Kerala wildlifeis a gift from the Western Ghats Mountain that borders the eastern side of Kerala. The southern Indian state Kerala is blessed with thick forests populated by a varied species of animals. A number of sanctuaries and national parks in the state create great opportunities for wildlife safari which is a must-do activity for the travelers in Kerala. There are 2 tiger reserves and 14 wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala out of which 6 sanctuaries have been converted into national parks. These national parks are protected land housing endangered species like the Lion-Tailed Macaque, Indian Sloth-Bear, Indian Bison, Nilgiri Tahr, Bengal Tiger, etc.
The most famous and the largest wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala is the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Located on the banks of the beautiful Periyar Lake, this is the star attraction of Thekkady. Spanning over 777 sq. km of land this fascinating wildlife sanctuary is also a tiger reserve. Apart from the Royal Bengal Tigers, the park is home to 320 species of bird, 45 different kinds of reptiles and 62 types of mammals such as Sambar, Gaur, Mongoose, Mouse, Foxes, Deer, and Leopards. The exotic flora and fauna of the park allure wildlife enthusiasts from across the globe. Summer is the best season to enjoy wildlife safari in the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. A boat ride on the Periyar Lake is the best way to watch birds and spot animals from a closer distance.
Bird enthusiasts can head to the Kumarakom bird sanctuary in Kerala. It is a paradise for birds photographers located on the bank of the Vembanad Lake surrounded by serene backwater. The local birds inhabiting Kumarakom bird sanctuary include moorhen, owl, cuckoo, teal, brahminy kite, flycatcher, darter, lark, cormorant, waterfowl, egret, and heron. During winter season, migrated birds like Siberian crane are found in the sanctuary. Though Kumarakom bird sanctuary is a year-round destination, those who have a special interest in the migratory birds should plan a trip around November to February. Spreading over a wide area of 14 acres, the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is offers stunning surroundings with walking trails ideal for a long nature walk.
Covered with dense forests of bamboo, teak, marshes and other grasslands, Idukki wildlife sanctuary is one of the most famous wildlife destinations in Kerala. Established in 1976, this wildlife sanctuary is ideal for spotting elephants in groups. The rich flora and fauna of the park attract tourists from all over the world. The best time to visit the park is during the dry season from December to April. The park is also a popular spot due to its close proximity to the Idukki arch dam.
Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary located in a valley between the Nelliampathy ranges of Kerala and the Anamalai ranges of Tamil Nadu is regarded as a paradise with immense serenity and verdant greenery. This is one of the most popular wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala inhabited by a wide range of flora and fauna. The park is home to 39 species of mammals, around 61 species of reptiles, 47 species of fish and 268 species of birds. Bird watchers can spot colorful birds like Fish-eagle, Grey-headed Peninsular bay owl, Great pied Hornbill, Black-capped kingfisher, lesser adjutant stork, Darter, etc. The park is also home to 124 kinds of butterflies with 34 rare and endemic types that make the park a spectacular spot for nature walks.
Around 1257 309 species of flowering plants and 334 species of butterflies make Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary truly a colorful place. It is home to 22 species of amphibians, 42 species of fish, 35 mammal species, 36 species of reptiles and 266 species of birds. Apart from jungle safari and bird watching, one can also indulge in trekking, nature camping and boat ride in the forests.
The second-largest wildlife sanctuary in Kerala is the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary which is also known as Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary as it is located in Wayanad district of Kerala. The enchanting natural beauty and exciting wildlife make the place one of the most popular destinations in Kerala. Spread over an area of 344 square kilometers, this wildlife sanctuary is home to exotic flora and fauna including elephants, bison and jungle cats. There are 45 species of mammals, 45 species of reptiles and 52 species of fish in the park. Bird watchers can spot 303 types of local and migratory birds in the sanctuary. The best time for jungle safari in Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is from the month of August to February.