It is true that every living being should be left to its natural surroundings. If they are not allowed to roam free in the place, which is their natural habitat, they suffer mutations and recurrent health issues, which become more and more prominent with each passing generation. Technically animals are meant to roam about in the wild, amongst the flora and fauna of the area that they hail from. In fact, different areas show different traits amongst the same family of animals. However, men have time and again tried to capture animals, use them for their own commercial gains and even hunted them down. Hunting animals used to be one of the major hobbies of the rich in the bygone days. With capitalism taking over the country, poaching became a menace. Deforestation led to the loss of homes of many animals, which led to the rehabilitation of a few in Zoos. However, it did not provide an answer to the problem. Thus, wildlife sanctuaries and national parks rose up in quite large numbers. Poaching and hunting are a punishable offence within its boundaries and the animals are thus left to roam about freely on their own, without the fear of being harmed by humans.
A large number of states in India have wildlife sanctuaries. These make a pleasant area to travel to since you can actually see the animals in their natural habitat and not caged up like in a zoo. Kerala, renowned as “God’s own country” is very beautiful and picturesque. The wildlife sanctuaries here, also give you an opportunity to explore not just the fauna but the flora of this region as well. Let’s take a look at the top 10 most famous wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala, which you must visit, while in the state:
- The Wildlife Sanctuary at Parambikulam
Snuggled up in the district of Palakkad, the Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the best in the state. Due to the large number of mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians that it provides a home to, UNESCO is considering whether or not to declare it as “World Heritage Site”. This wildlife sanctuary has more than 35 mammal species, 250 types of birds, more than a 100 types of butterflies and much more. If you are interested in conducting an ethnographic study, then you can look into the lives of a few indigenous communities, which have made their homes here. You can actually enjoy both the flora and the fauna in this place. Pollachi is the nearest town to this sanctuary.
- Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
If you want to indulge into a little trekking or are looking forward to an elephant back ride through the thick trees of the jungle, then this is the wildlife sanctuary that you would want to visit. Langurs, elephants and sambar abound in plenty over here. The slightly rocky terrain makes this area of 675 square kilometres perfect for light trekking. However, make sure that you get permission for trekking beforehand. Kumily is the nearest town to this area and the ideal time for the visit would be between November and April.
- Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary
If you want to soak in the beauty of the wilds, then this is the place to be. Located in between Periyar and Cheruthoni, it covers a total area of 77 square kilometres. Thanks to the rivers, enjoying boat rides is an option over here. Prior permission can also enable you to trek in this area. The ideal time to visit this place would be from between December and April and Thodupuzha is the town nearest to it.
- Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary
A very famous national park located in the Nilgiri Biosphere is the Bandipur National Park. This wildlife sanctuary is a part of that. Deciduous forests characterise this large area of over 344 square kilometres and are infested with animals like leopards, elephants, tigers, bears, wild dogs and much more. Sulthan Bathery is the closest town to this sanctuary and the ideal time for you to visit would be between June and October.
- Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
Located in the district of Idukki, this wildlife sanctuary is known for its waterfalls and sandalwood trees. Animals of various species too are found here. Pay a visit to this wildlife sanctuary, spread over an area of 90 square kilometres sometime between the months of December and April. The easiest access to this place can be gained from Ernakulam.
- Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary
Covering an area of more than 53 square kilometres, this wildlife sanctuary is not only the home of various wildlife species but also to no less than 13 native indigenous groups, who have been living here for a long time. A closer look into their lives would reveal that the modern facilities have not yet taken over their lives. You can come here from Thiruvananthapuram, between October and March.
- Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary
This is a small but compact sanctuary for the animals. Not covering more than an area of 10 square kilometres, sloth bears, tigers, elephants and sambhars are found here in plenty. Neyyattinkara is the town nearest to it, and ideally, you should come here between October and March.
- Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary
If you love to watch birds and know enough about them from their calls, then this would be a paradise for you. Herons and Cormorants are the rare species of birds that are commonly spotted here. Easy access to this bird watchers’ paradise can be gained from Kochi and the ideal time to visit would be between May and July.
- Thattekad Wildlife Sanctuary
Popularly known as the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, this is also another great place to go and watch birds. Ceylon Frogmoth, Falcon Grey and the Night Heron are few of the prized possessions of this place. You can come here sometime between May and July, from the town of Nedumbassery.
- Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary
Located in the north of the state and housing a wide variety of flora and fauna, this place is also another must visit. Jungle cats and leopards are found in plenty here. The perfect time to travel to this would be between June and October from the closest town of Kannur.
So, now that you know which the top 10 wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala are, make sure that you pay a visit to if not all of them, but at least to a half of them when you visit the state.