Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary
Location : Coimbatore district.
Area : 958 sq.KM
Uniqueness : The Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park, the largest and well preserved sanctuary in Tamil Nadu, lies in the Western Ghats south of the Palghat Gap, better known as Anaimalais (Mountain of Elephants)
Flora : The floral diversity has been estimated to be over 2000 species, of which about 400 species are of medicinal importance. The Karian Shola NP has been identified and designated as a Medicinal Plant Conservation Area (MPCA) due to its medicinal plant diversity. Apart from its rich tree diversity, over 100 species of orchids, a wide variety of ferns, grasses, palms and canes abode here.
Fauna : This sanctuary nurtures Arboreal animals like lion tailed macaque, bonnet macaque, Common Langur, Nilgiris Langur, Malabar Giant squirrel and Grizzled giant Squirrel. The ground animals listed are: Tiger, Panther, Elephant, Gaur, Pangolin, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Wild Boar, Dhole, Sloth Bear, Porcupine, Nilgiris Tahr, Civet Cat and Toddy Cat. The Avifauna includes Racket Tailed Drongo, Black Headed Oriole, Paradise Flycatcher, Whistling Thrust, Emerald Dove, Green Pigeon, Tickell's Flower Pecker, Rufus Wood Pecker, Rose Ringed Parakeet, Black Eagle, Great Indian Malabar pied Horn Bill, Fiary Blue Bird and green Billed Malkhoha etc
Accessibility : Bus services are available frequently from Pollachi to Topslip 35Km. Nearest Railway Station is in Pollachi 35 kms away. Nearest Airport is Coimbatore 87 kms.away.
Season : December to April
Mudumalai National Park
Location : Udhagamandalam District
Area : 321 Sq. KM
Uniqueness : The 321 sq. km. reserve, one of the most picturesque destinations provides diverse habitats like hills, valleys, ravines, watercourses and swamps. The vegetation comprises of moist deciduous forests, dry deciduous forests and scrub forests which make Mudumalai a most attractive wildlife reserve. Apart from rich fauna, the wide range of animal and bird life has made this sanctuary a hot spot for the wildlife enthusiasts. The temperatures vary between 10 degrees in the winter months to 35 degrees in the summers.
Flora : Tropical moist-deciduous vegetation towards the western parts of the sanctuary gives way to dry-deciduous and thorn-scrub along the east. It is varied with tall grasses called Elephant grass, Bamboo, valuable timber like Teak, Rosewood, Mathi, Vengai, Venteak and fine flowering trees and shrubs like Indian laburnum, Flame of the forest and Coral trees. Riverine patches and swamps add to diversity. Among the fruit bearers are jamun, nelli, jujuba and varieties of wild Figs.
Fauna : It is an exciting place to see Elephant, Gaur, Chowsingha, Mouse deer and Sloth bear. The animals include, Tiger, Panther, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Blackbuck, Common Langur, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Flying Squirrel, Four-horned Antelope (Chowsingha), Wild Dog, Jackal, Mongoose, Jungle Cat, Rusty Spotted Cat, Leopard Cat Striped Hyena, Leopard-cat, Small Indian Civet, Striped-necked Mongoose, Ruddy Mongoose, Sloth Bear, Indian Giant Squirrel,, Sloth Bear, Wild Boar, Porcupine, Striped Hyena, Slender Lories, etc.. Tigers are largely elusive but leopards or a pack of Wild Dog, on the move are frequently seen.
Srivilliputhur Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary
Location : Virdhunagar District
Area : 480 sq.KM
Uniqueness : This sanctuary is contiguous to Periyar Tiger Reserve on the South western side and the Megamalai Reserve Forest on the north western side and Its southern limit is contiguous with the Sivagiri Reserved Forst of Tirunelveli Forest Division.
Flora : The sanctuary has a wide range of habitats - from the higher elevation Upper Montane forests and grasslands, mid elevation Wet Evergreen, Semi Evergreen, Moist Deciduous, Open Deciduous, Closed Deciduous forests and grasslands with scrub jungles in the foot hills. The floral diversity is extremely rich owing to the different types of forest formations due to the altitudinal gradient and rainfall patterns. The sanctuary has one Medicinal Plant Conservation Area (MPCA) located at Thaniparai.
Fauna : There is a wide range of herbivores, carnivores and omnivores in the Grizzled Squirrel Sanctuary. Resident and migrating elephants are common. The other important animals are Tiger, Leopard, Gaur, Nilgiri tahr, Spotted deer, Barking deer, Sambar, Wild-boar, Porcupine, Nilgiri langur, Lion-tailed macaque, Common langur, Slender lorris, Bonnet macaque, Sloth bear, Indian Giant Squirrel and Flying Squirrel.
Accessibility : Sirvilliputhur is accessible form Madurai & Tirunelveli. From Madurai - 100 KM, From Tirunelveli – 98 KM. Nearest Railway Station: Madurai, Tirunelveli. Nearest Airports - Madurai (100 KM).
Gulf Of Mannar Marine National Park
Location : : Ramanathapuram District
Area : 560 sq.KM
Uniqueness: It is one of the world’s richest regions from marine bio diversity perspective and the first marine Biosphere Reserve in Southeast Asia. The Biosphere Reserve comprises 21 islands with estuaries, mudflats, beaches, forests of the near shore environment, including marine components like algal communities, sea grasses, coral reefs, salt marshes and mangroves.
Flora : Major ecosystem types available are Coral reefs, mudflats, beach, island, shallow water, and mangrove. Sea grass beds dominated by family like Hydrocharitaceae and Potamogetonaceae and species Halodule uninervis, Cymodocea rotunds, C.Serulata ; Coral reefs; mangroves including Rhizophora muctonata, Avicennia alba, Bruguiera gymnorrhiza, Ceriops tagal, Lumnitzera racemosa are also common in the stretch. The area has all the mangrove species available in India with Pemphis acidula being endemic and all the 11 sea-grasses of india occur here with Enhalus acoroides being endemic. The area supports 147 species of sea-weeds.
Fauna: The islands form a good habitat and a stopover between Chilka Lake, Point Calimore and Sri lanka for migratary birds. Nearly 180 birds are found here warders and sea-birds being most common. Lesser sand piper, Curlew sandpiper, Little stint are abundent; Rare birds like Red knot, Eastern knot, Crab plovers Bar tailed Godwit, Broad billed Sandpiper, Dunlin, Longtoed stint, Rednecked phalarope are regulars here. Little tern, Kentish plover, Stone plover, Stone curlew, Lesser crested sterna breed here. Thousands of larger flamingos winter here before returning towards Rann of Kuch.
Accessibility: Bus: Manadapam is 150 KM from Madurai Rail: Mandapam-Ramanathapram, Tuticorin Air: Madurai
Best Time to Visit: October to March
Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve
Location : Tirunelveli District
Area : 895 sq. km
Uniqueness: This is the only area of Western Ghats which has longest raining period of about 8 months,and it is the only non-dipterocarp evergreen forest in the region.It is floristically very different from other sites.
Flora : Hopea parviflora, Hopea utilis, Calophylum elatum, Cullenia resaraona, Artocarpus hirsuta, Syzygium sp., Cinnamum zeylancium, Macaranga roxburghii, Mesua ferrea, Gluta travancorica, Canarium strictum, Vateria malabaraica, Myristica species, Vitex altimassima, Dysoxylim malabrium, Anacolosa densiflora, Cullenia exasillata, Cullenia exelsa, Elaeodendron glacum, Eleogarpus tuberculatus, Alstonia scholaris, Mangifera indica, Decussocarpus Wallichianus, Podocarpus latifolia, Eugenia species, Garcinia cambogia, Xanthophyllum flavescens, Felicium decipiens, Mallotus philippensis, Litsea species, Dalbergia latifolia, Kingiodendron pinnatum, Wrightia tinctoria, chloroxylon swietenia, Pterocarpus marsupium, Anogeissus latifolia, Careya arborea, Emblica officinalis, Dalbergia paniculata, Albizia lebeck, Tectona grandis, Ficus spp., Phyllanthus emblica, Hardwickia binata, Terminalia spp.
Fauna: Mammals: Tiger, Elephant, Gaur, Mouse deer, Leopard, Rusty spotted cat, Brown palm civet, Leopard, Sambhar, Spotted deer, Malabar giant squirrel, Nilgiri Langur, Bonnet Macaque, Slender Loris, Lion tailed Macaque, Sloth Bear, Brown mongoose, Nilgiri Martin, Indian pangolin. Birds: Ceylon mouth frog, Grey headed bulbul, Great Pied hornbill, Great Indian Hornbill, Malabar Grey hornbill, Oriental bay owl, Broad tailed Grass warbler. Reptiles: King Cobra, Python, Monitor Lizard, Flying Lizard, Pit viper etc.
Accessibility: Mundanthurai lies in the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu, 45 km from Tirunelveli town, the nearest railhead. The nearest airport is at Thiruvananthapuram (160 km). Madurai, 200 km away, also has an airport. There are regular buses from Papanasam (10 km) to Nagercoil which is a three hour journey. Nagercoil is well connected by bus to most cities in South India.
Best Time to Visit: September to March
Kanyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary
Location : Kanyakumari District
Area : 402.4 sq.km
Flora : In precipitous localities, bordering Tirunelveli district, especially around Upper Kodayar Bentinckia conddappana, known as Hill arecanut, an interesting endemic palm occurs. Along the depressions Arenga wightii and Poanaca docksonii, two other palms, are found in plenty. The former yields highly intoxicating toddy, which is much sought after by tribals.
Fauna: Bonnet Macaque, Common Langur or Hanuman Langur, Nilgiri Langur, Slender Loris, Tiger, Leopard or Panther, Jungle Cat, Small Indian Civet, Mangoose, Jackal, Indian Fox, Dhole or Indian Wild Dog, Sloth Bear, Otter, Large Brown Flying Squirrel, Flying Fox, Indian Gaint Squirrel, Indian Porcupine, India Hare, Indian Elephant, Gaur or India Bison, Nilgiri Tahr, Chital or spoted Deer, Black Buck or Indian Antelope, Sambar, Barking Deer, Mousse Deer or India Chevrotain, Wild Boar, Pangolin
Accessibility: Road: Nagerkoil / Kanniyakumari is well connected by buses. Railway: Nagerkoil / Kanyakumari is well connected by train. Nearest airport is Trivandrum (67KM from Nagercoil).
Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary
Location : Chengalpattu District
Area : 481 sq.KM
Uniqueness : It is the 2nd largest brackish water lagoon in India after Chilka lake in Orissa.
Flora : It is seen that mangrove opllen is found on Sriharikota Island indicating their existence some years back. Loss of mangroves may be one of the resons hastening siltation, reducing biodiversity and hence depriving fisherfolk of their livelihood.
Fauna: Among the most spectacular is the flamingo-a tall gaunt, white-coloured bird with a touch of pink on the wings, pink beak and legs, seen feeding in shallow water. The squat, large-billed grey pelican with gular pouch and a number of ducks are commonly seen. Flocks of sea gulls and terns circling in the sky or bobbing up and down on the water are an added attraction at Pulicat. Besides, there are a number of waterside birds and waders such as curlews, stilts, plovers, sand pipers, lapwings, redshank. Egrets, herons, kites etc. are some other birds found here.
Accessibility: Nearest City: Chennai (90 km away). Nearest Town: Ponneri (19 km way) Transport: Bus services from Chennai.
Season: November - February