Kerala, the “God’s Own Country,” is not just renowned for its stunning backwaters, emerald hill stations, and palm-fringed beaches. It is also a haven for diverse wildlife, with lush green rainforests, serene wetlands, and majestic mountain ranges providing shelter to a plethora of creatures. Kerala boasts 18 wildlife sanctuaries, each with its unique ecological charm and distinct species composition.
In this blog, we embark on a virtual journey through how many wildlife sanctuary in Kerala, offering a glimpse into their captivating beauty and the incredible wildlife that thrives within their boundaries.
Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary: Where the Wild Things Are
Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, nestled amidst the mist-shrouded hills of the Western Ghats, is Kerala’s largest and most popular wildlife sanctuary. It is a treasure trove of biodiversity, encompassing tropical evergreen forests, deciduous forests, bamboo groves, and grasslands. The sanctuary is home to a stunning array of mammals, including tigers, elephants, leopards, gaur, sloth bears, and dholes. Birdwatchers will be delighted by the over 460 species of birds found here, including hornbills, woodpeckers, babblers, and the endangered Malabar grey hornbill.
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary: Cruising Through Serene Waters
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, located on the banks of the Periyar Lake, is another gem of how many wildlife sanctuary in Kerala. The best way to explore this sanctuary is by taking a boat ride on the tranquil waters of the lake, offering opportunities to spot elephants, sambar deer, wild boars, and an array of birds. The Periyar Tiger Reserve, located within the sanctuary, is a prime tiger habitat and a haven for other endangered species like the lion-tailed macaque and the Indian sloth bear.
Thekkady Wildlife Sanctuary: An Eco-Tourist’s Paradise
Thekkady Wildlife Sanctuary, adjacent to Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, is a paradise for eco-tourists. The sanctuary offers jeep safaris, trekking trails, and nature walks, allowing visitors to experience the rich biodiversity firsthand. The Periyar Tiger Reserve lies within Thekkady as well, making it a great spot for tiger sightings.
Munnar Wildlife Sanctuary: High-Altitude Haven
Munnar Wildlife Sanctuary, perched atop the rolling hills of Munnar, offers a unique high-altitude wildlife experience. The sanctuary is home to Nilgiri tahrs, grizzled giant squirrels, and diverse birdlife, including the Nilgiri wood pigeon and the black-and-orange flycatcher. Visitors can enjoy trekking through rhododendron forests, cardamom plantations, and rolling grasslands, soaking in the breathtaking views of the Munnar hills.
Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary: Where Spice Meets Wildlife
Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary, located in the heart of the Idukki hills, is a paradise for those seeking a truly off-the-beaten-path wildlife experience. The sanctuary is home to a variety of animals, including elephants, tigers, leopards, and gaur. The lush green cardamom plantations and pepper vines add to the charm of the sanctuary, making it a unique blend of spice and wildlife.
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary: Grasslands Galore
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, known for its rolling grasslands and stunted shola forests, is a haven for herbivores like gaur, sambar deer, and tahrs. The sanctuary is also home to the elusive grizzled giant squirrel, a delight for wildlife enthusiasts. The scenic beauty of Chinnar, with its golden grasslands and rocky outcrops, is an added attraction for visitors.
Exploring Wildlife Sanctuaries Responsibly
Exploring Kerala’s wildlife sanctuaries? Respect the wild residents as our hosts. Responsible wildlife tourism is key to ensuring the well-being of both the animals and the ecosystem.
Here are some tips for responsible wildlife viewing:
- Maintain a safe distance from wild animals and avoid disturbing them.
- Use your vehicles responsibly and avoid off-road driving.
- Do not litter or pollute the environment.
- Be respectful of local cultures and traditions.
- Follow these guidelines for a positive experience in Kerala’s wildlife sanctuaries, benefiting both visitors and animals.
Beyond the Big Five: Treasures Await in Kerala’s Undiscovered Sanctuaries
Beyond the excitement of spotting tigers and elephants, Kerala’s sanctuaries conceal secrets beyond the “big five.” For the adventurous and curious, exploring lesser-known sanctuaries reveals a kaleidoscope of hidden wonders.
Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary: Whispers of the Rainforest
Tucked away in the foothills of the Agastyamala, Chimmony is a treasure trove of ancient rainforest treasures. Listen to the symphony of cicadas, catch glimpses of the endemic Nilgiri langur swinging through the canopy, and marvel at the towering trees draped in emerald mosses. The sanctuary is a botanist’s dream, with over 800 species of flowering plants, including the rare carnivorous plant Nepenthes Khasiana.
Thattekad Bird Sanctuary: Symphony of Feathers
For ornithologists and birdwatchers, Thattekad is a paradise. With over 300 species of birds recorded, including the endangered Malabar trogon and the majestic grey-headed hornbill, the sanctuary is a symphony of feathers and songs. Take a stroll through the bamboo groves, listen to the calls of the hornbills echoing through the forest, and spot vibrant bee-eaters darting among the trees.
Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary: Where History and Wildlife Collide
Aralam offers a unique blend of history and wildlife. Explore ancient Shiva temples nestled amidst dense forests, and witness the endangered lion-tailed macaque frolicking in the canopy. This sanctuary is also home to the elusive Asian palm civet, a nocturnal creature with large, mesmerizing eyes. Trek through the cardamom plantations, listen to the whispers of ancient myths, and lose yourself in the enchanting wilderness.
Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary: Beyond the Jeep Safaris
While jeep safaris offer a thrilling glimpse into the wild, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary unveils its secrets to those who venture beyond the beaten path. Take guided night treks, spotting nocturnal creatures like owls, flying squirrels, and fireflies illuminating the forest floor. Visit the stunning Sentinel Rock, a towering granite monolith offering panoramic views of the sanctuary. Embark on a wildlife rafting adventure down the Kabini River, spotting crocodiles basking on the banks and birds soaring overhead.
Beyond the Protected Areas: Conservation in Action
Kerala’s commitment to wildlife extends beyond the boundaries of its sanctuaries. Local communities and organizations are actively involved in conservation efforts. It creates corridors for migrating elephants, protecting endangered species, and raising awareness about the importance of habitat protection. Consider visiting a community-run conservation project, learn about their initiatives, and lend a helping hand.
From the majestic tigers of Wayanad to the shy langurs of Chimmony, Kerala’s wildlife sanctuaries offer a glimpse into a world brimming with life. Explore responsibly, engage with local communities, and become a steward of this precious wild heritage. Let your journey through how many wildlife sanctuary in Kerala be one of discovery, wonder, and a deep appreciation for the incredible diversity of life on our planet.