Located 50 km north- eastwards Thiruvananthapuram or Trivandrum- the capital of the south Indian state of Kerala, the Peppara wildlife sanctuary is home to a variety of animal and bird species. This sanctuary is also home 13 Adivasi tribes who reside inside the premises of the park. Composing the catchment area of the Peppara dam across the river Karamanar, it has a lot of ecological significance. A part of the Paruthippally range, thiswildlife sanctuary forms a part of the Palode reserve.
Lying on the outskirts of the capital city, the Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over an area of 53 sq. km. on the Western Ghats and was established in 1983. The place is fascinating for its damsite, thick forest areas, crystal clear streams and rocky terrains ideal for adventure expeditions.
Special Attractions - Trekking to various forest area like Bonafalls, Vazahuvanthole waterfalls, Kalarkad waterfalls and a visit to the tribal settlement areas along with wildlife spotting
Altitude: 100 meters to 1717 meters above sea level
Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary
Peppara wildlife sanctuary, located on the way to Ponmudi from Thiruvananthapuram, in the southern part of Kerala, is spread in an area of 53 sq km. Lying on the outskirts of the city, on the Western Ghats, this wildlife reserve was established in the year 1983. The sanctuary has streams with crystal clear waters, thick forest areas and rugged terrain- just right for adventure activities like trekking.
The dam site present inside the park is another popular attraction. In recent times, Kerala Tourism in a joint effort with the State Forest Department as well as the Kerala Water Authority took an initiative to make the Peppara dam site even more beautiful and add-in more entertainment and leisure facilities for the tourists. The reservoir which is formed by the Dam is a major source of water for the animals and is also the habitat for various water bird species.
The general topography of the area of the sanctuary is hilly with a varying elevation from 100 meters to 1717 meters. Out of 13 tribal settlements in the sanctuary, 11 are in Athirumala area and 2 are in Thodayar section.
Flora and Fauna
Peppara wildlife sanctuary has a vast variety of mammal fauna and thus attracts wildlife enthusiasts and ornithologists in good numbers. You can find 43 species of mammals, 233 kinds of birds, 46 varieties of reptiles, 13 amphibian species and 27 types of fishes inside the sanctuary.
Leopard, tiger, elephant, sambar deer, Nilgiri Tahr, bonnet macaque, Nilgiri Langur, lion-tailed macaque, Slender Loris, Nilgiri Marten, Malabar squirrel, wild dog, wild boar and gaur are some of the moist commonly found animal species inside the park and prove to be prime attractions during the wildlife safari.
The sanctuary is home to over 233 types of birds and therefore is quite popular amidst people who love bird watching. Malabar Grey Hornbill, Small Sunbird, Whitebellied Treepie, Grey headed fishing owl, Black & orange flycatcher, Nilgiri wood pigeon, Three toed kingfisher, Black rumped flameback, Tiger bittern, Red winged crested cuckoo, Painted bush quail and Forest eagle owl are important part of the birdlife here. Some of the water birds found here include darter, little cormorant, egrets and pied king fisher.
Around 27 species of fishes and 13 species of amphibians are found here Malabar tree frog, Common Indian toad, Jerdon’s bull frog Indian bull frog and Indian tree frog. The common fish species found here are Filament barb, Silver fish, Tilopia, Cat fish, Eel along with other. There are around 46 species of reptiles as well including the king cobra and python.
Following are the major forest types inside Peppar:
Southern moist mixed deciduous forests:
Covering over 60 percent of the sanctuary, this kind of forest is in the lower slopes of hills.
Southern hilltop tropical evergreen:
This evergreen type of forest can be found above 1000 meters above the sea level on the top of hills. They are revealed to strong wind, less favorable soil and climatic conditions.
West coast semi- evergreen:
An in-between zone formed between evergreen and moist deciduous forest, West coast semi- evergreen type of forest occurs mostly in hill slopes between the altitudes of 150 meters to 1050 meters.
Some of common tree species found inside the Peppa wildlife sanctuary include Syzyguium cummini, Terminalia paniculata, Alstonia scholaris, T. bellerica, Albizzia procera, Pterocarpus marsupium, Lagerstroemia lanceolata, Hopea parviflora, Palaquium ellipticum, Mesua ferrea, Bombax ceiba along with others.