Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary
Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary comprises of the twin reserves of Muthanga in the south east and Tholpetty in the north. It shares boarders with the neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is the part of world famous Nilgiri Biosphere and one of the best places in India to spot wild elephants and many other mammals.
The southern portion of the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, 40km east of Kalpetta, is known as Muthanga Reserve (daily 6am-10am and 3pm-5pm). Like nearby Bandipur National Park, in neighbouring Karnataka, the park, with its dry deciduous forests, is noted for elephants and also shelters Indian bison (gaur), deer, wild boar, bear and tiger.
Tuskers trying their tusk against trees at Muthanaga
Trekking in the sanctuary is only allowed during the morning slot. If you opt for the two-hour, 22km-long jeep trip, you'll also have to pay for a guide as well as the jeep rental and the vehicle's entry fee.
Spotted deer at Muthanga
The highway from Kalpetta to Mysore and Bandipur (via Sultan Bathery) crosses an important migratory corridor for elephants, which can frequently be seen plodding along the main road here. Buses bound for Mysore and Bengaluru (Bangalore) run past the park gates.
View of a village near Muthanga
Tree house near Muthanga
Forming the northern sector of the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Tholpetty Reserve, 25km northeast of Mananthavady, is one of the best parks in India for sighting elephants, as well as bison, boar, samba, spotted deer, macaques and Nilgiri langurs.
The sisters at Tholpetty reserve
Tigers also inhabit the reserve and their pug marks are commonly encountered along the muddy margins of forest trails, although you'd be lucky indeed to see big cats in the flesh these days; decades of poaching have reduced the population to vestigial numbers.
Indian bison at Tholpetty An elephant family at Tholpetty
The Forest Department runs 24km jeep safari's -(daily 7-9am and 3-5pm; 90min) from the park's main gates along a network of rutted tracks, passing through stands of old teak and bamboo groves, interspersed with boggy water holes where watch towers and observation huts have been erected.
The cost depends on numbers, or better still, let the Pachyderm Palace make the arrangements for you if you're staying there. You can also guided treks (daily 8am-1pm), though the pace can be brisk, and stops few and far between.
The Wildlife Warden
Wayanad Wildlife Division
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