Kerala is truly God's Own Country! Why would He otherwise bestow all the natural riches on this small piece of Land alone?! The beaches, the waterfalls, the rivers, the backwaters, the mountains, the hills and the jungles, you name it and Kerala has it. The interiors of Kerala are dominated by the Western Ghats full of lush green tropical forests, a natural habitat for many a rare specie. Many of these forests have been converted into protected wildlife sanctuaries where the visitors can get immense pleasure of watching the magnificent birds and animals in their most natural habitat.
Some of the important and the most famous sanctuaries of Kerala are given here.
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
The erstwhile hunting grounds of the rulers of Travancore, the thick rainforests of Thekkaddy covering around 777 sq kms of land have been converted in protected wildlife sanctuary. Better known as the Periyar wildlife Sanctuary, it is one of the most popular Sanctuaries of India. It has been the habitat of the magnificent Elephant for ages. The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the Cardamom hills region of the Western Ghats and is a home to many flora and fauna along with migratory birds Some of the animas sure to be viewed here are the elephant, sambar, wild pig, mongoose, the Malabar flying squirrel and almost 300 species of birds. Tigers and leopards too roam around freely in here, though they are a rare sight.
Basically preserved as the hunting ground for the royalties of Travancore and also to save the jungles from the ongoing trip of tea plantations by the British. But the most picturesque part of the sanctuary is the lake that was built and developed by the British to supply water to the drier regions of the state. It's an enthralling sight when flocks of elephants or deer and sometimes a lonely tiger or leopard, frequent this place to quench their thirst during the dry season.
One may also visit the spice gardens, coffee and tea plantations near the sanctuary.
Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary
The district of Idukki is better known as the supplier of electric power to the state. With its huge hydroelectric projects, Idukki has become a major power supplier and supplies to 66% of the state requirements. A mountainous region with evergreen rain forests, the district has many protected wild life sanctuaries as it has been a virtual habitat of many a rare specie.
The Idukki wildlife sanctuary is located at 40 kms from the town of Thodapuzha. Apart from the innumerous animals and reptiles the other main attractions of the sanctuary are the picturesque lake and the arch dam. The forests are deciduous forests with a great number of reptiles ranging from the poisonous cobra, viper and the krait to other many non-poisonous species including the iguana and the great lizard.
Eravikulam Wildlife Sanctuary
Around 17 kms from the city of Munnar is the 97 sq km protected jungles of the Eravikulam wildlife sanctuary, a natural habitat of the Nilgiri Tahr, on the verge of extinction and the Atlas Moth. The sanctuary is the habitat of the rolling grasslands and provides beautiful scenery all around. The tallest peak in the south, only after the Himalayas, the Anamudi hill stands tall as a majestic backdrop to the sanctuary. The Niligiri Tahr is the main animal protected in this sanctuary apart from the Atlas moth, the largest in the world and other small animals. The park also shelters elephants, sambhar, Gaur, Lion-tailed Macaque, Nilgiri Langur, Tigers and Leopards.
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
With the soothing backwaters of Kumarakom, there is an interesting place near the lake Vembanad; it is the beautiful bird sanctuary. Various species of fowls flock to this place and some are the permanent residents of the same. The birds include the waterfowl, cuckoo, owl, egret, heron and the water duck, as well as the migratory Siberian cranes. Parrots, teal, larks, flycatchers, wood beetle, and other birds are seen here during their respective migratory seasons. The best time to watch the migratory birds is from November to February. There are many modes of transport for viewing this sanctuary. Various kinds of boats right from the ancient houseboats to the latest motorboats, all are available.
Wayanad wildlife Sanctuary:
The Wayanad sanctuary in the northern parts of Kerala is a combined protected area of the rich Nilgiri forests, which stretch to keralas Nagarhole and Bandipur sanctuaries in the north and to Madumalai of Tamilnadu in the east. Established in 1973, the sanctuary is just 15 kms from Kozhikde or Calicut. The literal meaning of the place as such describes its geology in true terms. Wayanad means the land of swamps and true its name one can find swamps of water all around, thus enhancing the wildlife and the jungles and growth of the plants. The wild population in this sanctuary includes elephants, tigers, panthers, wild cats, monkeys, Wild Dogs, Bison, Deer, Bears, Racquet-tailed Drongo, Barbet, Monitor lizards and a variety of snakes. The park is also full of various birds.
Apart from the above sanctuaries there are many wildlife sanctuaries scattered all around Kerala like the Aralam, Chinnar, Peppara, Shenduri and many more.