quiet about this park. Elephants, Lion Tailed Macaques and Tigers, the most common denizens of the park, along with 100 species of butterflies and 400 species of moths and other fauna keep the forest area alive and active.
Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary
40 Kms From Thodupuzha in Kerala and 450 - 758 m above sea level is the Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary occupying an area of 77 sq km. Amidst tropical semi-evergreen and deciduous forests, wildlife species like Elephants, Bison, Sambhar, Deer, Wild Dogs, Jungle Cats, Tiger, Wild Boar and reptiles such as Cobra, Viper, Krait can be spotted. The bird species of the park include Jungle Fowl, Myna, Laughing Thrush, Black Bulbul, Peafowl, Woodpecker, Kingfisher etc.
Thattekad Bird Sanctuary
Occupying an area of 25 sq km, the Thattekad Bird Sanctuary is located in the Ernakulam district of Kerala. Designed by a famous ornithologist, Dr Salim Ali, the Thattekad Bird Sanctuary is home to a large number of bird species like Bee-eater, Sunbird, Shrike, Black winged Kite, and the Night Heron. Also around 28 species of animals and nine species of reptile can also be spotted in this sanctuary.
Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary
This is one of the most important Wildlife Sanctuary IN Kerala that lies close to the Annamali Sanctuary. The animals and bird species found here include Tigers, Leopards, Wild Dogs, Sloth Bear, Elephants, Wild Boar, Barking Deer, Spotted Deer, Langurs and Macaques. The population of Gaur here is largest in the state of Kerala. The 140 species of birds keep the atmosphere of the park vibrant.
Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary
Located 50 kms north east of capital city of Thiruvananthapuram, the Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary is home to Tiger, Panther, Wild Dog, Lion Tailed Macaque, Elephant, Gaur, Sambhar, Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Wild Boar, Nilgiri Langur, Malabar squirrel etc. The bird species Seen here include water birds like Darter, Little Cormorant, Pied Kingfisher and Egrets. Apart from these, numerous variety of snakes including the King Cobra and Python are frequently spotted in the park. The highlight of the park is the 13 tribes that still reside inside the park premises.
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