Top Five Wildlife Sanctuaries in Kerala:
- Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary: One of the largest sanctuaries in India, this sanctuary is situated on an area of 777 square kilometers in the Cardamom region of the Western Ghats. Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary was declared as a National Park in 1982 and since then it has been one of the most frequented wildlife sanctuaries in India. Situated at the cool altitudes, this place is very good for excursion and sightseeing. Wildlife enthusiasts come here with a view of spotting tigers and leopards. This place is ideal for watching other animals in their habitat including wild pig, sambar, stripe-naked mongoose, elephants, Malabar flying squirrels. Other than animals, you can find over 260 species of birds including Nilgiri wood pigeon, blue-winged parakeet, flycatchers and laughing thrushes. Apart from that there are so many spectacular sights like forest waterfalls, spice plantations and well known adjacent pilgrimage centres.
One can reach Periyar from Cochin airport by covering a drive of 200km. The nearest railway station is Kottayam (114 km).
- Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary: Located about 16 km east of Sulthan Bathery, Wayanad district in north Kerala, Muthanga is famous Kerala Wildlife Sanctuaries and unique destination to watch herds of wild elephants. It is on of the prominent conservation parks of the Kerala which have 200 elephants and a small number of tigers & leopards. You can find other animals like bison, sambhar and spotted deer while watching herds of elephants roaming in the forest if really great and enjoyable.
Nearest airport is Karipur International Airport, Kozhikode, nearly 120 km from Sulthan Bathery. Nearest railway station is Kozhikode which is about 97 km by road from Sulthan Bathery.
- Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary: This is one of the most beautiful wildlife sanctuaries where numerous animals are found. Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is located about 60 km away from Munnar in Idukki district. This place is home to several plants and animals unique to the thorny vegetation. Many animals like deer, elephants, sambhar, and monkeys can be spotted here. This place is the second habitat of the endangered grizzled squirrel of India. Here, you can find 225 species of birds which makes Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary a nice attraction to visit.
The nearest airports are – Coimbatore and Cochin. Pollachi is the nearest railway station.
- Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary: Located about 40 km from Thodupuzha, Kerala, this sanctuary was formed in 1976. Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over an area of 77 sq. km. Many animals can be spotted here like the bonnet macaque, the lion-tailed macaque, the Nilgiri langur, squirrels, the Indian giant squirrel, three striped palm squirrel, the gaur or Indian bison, the sambar deer, the muntjack or barking deer, the Indian chevrotain or mouse deer and the wild boar. Plenty of elephants are here and the bird population includes Laughing Thrush, Jungle Fowl, Myna, Black Bulbul, Peafowl, and Kingfisher etc. The world renowned Idukki arch dam and the exquisite lake increase the importance of this place.
The nearest airport to Idukki is Kozhikode (113 km) and the nearest railway station is Thalaserry (35 km).
- Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary: This wildlife sanctuary was formed in 1958 and it is located in the southeastern part of the Western Ghats. Beautiful locations and scenic landscapes make this place very attractive. Situated at the height of 1,890 meters above the sea level, you will reach the impressive Agasthyakoodam Peak and the reservoir extending over an area of 9.06 sq km. Many animals & birds are found here which includes Elephants, Nilgiri Tahrs, Barking Deer, Gaurs, Sloth Bears, Lion-tailed Macaques, Sambars, Malabar Squirrels, Tigers, Jungle Cats, Wild Boars and Nilgiri Langurs.
The nearest airport is Trivandrum (40 km) and the nearest railway station is Neyyattinkara railway station only 20 km away.