One of the most diverse wildlife sanctuaries in South India, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is contiguous to the protected areas of Nagarhole and Bandipur of Karnataka on the north-east and Mudumalai of Tamilnadu on the southeast. The sanctuary is divided into two parts- Muthanga towards the east and Tholpetty on the north side. Covering over an area of 345 sq. km, the sanctuary is the second largest wildlife sanctuary in Kerala. Cocooned in the Nilgiri Biosphere, this sanctuary is known for its rich biodiversity. This wildlife area that houses some of the rare and endangered species of both flora and fauna can be best explored by sitting on the back of an elephant or hopping in a jeep safari as part of Wayanad tour packages.
Here are some of the important facts about Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary.
Second Largest Wildlife Reserve in Kerala
Bestowed with lush green forests and rich wildlife, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is the second largest wildlife sanctuary in Kerala with an area of about 345 sq. km. Established in 1973, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary was brought under the Project Elephant in the year 1991-92. The sanctuary is bordered by Nagarhole National Park, Bandipur National Park in Karnataka, and Mudumalai in Tamilnadu. An integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, the sanctuary was set up to conserve the biological heritage of the region with due consideration to the general lifestyle of tribes and others whose lives are dependent on the forest. Also, the deep forests of Wayanad Sanctuary had provided shelter for Pazhassi Raja during his rebellion against the British force.
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A UNESCO World Heritage Site
Cocooned in the Nilgiri Biosphere, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is known for its rich biodiversity. The Western Ghats, Nilgiri sub-cluster, including all of the sanctuary, are designated as UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves in the year 2012. Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve was the first from India to be included in the UNESCO designated World Network of Biosphere Reserves. The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, which has been established with the specific objective of conserving the biological heritage of the region. Other wildlife parks within the Reserve are Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Bandipur National Park, Nagarhole National Park, Mukurthi National Park, and Silent Valley.
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Rich in Biodiversity
The Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is rich in flora and fauna. The forests that make Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary include different types, ranging from West coast semi-evergreen forests to South Indian Moist Deciduous forests, including trees such as Grewelia, eucalyptus, and teak. Kabini river, a tributary of the Cauvery river, flows through the sanctuary. Exploring the sanctuary by sitting on the back of an elephant or hopping in a jeep safari is one of the top things to do in Wayanad as it is home to the world’s largest population of Asiatic Elephants nearly 900, and also the largest population of tigers in all of Kerala and even the country. A whopping 75 tigers reside in these dense forests, while the rest of the state has the remaining 101 of the total tiger count of 176. One can also spot other mammals such as barking deer, spotted deer, gaur, leopard, sambhar, panther, Nilgiri langur, civet cat, wild boar, bison, and more at Wayanad, among the top wildlife sanctuaries near Bangalore. Also, the sanctuary offers sightings of several birds, and reptiles too.
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Safest Haven for Vultures
Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is an esteemed natural habitat of many rare and endangered flora and fauna. It is one of the must-visit places for wildlife enthusiasts as part of India wildlife tours and among the best Wayanad tourist places. The dense moist deciduous and semi-evergreen forests of Wayanad are home to around 203 bird species including the Malabar Grey Hornbill, peafowl, herons, wagtails, jungle fowl, egrets, babblers, roller, shrikes, woodpeckers, pheasants, cuckoos, snipes, owls, water ducks, etc. Besides, the sanctuary is considered the safest haven for the threatened species of vultures such as the Red-headed Vultures and the White-rumped Vultures.
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Home to Indigenous Tribes
One of the top places to visit near Kozhikode, Wayanad has the largest population of Adivasi in Kerala. The local tribals live not only around the forested area but also inside the sanctuary. Tribes living in these forests include some scheduled Adivasis such as Paniyas, Kattunaikkans, Kurumas, Ooralis, Adiyans, and Kurichiyas. The Forest Department of Kerala lays emphasis on scientific conservation with due consideration for the general lifestyle of the tribals and others who live in and around Wayanad, one of the popular hill stations near Bangalore. 17 anti-poaching stations are installed inside the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary to prevent any miscreant from hunting in the wild, whether for leisure or game meat, or other industrial purposes.
Santhi is an avid traveler and primary contributor to the blogs at Trawell.in. She has explored most of the states in India and gained vast knowledge on tourist destinations in India and abroad. She also contributes content to other travel websites.