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Wildlife Sanctuaries in Kerala: Celebrate the Glory of Mother Nature!

Peechi Vazhanni Leopard

The journey begins here. The paths are multifarious with lush forests, rolling hills, challenging peaks, and enchanting valleys. Feel the thrill of an elephant ride, a memorable stay in a treetop hut, adventurous trekking through steep slopes or rafting along the tranquil lake, and watch wild animals wandering freely in their unrestrained habitats. Take a delightful tour to the wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala and celebrate the glory of Mother Nature.

Kerala Wildlife Sanctuaries
Kerala Wildlife Sanctuaries

With its rich bio-diversity, Kerala is home to numerous wildlife sanctuaries. The pristine wildlife in Kerala with its enchanting flora and fauna attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world. Listed below are some of the best wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala you should visit to fulfill your wildlife holiday in Kerala.

1.  Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary : Feel the Freshness of Unadulterated Nature

Elephants, Wayanad
Elephants, Wayanad

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, also known as ‘Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary’, spread over 344 Sq. km in the Wayanad district of Kerala, is one of the largest wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala. Established in 1973, it is an abode for several endangered species of plants and animals. It is a part of ‘Project Elephant’ that aims at the protection and survival of elephants. The sanctuary is divided into two discontinuous pockets in the North and the South, called Tholpetty and Muthanga.

Deer, Wildlife Sanctuaries in Kerala
Deer, Wildlife Sanctuaries in Kerala

Most of the areas of the wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala are lush green forests filled with moist deciduous teak plantations and bamboo groves. Other common trees include Rosewood, Silver oak, Eucalyptus, Axle wood, Venteak, Maruthi, Vengal, etc. Apart from elephants, it is a shelter to several species of animals including tigers, bison, bears, deer, civet cats, jungle cats, monkeys, and wild dogs. A variety of reptiles, turtles, crocodiles, and lizards are seen here. There are more than 200 species of birds including cuckoo, peacock, woodpecker, babblers, and a rare blue- bearded bee-eater.

You can enjoy the beauty of Wayanad wildlife sanctuary by an enthralling elephant ride or jeep safari. The best season to visit is from August to February.

Nearest town is Sulthan Bathery at about 16 km and the nearest railway station is Kozhikode at 100 km. Karipur international airport is at 125 km from the sanctuary.

2.  Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary : Trek Your Way through Peaks and Valleys

Tiger, Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary
Tiger, Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary

Surrounded by three dams on all its three sides, Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary occupies over 285 sq km in Chittur Taluk of Palakkad district. The sanctuary, famous for the diversity of fauna in its dense woods, is one of the largest tiger reserves of Kerala. If you are an adventurous person, you can enjoy trekking along challenging peaks and valleys with steep slopes and cliffs. You can stay on a fully furnished tree-top house or take a short trip on bamboo rafts driven by oarsmen.

Kannimara Teak, Parambikulam
Kannimara Teak, Parambikulam

The sanctuary has a large variety of vegetation and the commonly seen trees include teak, sandalwood, neem, and rosewood. It is an abode for over 1400 species of plants including some endangered species of medicinal plants. Kannimara Teak, the oldest ever and the largest teak tree in the world, which won the ‘Mahavriksha Puraskar’ of the Indian Government, exists here. It is about 450 years old, 49.5 meters in height, and 6.8 meters girth.

The sanctuary is rich in fauna with 39 species of mammals, 61 species of reptiles, 47 species of fish, 268 species of birds, 124 species of butterflies, and 16 species of Amphibians. Mammals include Bengal tigers, Gaur, elephants, wild boar, Bears, Sambar, Nilgiri Tahr, Lion-tailed Macaques, Leopards, Cheetahs, wild dogs, etc. All these factors contribute to making this one of the best Wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala.

You can enjoy a vehicle safari covering all spots of the sanctuary. The best season to visit the sanctuary is from August to February.

Palakkad (100 km) and Coimbatore (85 km) are the nearest railway stations. Nearest international airport is Coimbatore at 100 km. From Palakkad or Coimbatore you have to reach Pollachi and from there by bus or taxi to reach the site.

3.  Shenduruny Wild life Sanctuary : Discover the Stone Age Heritage

Shenduruny Wild life Sanctuary
Shenduruny Wild life Sanctuary

Shenduruny Wildlife Sanctuary, established in 1984 in Kollam district, got its name from a tree named Shenduruny (Gluta Travancorica), which is abundant in this region. The sanctuary which surrounds the Thenmala Dam reservoir is spread over an area of 171 Sq.km, mostly covered with tropical evergreen and semi-evergreen forests. There have been some recent archaeological discoveries in this area, which revealed Stone Age caves with rock carvings that date back to 5210 BC to 4420 BC, making it one of the popular wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala.

Giant Squirrel
Giant Squirrel at Shenduruny Wild life Sanctuary

An artificial lake in the center of the sanctuary is a renowned picnic spot and home to diverse vegetation and wildlife. There are thousands of species of plants found in this sanctuary and most of them have medicinal values. The animals found in this sanctuary include elephants, Indian bison, Sambar deer, barking deer, mouse deer, wild boar, tiger, Bonnet Macaque, Leopards, Nilgiri Langur, three-striped palm squirrel, Malabar giant squirrel and many more.

Landscapes of the mountain ranges are suitable for trekking, rock climbing, and mountain biking. You can enjoy an elephant ride and a boat ride to see the wildlife. You can visit the Deer rehabilitation center or involve in other activities like river crossing, valley crossing, etc. This is one of the most entertaining wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala.

October to March is the best time to visit here. Kollam town is at a distance of 63 km. Thenmala is the nearest railway station at 20 km. Thiruvananthapuram is the nearest international airport at a distance of 70 km.

4.  Peechi Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary : Explore the Wilderness and Greenery

Peechi Dam

Established in 1958, the Peechi-Vazhani Wildlife sanctuary is one of the oldest wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala. The wildlife reserve is a part of Nelliyampathy and Palappilli forests and is spread over 125 Sq.km in the catchment areas of Peechi and Vazhani Dams, in Thrissur district. It is a beautiful place with a wonderful array of green plantations where you can take a nature walk, boat ride or trekking. Nature camps and walkthroughs are organized here that enable visitors to become familiar with the rich flora and fauna of the sanctuary.

Leopard at Peechi Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary

The sanctuary is blessed with a large variety of flora consisting evergreen, semi-evergreen, and moist deciduous forests. Trees like teak, rosewood, Irul Thenmavu, Venteak, Kalpine, etc., are seen in abundance. More than 50 varieties of orchids and many rare medicinal plants are grown here in plenty.

The sanctuary is a shelter to different kinds of animals like tigers, bison, leopards, elephants, elks, barking deers, sambar deers, and spotted deers, in addition to more than 60 types of birds, 30 types of reptiles, 17 varieties of Amphibians and an abundant number of butterflies making this one of the most colorful wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala.

Best season to visit is from October to March. Thrissur is the nearest railway station at 20 km. Cochin international airport is at a distance of 98 km.

5.  Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary : Watch the Grizzled Giant Squirrels

Giant Squirrel at Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

Chinnar, located in the rain shadow region of the Western Ghats, spread in a 90 km area across the Kerala-Tamilnadu border in Devikulam Taluk of Idukki district, has unique terrain and climatic features. It receives less annual rain that lasts for about 40 days and has a rugged terrain with undulating landscape and rocky patches. It is one of the most populated wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala and is blessed with large varieties of flora and fauna. You can enjoy trekking to Thoovananm waterfalls, camping activities, or a refreshing nature walk along the banks of Chinnar River and Pambar River.

Monkeys at Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

It has a unique combination of thorny scrub forests, dry deciduous forests, wet land, high sholas and some grass land. There are over 965 species of flowering plants in the sanctuary. A widespread sandalwood forest at Marayoor is an added attraction. The endangered Grizzled Giant Squirrels are the main attractions of this sanctuary.

There are 34 species of mammals including Gaur, Indian elephants, Tiger, Hanuman monkey, Nilgiri Tahr, Sambar Deer, Bonnet Macaque, Common langur, and a very rarely seen white bison. Its faunal wealth includes 240 species of birds, 156 species of butterflies, 52 species of reptiles, 22 amphibian species, 29 species of snakes, and 42 species of fish. This is one of the wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala which has a wide variety of fauna and flora.

The best time to visit is from December to March. The nearest railway station is Ernakulam at 208 km. Marayur is the nearest town at 18 km.  Cochin international airport is at a distance of 180 km.

6.  Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary : Delight for Wildlife Enthusiasts

Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary

With its rich population of mammalian fauna and avian species, Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary has become one of the most visited wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala. Spread over an area of 53 Sq. km on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram city, the sanctuary comprises of the catchment area of the Peppara dam and is a part of Palode reserve forests and Kottoot reserve forests.

The Peppara dam was originally built to meet the drinking water needs of the capital city. But considering the ecological significance and the diversity of flora and fauna of this area, it was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in the year 1983.  With its thick forests, rocky terrains, and picturesque dam site, it is an ideal spot for adventure lovers and nature lovers. This is one of the best nature blessed wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala.

Barking deer at Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary

The vegetation of Peppara wildlife sanctuary is diverse in nature, consisting mainly of tropical evergreen, semi-evergreen, and moist mixed deciduous forests. It is home to large varieties of endemic and threatened plants. The sanctuary is a shelter for 43 species of mammals including elephants, tiger, sambar, mouse deer, barking deer, wild boar, lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri Langur, Malabar squirrel, panther and wild dogs. In addition, 233 species of birds, 13 species of amphibians, 46 species of reptiles, 27 species of fishes and numerous butterflies are found here.

The best season to visit here is from January to March. The nearest railway station is Thiruvananthapuram at a distance of 44 km and the nearest bus station is Vithura at 14 km. Thiruvananthapuram international airport is at a distance of 55 km.

Wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala beckons you. Come and experience the pulsations of this vibrant life in its profound wilderness and conspicuous silence and re-establish your mystical connection with nature. You can also enjoy the Kerala cuisine, especially sea-food which is a cut above the rest.

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