Visit to Wildlife Sanctuaries in Kerala can be thrilling and refreshing. Kerala is a land of lakes, rivers, hills and forests. This small but amazing land has a large variety of wildlife.
The area of Kerala is just 38,863 sq km; but within this small area there are impressive 16 wildlife sanctuaries and five national parks.
Wildlife Sanctuaries in Kerala and national parks are home to many animals. There are typically Indian animals like tigers and elephants. You can also see the rare animals such as Nilgiri Tahr or lion-tailed monkey.
For the wildlife enthusiast, there is plenty to see and experience here. Wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala are close to some of the state's biggest cities. That makes things even easier. Sanctuaries and parks are convenient getaways of more than a day or two. Below is the list of Wildlife Sanctuaries in Kerala.
Eravikulam National Park
Eravikulam National Park is 13km northeast of Munnar. Anamudi peak in the park is the highest mountain in south India.
The park covers 97 sq km of moist evergreen forest and grassy hilltop in the Western Ghats. It is the last stronghold of one of the world's rarest mountain goats, the Nilgir Tahr.
You are almost guaranteed to see the Tahr when you visit the park. You have to walk 1500m from the park gate in a winding single track. But expect to do so in the company of hundreds of other tourists on weekends- a rather hollow experience.
Best time to visit: Nov to April.
Silent Valley National Park
Kerala's Silent Valley National Park is a wildlife park worth visiting. An excellent place to engage in a bit of neat wildlife watching.
The park is a stretch of tropical evergreen woodland tucked away along the north-eastern boarder of the state.
The Silent Valley reserve forms the core of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, the vast protected forest across Kerala and neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
There are 34 species of mammals at Silent Valley including the rare Lion-tailed Macaque.
The nearest airports are Coimabatore in Tamil Nadu state and Calicut. Plakkad (Palghat) is the closest railhead.
Best time to visit: Dec to April
Shola National Parks
Sholas are patches of evergreen tropical and subtropical forests in the mountain ranges of south India. These patches of shola forest are found mainly in the valleys. They are separated from one another by the grasslands.
Kerala has got three shola national parks which add the total number of national parks in to five.
Shola national parks are very small in size. All these 3 shola national parks are in Idukki District which can be accessed from Munnar.
Pampadum Shoal National Park
Smallest national park in Kerala. Its area is just 1.32 sq km.
The national park is open to the tourist. The forest officials accompany you for the safety.
The park is habitat of various animals and birds. This thick green forest is 35km away from Munnar.
Mathikettan Shola National Park
Mathikettan Shola National Park is a 12.82 sq km in Poopara village near Munnar.
Anamudi Shola National Park
Anamudi Shola National Park is a protected area of 7.5 sq km. It is composed of shola forests like Mannavan shola, Idivara shola and Pullardi shola.
Wildlife Sanctuaries in Kerala
Periyar Tiger Reserve (Thekkady)
This hunting reserve of former Travancore Maharaja is centred on an artificial lake.
Occasional tiger sightings, but you're much more likely to spot an elephant. Well placed for trips into the mountains and tea plantations.
Good accommodation facilities are available here. There are remote jungle lodges which you have to trek to.
Best time to visit: Oct-March
Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary
Parambikulam is an isolated valley south of Palakkad. The sanctuary is between the Nelliampathy plateau and Anamalai range in Tamil Nadu.
Parambikulam is fast becoming the park of choice for most serious wildlife enthusiasts. Periyar, over-commercialized and overcrowded these days, is falling out of favour with foreign visitors.
The scenery is varied and extremely picturesque. What really sets Parmbikulam apart is the opportunity to actually get close to nature.
A superb choice of trek and activities deepens your appreciation of this beautiful habitat.
Wayand Wildlife Sanctuary
Wayanad sanctuary is split into two separate reserves - Muthanga and Tholpetty.
Wayand surrounds some of the finest scenery in southern India. Here you can find Kerala's most imaginatively constructed eco-resorts.
The sanctuary has large number of animals and an amazing wealth of plant life.
Best time to visit: Oct-March
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
Chinnar is 58km away from Munnar in the depths of mountains. This reserve is much drier than neighbouring Eravikulam national park.
The sanctuary is one of the best spots in the state for bird watching. But the real star attraction is the grizzled giant squirrels
Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary
Chimmony wildlife sanctuary lies in the western slope of the Nelliyampathy hills near Thrissur (Trichur). Peehi-Vazhani and Parambikulam are neighbouring sanctuaries.
Chimmony doesn't disappoint you even though wildlife is difficult to spot.
Best time to visit: Sep to March
Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary
The Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary is east of Trivandrum. It's in the backdrop of Neyyar dam.
The sanctuary covers the total area of 128 sq km. This is the drainage basin of Neyyar River.
You can take a KTDC boat to an island in the dam where a tiny safari park of seven Asian lions. Crocodile sightings are guaranteed at Crocodile Breeding Park-though it's a pretty miserable facility.
Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary
Located in east of Kollam in the hills of the Western Ghats.
A major attraction that draws visitors is boating in the reservoir of Shenduruney sanctuary. Scan the shores for wildlife, if you are lucky, you can spot some really exotic species.
Peechi-Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary
One of the oldest wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala. This 125 sq km sanctuary is 20 km east of Thrissur (Trichur). The sanctuary is formed around the reservoirs Peechi and Vazhani.
Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary
Another wildlife sanctuary in the high ranges of Idukki District. An enchanting place marked with steep mountains, hills and valleys. Sanctuary is around a scenic lake. Reservoir of famous Idukki arch dam.
Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary
Peppara wildlife sanctuary is in the middle of hills east of Trivandrum. The forest has the population of lion-tailed macaques and elephants. It's not worth visiting this reserve.
Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary
Located near Thalassery (Tellecherry) Aralalm is the northern most wildlife sanctuary in Kerala.
Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary
This newly declared sanctuary lies northeast of Calicut. This forest area is in the western slopes of Wayanad.
This wildlife santuary of Kerala with its a picaresque dam site, unique climate, rich bio-diversity and gorgeous waterfall offer good eco-tourism potential.
Kurinjimala Sanctuary protects 32 sq km of core habitat of endangered Neelakurunji. Munnar is the nearest known place to the sanctuary.
Thattekad Bird Sanctuary
Kerala's top bird reserve, easily reachable between Munnar and Kochi. Spread along the banks of the Periyar River. It's a 25 sq km is home to 275 species.
Best time to visit: Nov- March
Choolannur Pea Fowl Sanctuary
The Choolannur Pea Fowl Sanctuary is located near Plakkad (Palghat). It takes 30 km to reach here from the town.
This wildllife sanctuary in Kerala is home to the hundreds of peacocks. It has an area of 3.42 sq km.
Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary
A green belt located in the heart of Kochi city. It is behind the High court of Kerala near to backwaters.
This area has varieties of birds both resident and migratory.
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