Kerala is a galore of wildlife attractions. Many successful initiatives are taken to preserve and conserve the wildlife population. These have resulted in the establishment of many national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in the state. Wayanad wildlife sanctuary in Wayanad is one of the significant holiday destinations in the state. This is the 2nd largest sanctuary in Kerala and is marked for its rich biodiversity and the lush green forests.
The sanctuary is also known as Muthanga wildlife sanctuary. Established in the year 1973 it has been maintaining the ecological balance. It is an important part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.
It was brought under the Project Elephant during 1991-92. The management of the sanctuary is much more concerned with the wildlife conservation while taking into consideration the general lifestyle of people residing in the surrounding areas.
The sanctuary derives its name from the place where it is located. It is a pride of the Wayanad district which houses the largest population of aborigine tribe in Kerala.
Area and Location:
The sanctuary encompasses an area of 345 sq km. It is located about 16km east of Sultan Battery which is the nearest large town. The sanctuary is surrounded by protected area network of Nagarholeand Bandipur in Karnataka in the north east, and on the south east by Mudumalai in Tamil Nadu.
Wayanad wildlife sanctuary is part of the Wayanad Plateau. So the vegetation is mostly south Indian moist deciduous teak forests and pastures of west-coast semi-evergreen trees. Mazhukanjiram, Karimaruthi, Rosewood, Arecanut palms and Jack trees, Maruthi, Veteria Indica., Vengal, Chadachi, Venteak, Bamboos, Lagerstroemia, Lanceolata, Termianalia Paniculata, etc. can be noticed here. Many of these trees provide shade to the coffee plants. Much of the forest area is used for teak plantation.
Elephants, Panthers, Tigers, Civet Cats, Monkeys, Wild Dogs, Jungle Cats, Deer, Bisons, Bears, Monitor Lizards, etc. are the main animal species. There are a large number of snakes in the sanctuary. Winged creatures include Babblers, Cuckoos, Peacocks, Owls, Woodpeckers, Jungle Fowls and many more.
You can go for elephant rides that are arranged by the State Forest Department. Being atop an elephant while experiencing the wildlife would be an exciting and unforgettable event.
The sanctuary experiences a salubrious climate. The average rainfall varies from 3000 to 4000 m.m. The minimum temperature is 18°C while the maximum is 29°C.
Where to stay?
If you want to stay in Wayanad, there are a number of hotels and resorts that will make your stay comfortable. Hotel Haritagiri, Issac's Hotel Regency, Orchid Resort are some of the best places to stay.
How to travel?
Kozhikode-CCJ is the nearest airport. Kozhikode- CLT at a distance of 105 km is the nearest major railway station.
The headquarters of the sanctuary is located in Kapetta. Kapetta is well connected with major cities of the state. Regular buses ply from Calicut to Kapetta. Calicut is 98 km, Trivandrum is 502 km and Cochin is 286 km from the park.
Other places to visit:
Kalpetta is famous for its Jain temples, the Chembra Peak is a perfect destination for trekking, Edakkal Caves, 12 kilometers from Sultan Battery famous for the the New Stone Age pictorical writings are places that will add spice to your tour. The Glass Temple of Kottamunda about 22 kilometers from Kalpetta is a must visit.
As mentioned earlier, Wayanad wildlife sanctuary is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. It is a matter of pride that UNESCO World Heritage Committee is considering it for selection as a World Heritage Site. So take a chance to explore this wildlife paradise in the beautiful state of Kerala.