Most of Kerala's significantly biodiverse tracts of wilderness lie in the evergreen forests of its easternmost districts; coastal Kerala (along with portions of the east) mostly lies under cultivation and is home to comparatively little wildlife. Despite this, Kerala contains 9,400 km˛ of natural forests. Out of the approximately 7,500 km˛ of non-plantation forest cover, there are wild regions of tropical wet evergreen and semi-evergreen forests (lower and middle elevations - 3,470 km˛), tropical moist and dry deciduous forests (mid-elevations - 4,100 km˛ and 100 km˛, respectively), and montane subtropical and temperate (shola) forests (highest elevations - 100 km˛). Such forests together cover 24% of Kerala's landmass.
|© 2006 Cyril Thomas|
The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary Lying close to the plantations, in the rich jungles of Periyar in Thekkady is one of the world's most fascinating natural wildlife reserves - the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Spread across 777 sq. km, of which 360 sq. km is thick evergreen forest, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978. Noted for its geo-morphological diversity of wildlife and scenic beauty, the Reserve attracts visitors from all over the world.
Periyar is easily the best sanctuary in India for observing and photographing elephants at close quarters. On the boat cruise, if you're lucky, you will spot a herd or two in search of water at the edge of the lake. But for a truly memorable jungle experience, you should stay for a couple of days, preferably in one of the Forest Department's huts inside the sanctuary.At Thekkady there are opportunities for trekking, elephant rides and boating. This is especially popular as the boat navigates through the branched tops of trees submerged long ago by the man-made lake. Though the sanctuary is open throughout the year (the monsoons can bring a totally different experience), the best season is from September to May.
There are three watch towers for observing wild life - at Edappalayam and Manakkavala and Thannikudi.
Eravikulam National Park
While at Munnar, a not-to-be missed excursion is the the Eravikulam National Park, at the crest of the Anamala range. It can be reached only by trekking from Rajamalai, 17 km from Munnar. In its 97 sq km area can be found the Nilgiri tahr, and endangered species.
Kodanad, set on the southern banks of the Periyar river amid the beautiful high ranges near Perumbavoor, is one of the largest elephant training centres of Kerala. Earlier elephants captured from the Malayatoor forests (the forests in the east and north of Kodanad) were trained here. Since the introduction of a ban to elephant capture Kodanad has been reduced to a training centre. The famous Malayatoor Church is near Kodanad.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia and numerous other sources that provide freedom to copy and redistribute content, with or without modifying it, either commercially or noncommercially.