Parambikulam

Parambikulam

Parambikulam http://www.parambikulam.org is located in Palakkad district of Kerala state, south India. Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, coord|10|28|N|76|50|E established in 1973 is a Sungam range sprawling over 285 km². [Wildlife Institute of India, "State/UT Wise Details of Protected Areas" [http://www.wii.gov.in/envis/pa_database/kerala.html ENVIS] ] [ T R Shankar Raman, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore [http://ces.iisc.ernet.in/hpg/envis/owldoc716.html] ] It is at adistance of 135 km from Palakkad town and is situated adjacent to the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu. The Western Ghats, Anamalai Sub-Cluster, including all of Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, is under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for selection as a World Heritage Site.UNESCO, World Heritage sites, Tentative lists, Western Ghats sub cluster, Niligiris. retrieved 4/20/2007 [http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/2103/ World Heritage sites, Tentative lists] ] Besides being an abode of elephants, wild boar, sambar, Gaur, crocodiles, and a few tigers and panthers, it has rich diversity of flora and fauna. Trekking in the forest is allowed with prior permission. Boating is available at the reservoir. There is the "Kannimara Teak Tree", which is said to be Asia’s largest, near Thunakadavu.

Facts

Located adjacent to the Anamalai Wildlife Sanctuary, the 285 km² stretch of forest, known as the Parambikulam Sanctuary, is one of Kerala’s premier wildlife reserves. Parambikulam lies in the Anamalai Hills, south of the Palghat Gap in the Western Ghats. The area is hilly and rocky, drained by several rivers, including the Parambikulam, the Sholayar and the Thekkedy.

Thickly forested with stands of bamboo, sandalwood, rosewood and teak, the sanctuary has some marshy land and scattered patches of grassland. Parambikulam was once home to some of south India’s finest strands of teak; most of these, however, have now been replaced by teak plantations.

Little remains of the original teak forests, other than the famous Kannimara teak tree, the largest in Asia. The tree is located at about 5 km from Thunakadavu, and is one of Parambikulam’s prime attractions.

Parambikulam’s animal species include many of India’s most prominent mammals: tiger, leopard, wild dog, sloth bear, elephant, wild boar, barking deer, spotted deer, langur and macaque. Parambikulam is also home to Kerala’s largest population of gaur. Besides these, civet, chevrotain, pangolin, crocodile, jungle cat, porcupine and some 140 species of birds are found in the sanctuary. Although the larger cats are few and far between, gaur, monkey and deer are fairly common in the sanctuary.

Entry Requirements

Visitors are allowed into Parambikulam only between 7 am and 6 pm; no vehicles can leave the park after 6.30 pm. The entry fee is a paltry Re 0.50; for light vehicles an entry fee of Rs 5 is payable, for heavy vehicles, it’s Rs 10.

Permits are issued by the Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) at Thiruvananthapuram (Tel: 62217), the Field Director, Project Tiger at Kottayam, and the Divisional Forest Officer at Parambikulam.

Visitor information

Trekking in the forest is allowed with prior permission.Contact: Ecocare Centre, Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, Anappady, Thunakadavu (PO), Pollachi (Via), Palakkad, Kerala – 678 661.Phone : 04253 – 245025 [1] Boating is available at the reservoir. The Kannimara Teak Tree, which is said to be Asia’s largest, is here near Thoonakkadavu village.

There is a tree-house in the Reserve Forest area in Thoonakkadavu, the headquarters of Parambikkulam, which has to be booked in advance. The Rest Houses of the State Forest Department at Thoonakkadavu, Thellikkal and Elathode offer comfortable lodging. [5]

Parambikkulam is accessible by a road from Pollachi, Tamilnadu. Palakkad to Pollachi is about 45 km then Pollachi to Parambikkulam is about 65 km. The nearest railway station is at Pollachi and the nearest airport is at Coimbatore, Tamilnadu, about 105 km via Pollachi.

Fauna

The sanctuary has a rich diversity of animal life including: Mammals 39 species, Amphibians 16 sp., Birds 268 sp., Reptiles 61 sp., Fish 47 sp., Insects 1049 sp. and Butterflies 124 sp.

* Mammals- Important mammals include: Lion-tailed Macaque, Nilgiri Tahr, elephant, tiger, panther, Wild boar, Sambar, Bonnet Macaque, Nilgiri Langur, Sloth Bear, Nilgiri Marten Small Travancore Flying Squirrel and Gaur, the flagship mammal of Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary.

* Reptiles- Reptiles of very high importance in Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary include: King cobra, Kerala sheildtail [2] , Travancore kukri snake, Travancore wolf snake, Cochin cane turtle, Travancore tortoise, Indian day gecko and Western Ghats flying lizard. Others Important Reptiles are Indian rock python, Malabar pit viper, Travancore tortoise, South Indian forest ground gecko, South Indian rock lizard, Mountain skink, Mugger crocodile, Varanus, Pond terapin, Chameleon and the snakes: Spectacled Cobra, Krait, Green keelback, Olivaceous keelback, Western Rat snake and Vine snake. See Checklist Of Reptile Species

* Fish- 47 species of fish are recorded in the Sanctuary of which seven species are listed as endangered and 17 are endemic to Western Ghats. Some fishes include: Aral, bral, vattudi, tilapia, noori, mooshu, poochutti, kollotty, exyprius and taral. See full listing of Fish.

* Birds- 268 bird species have been recorded in the sanctuary. 134 species are listed as rare and 18 species are endemic to Western Ghats. Lesser adjutant stork, Grey-headed Fish-eagle Peninsular bay owl, Broad-billed roller and Great pied hornbill. Other birds include: Darter, Little Cormorant, Black eagle, Black-capped kingfisher, Great Indian hornbill, and Black woodpecker. [6]

See complete checklist of birds of Parambikulam Wildlife sanctuary: PDF

* Butterflies- There are 124 species of butterflies recorded in the sanctuary of which 34 are rare and endemic. See checklist of Butterflies found in Parambikulam PDF

* Amphibians- 23 amphibians living in the sanctuary include: Ridged toad Bufo parietalis, Common Asiatic toad Bufo melanostictus, Large wrinkled frog Nyctibatrachus major, Small wrinkled frog Nyctibatrachus minor, Rana tigerina, Rana keralensis, Rana cyanophlyctis, Rana leptodactyla, Rana limnocharis, Rana beddomil, Rana semipalamata, Bicoloureol frog Rana curtipes, Bronzed frog Rana temporalis, Reddish burrowing frog Tomopterna rufescens, Parambikulam frog Tomopterna parambikulamana, White-nosed bush frog Philautus leucorhinus, White-spotted bush frog Philautus chalzodes, Kerala warty frog Limnonectes keralensis, Indian skipper frog Euphlyetis cyanophlyctis, Limnonectes limnocharis, Beddome’s leaping frog Indirana beddomii, Short webbed leaping frog Indirana brachytarsus and the Common frog Micrixalus fuscus [7]

Flora

The sanctuary has a variety of trees mainly teak, neem, sandalwood and rosewood.

Threats

In April 2007 a wild fire in parts of Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary and the adjoining Nelliampathy forests destroyed hundreds of acres of forest tracts and plantations. Fires were caused by unemployed firewatchers and honey gatherers.

One of the reasons for the fires was the lack of pre-monsoon rain in the area. The area used to get rain in during January, February, March and April. This year, there was only 4 mm rain in January and after that there was no rain. Nelliampathy was facing an unprecedented drought this summer. The temperature reached 34oC in April when the average high is usually 26oC. [8]

Access

The town closest to Parambikulam is Pollachi, in Tamilnadu; it is about 48 km from Thunakadavu, and there are two daily buses, at 10 am and 5 pm, from the town to the sanctuary. Pollachi is also the nearest railhead and has train connections to Coimbatore and Palakkad. Both Coimbatore (88 km from Parambikulam) and Palakkad (97 km from the sanctuary) are important railway junctions, with a number of trains coming in from even as far as Delhi. Coimbatore, in addition, has a domestic airport served by Indian Airlines and Jet Airways. Important towns in Kerala- such as Kochi, Thrissur, Nenmarra and Kollangodu- are connected by road to Parambikulam.

Touring the sanctuary is possible by boat or jeep; both can be hired from the park authorities. Alternatively, you can climb one of Parambikulam’s two watch towers for a bit of wildlife-watching. One tower is at Anappadi (8 km from Thunakadavu) and the other’s at Zungam, 5 km from Thunakadavu.

Best time to visit

Parambikulam is open throughout the year, but is best avoided during the monsoon. Between June and August, the monsoon rains lash Parambikulam, making hillsides unstable and causing slush, mosquitoes, drippy roofs and other nuisance.

References


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