Kerala Wildlife : The verdant green tropical forests of Kerala are home to some of the highly endangered species of flora and fauna. There are 12 Wildlife sanctuaries and two National Parks in Kerala, the most notable ones being Peppara Wildlife sanctuary, Neyyar Wildlife sanctuary, Shenduruni Wildlife sanctuary, Periyar Wildlife sanctuary, Idduki Wildlife sanctuary, Chinnar Wildlife sanctuary, Parambikulam Wildlife sanctuary, Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary, Muthanga Wildlife sanctuary, Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary, Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, Silent Valley National Park and Eravikulam National Park. The fauna majorly found in almost all the wildlife sanctuaries here are Indian Elephants, Gaurs, Sambars, Deers, Wild Dogs, Jungle Cats, Tigers, Wild Boars, Sloth Bears, Leopards, Lion tailed Macaques, Nilgiri Tahrs, Langurs, Malabar Giant Squirrels, Flying Squirrels, Tigers and Panthers.
One can also see Spotted Deers, Grizzled Giant Squirrels, Hanuman Langurs, Peacocks, Star Tortoises, Wild Dogs, Civet Cats, Atlas Moths, Bonnets and Macaques here. Besides the above, Loris, Mongoose, Foxen, Bbears, Pangolins and Bisons are also to be seen here. The reptiles that can be frequently seen here include highly poisonous Cobras, Vipers and Kraits to non-poisonous snakes, bi-colored Frogs, Crocodiles, Varanur pond Terrapins, Cane Turtles, Geckoes, Skunks, Chameleons and Monitor Lizards along with host of other species of reptiles. The birds spotted here include Water Fowls, Cuckoos, Owls, Egrets, Herons, and migratory Siberian Ducks along with Woodpeckers, Kingfishers, Raptors, Darters and Grackles. There are more than 253 species of birds that can be seen here. The flora include Teak, Rosewood and Bamboo trees. There are over 1800 flowering plants here including 171 grass species and 143 species of orchids.
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the Devikulam Taluk of Idukki district of Kerala. Situated in the rain show region of the Western Ghats, it was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1984 and is said to be the second habitat for the endangered species of Giant Grizzled Squirrels in India. A thorny scrub forest with an area of 90.422 sq km, Chinnar is an undulated terrain with rocky patches varying from the altitude of 500 m to 2400 m above sea level and thus, there is diversity of climate and vegetation here. The highest peaks in the sanctuary are 2144 m high Kottakombumalai, 1863 m high Vellaikal malai and 1845 m high Viriyoottu malai.
Eravikulam Wildlife Sanctuary
Sprawling across an area of 97 sq km, Eravikulam Wldlife Sanctuary and National Park was established to protect the endangered species of Nilgiri Tahrs, the only wild goat to be found south of the Himalayas. Founded in 1978, this park is rich in forests and grasses and lies along the high ranges of the western coast in the Munnar Forest Division of Idukki district in Kerala. It is an extension of the Annamalai National Park in Tamil Nadu. Eravikulam is the only place where rare Nilgiri Tahrs can be found. Other fauna species that can be seen here are Gaurs, Sambars, Lions, Tailed Macaques, Elephants, Tigers, Leopards and Giant Squirrels along with three species of lizards, four of snakes and five species of amphibians.
Iddukki Wildlife Sanctuary
40 km from Thodupuzha, Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary extends over the Thodupuzha and Udumpanchola taluks of Idukki district. It sprawls across over 77 sq kms and is situated at an altitude of 450-748 m above sea level. It houses the majestic Idukki reservoir with three dams, namely, Cheruthoni, Idukki and Kulamavu, a majestic arch dam across two hills and roaming herds of Elephants and Gaurs. It is covered with tropical semi-evergreen and deciduous forests. There are Langurs, Leopards and Wild Boars that can be easily spotted here.
Kumarakoam Wildlife Sanctuary
Kumarakom Wildlife Sanctuary and the Bird Sanctuary is situated on the banks of the Vembanand Lake. It is known for its diversity and multitude of colorful avian friends that are both native and migratory who come down here only during waters to seek refuge from the severe cold of the places, where they live. Local varieties include Waterfowls, Cuckoos and Owls while the migratory ones include rare Siberian Cranes that can frequently be spotted here. The wildlife sanctuary also houses the Kumarakom Tourist Complex that sprawls across over 101 acres of thick-wooded lush green forests and the artificial lake that was built around the 50-year-old Baker’s Mansion, have served as a small government hotel previously. The Taj group of hotels has renovated this complex tastefully with grandeur and style to suit the taste of the tourists.
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve is set high in the ranges of the Western Ghats in Kerala, sprawling across an area of 777 sq km. The delightful Lake at the heart of this wildlife sanctuary was formed with the dam 1895 and meanders around the contours of the wooded hills. Though known a Tiger reserve, it is the Indian elephants in the act of ablution and liveliness by the Periyar Lake that steal the show. The other wildlife attractions in the park are Gaurs, Wild Pigs, Sambars, Barking Deers, Mouse Deers, Doles or Indian Wild Dogs and very rarely, a Tiger. It is estimated that as many as 40 tigers live here.
Thekkady Wildlife Sanctuary
Situated in the dense tropical evergreen and deciduous forests, Thekkady Bird Sanctuary has some grassland patches too. A whole different realm of avian world, this place is said to be the home of more than 500 species of colorful avian fauna. Dr. Salim Ali, the renowned ornithologist, designed the sanctuary as a peninsular land covered with deciduous forests and plantation of rosewood, teak and other valuable trees and sprawling across an area of 25 sq km. Also known as Thatekkad Bird Sanctuary, it houses rare birds like the Crimson-Throated Barbets, Bee-eaters, Sunbirds, Shrikes, Blackwinged Kites and commonly-seen Night Herons.