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About Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Wayanad


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Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is the second largest wildlife sanctuary in Kerala and comprises of rare as well as endangered species of both flora and fauna. It is surrounded by the protected areas of Mudumalai in Tamil Nadu as well as Nagarhole and Bandipur in Karnataka. Founded in the year 1973, the wildlife sanctuary is an integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve which was the first biosphere out of the 14 present in India. The sanctuary is spread over an area of 345 square km and comprises of two parts namely Upper Wayanad and Lower Wayanad. Eucalyptus, as well as bamboo trees, are grown in the region.

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Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary comprises of two major sections namely Muthanga and Tholpetty. Muthanga lies to the southern side of Wayanad at a distance of 18 km from Sulthan Bathery. On the other hand, Tholpetty lies to the north of Thirunelli. Muthanga is situated next to the Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Karnataka and the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu. The sanctuary also borders the ranges namely Sulthan Bathery and Kurichiat located in Kerala and is famous for its very rich biodiversity. Tholpetty adjoins Nagarhole Range present in Karnataka. Wayanad with an area of 2126 sq km has a beautiful history.

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While you surpass the roads leading to Muthanga and Tholpetty, you will get an enchanting view of the rich flora and fauna on the way. The road sides are all thick and green with beautiful plantations present in the forests which comprise of bamboo trees, spiky ginger bushes and the likes. Paddy fields are another striking factor you will come across on your way.

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Moist and deciduous forests cover most of the sanctuary area where one can also spot few patches of evergreen forests. Bamboo groves comprising with deciduous forests is another key attraction of the sanctuary. One-third of the sanctuary is covered with teak, rosewood, silver oak and eucalyptus plantations. Marshy lands are also present in the sanctuary. The place comprises of rich flora comprising of tree species such as careya arborea, terminatia chebula, kydia calycina, anogeissus latifolia, stereospermum colias and dalbergia latifolia.

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A number of shrubs and creepers too can be spotted in the region. Woody climbers including entada scandens and calycopteries floribunda too can be spotted in the forests of Wayanad.

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The sanctuary houses a variety of animals such as herds of elephants and deer walking across the road or in the forests. The cat family including tigers and panthers too is present in the region. Langurs, bonnet macaques, monkeys, sambar, bison and bears too can be spotted in the sanctuary. The diverse forest life consists of slender loris too.

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Monitor lizard and snakes including golden tree snake, coral snake, green whip snake and pit vipers can be found in the sanctuary. The other fauna includes crocodiles, termite hill gecko which is a kind of gecko, flying lizard, chameleon, skinks, flap shell turtles and skinks.

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There are around 216 bird species in the sanctuary including peacock, babbler, owl, black woodpecker, cuckoo and jungle fowl. There are about 30 species of amphibians which belong to the area including Ceylon kaliula, ramnella, ornate microhylid, red microhylid, bi-coloured frogs, Malabar gliding frog and bronze frog.

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The rivers across the sanctuary have a number of variety of fishes including wayanad barb, Malabar catopra, korhi barb, snake heads, ariza labeo, commn rasbra, wayanad mystus and giantdanio.

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Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1973. These forests had housed Pazhassi Raja when he was a rebel against the Britishers. The sanctuary was a part of Project Elephant which is the reason why while you move through the route, you will come across many herds of elephants roaming around freely through the national parks as well as adjacent states. The visitors are allowed to stay in the outer zone only as the inner zone which is 25 km wide is accessible to wardens and researchers only. The sanctuary is rich in flora and fauna and wildlife can be spotted in the surrounding regions.

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In the year 2012, the Kerala Forest Department shot a tiger dead on the coffee plantations of the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary. This killing was highly praised by the political leaders of the place. The chief of Wildlife Warden of Kerala made the arrangements for carrying out the hunt after there were complaints and protests about the tiger taking away domestic animals and killing them.

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The highest peak in the wildlife sanctuary is Karottimala which has an altitude of 3800 ft above sea level. Other peaks too are situated at the height of about 2100 to 2600 ft. The landscape provides a cool climate, and the visitors can enjoy cool temperatures ranging from 11 degree Celsius to 25 degree Celsius which makes the winters (October to February) ideal for visiting Wayanad wildlife sanctuary. Heavy rainfall takes place between June and August thereby making the place unsuitable for the visit.

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Places to visit in Wayanad

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