Protected areas of Kerala
The Protected areas of Kerala include a wide range of biomes, extending east from the coral reefs, estuaries, salt marshes, mangroves and beaches of the Arabian Sea through the tropical moist broadleaf forests of the Malabar Coast moist forests to the North Western Ghats moist deciduous forests and South Western Ghats moist deciduous forests to South Western Ghats montane rain forests on the western border of Tamilnadu in the Western Ghats. Most protected areas throughout its 14 Districts are under the stewardship of the Kerala Forest Dept and like all other Protected areas of India receive support from the Ministry of Environment and Forests (India).
- The total forest area in the state is 10,336 km2 (3,991 sq mi) (1995), forming 26.6% of the total geographic area.
- There are six national parks with a total area of 558.16 km2 (215.51 sq mi).
- There are fourteen wildlife sanctuaries with a total area of 1,891.07 km2 (730.15 sq mi).
- Together the protected area totals 2,449.23 km2 (945.65 sq mi), which cover 23.7% of the total forest area and 6.3% of the geographical area of Kerala State.
The first official action towards the conservation of wildlife and biodiversity in Kerala was taken in 1934 by the Maharaja of the Princely state of Travancore, Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, by declaring the forests around Periyar lake as a private game reserve to stop the encroachment of tea plantations. It was founded as Nellikkampatty Game Reserve. It was consolidated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1950 after the political integration of India. 1
Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (5,520 km²) established in 1986, includes parts of Wynad, Nagarhole, Bandipur and Mudumalai, Nilambur, Silent Valley and Siruvani Hills in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka.
Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve (3,500 km²) established in 2001, covers parts of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Pathanamthitta Districts in Kerala and Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari Districts in Tamil Nadu.
Proposed Karimpuzha National Park, 230 km²
- Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Idukki District, 427 km2 (165 sq mi), established in 1950
- Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Thiruvananthapuram District, 128 km2 (49 sq mi), altitude 80 m-1866 m, established in 1958: reed brakes, Ibex, Lion Tailed Macaque, Indian elephant, Nilgiri Langur, Crocodile, Shola birds, more than 150 endemics.
- Peechi-Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary in Thrissur District, 125 km2 (48 sq mi), altitude 40 m-928 m, established in 1958
- Wynad Wildlife Sanctuary in Wayanad District, 344.44 km2 (132.99 sq mi), altitude 800 m-1158 m, established in 1973: Indian Elephant, Bengal Tiger
- Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary in Palakkad District, 285 km2 (110 sq mi), altitude 459 m-1439 m, established in 1973: Nilgiri Tahr, Lion Tailed Macaque, Gaur, Indian Elephant
- Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary in Idukki District, 70 km2 (27 sq mi), altitude 600 m-1200 m, established in 1976: Indian elephant, Sambar
- Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary in Thiruvananthapuram District, 53 km2 (20 sq mi), altitude 60 m-1717 m, established in 1983: Lion Tailed Macaque, Indian elephant, Shola birds
- Thattekad Bird Sanctuary in Idukki District, 25.16 km2 (9.71 sq mi), altitude 30 m-620 m, established in 1983: Birds
- Chimmony Wildlife sanctuary in Thrissur District, 85 km2 (33 sq mi), altitude 50 m-1116 m, established in 1984: Indian elephant, Bengal tiger
- Shenduruny Wildlife Sanctuary in Kollam District, 171 km2 (66 sq mi), altitude 120 m-1785 m, established in 1984: Myristica swamps, Bengal tiger, Lion Tailed Macaque, Shola birds, lesser predators, Gluta Travancorica trees
- Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary in Idukki District, 90.44 km2 (34.92 sq mi), altitude 440 m -2300m, established in 1984: sandal forests, dry habitat species of animals and birds, Nilgiri Tahr, Indian elephant
- Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary in Kannur District, 55 km2 (21 sq mi), altitude 60m-1598m, established in 1984: Gaur, Sambar, Nilgiri Langur
- Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary in Ernakulam District, 0.0274 km2 (0.0106 sq mi), almost at sea level, established in 2004
- Kurinjimala Sanctuary in Idukki District, 32 km2 (12 sq mi), altitude approx. 800 m-2550 m, established in 2006: Neelakurinji
- Ranipuram Wildlife Sanctuary proposed 2007 in Kasaragod district, approx. 80 km2 (31 sq mi) is an integral part of Brahmagiri biosphere: shola forests, Indian elephants, Indian leopards, wild dogs, various species of birds, Malabar Large-spotted Civets, slender loris, macaque; no protection for this biodiversity area; illegal night hunting and poaching are main threats; attention of the concerned authorities is required to declare it a wildlife sanctuary.4
- The Trivandrum Zoo is one among the best designed in Asia and is set amidst a woodland, lakes and lawns.5 It is one of the oldest in the country, established as an annexe to the Museum in 1857.
- The Thrissur Zoo is home to the wide variety of animals, reptiles and birds. Spread over an area of 13.5 acres of land, a natural history museum and an art museum are also enclosed within the same premises showcasing the socio-cultural heritage of the region. There is a special building which houses snakes also.6
- Attappadi - The 249 km² Attappadi Reserve Forest is an informal buffer zone conjoining Silent Valley National Park to the West.7 81 km² of this forest was separated to become most of the new 94 km² Bhavani Forest Range which is part of the 147.22 km² Silent Valley Buffer Zone.
- A useful source is detailed Topographic Maps of India.8
- Kerala Forest Dept.Kerala Forest Dept.
- Kerala Forests and Wildlife Department (2004) Kerala Forests and Wildlife Department
- Wildlife Institute of India 2007 List of Protected Areas, Dehradun
- Expert Eyes Wildlife Sanctuaries
- Public Relations Department, Govt. of Kerala., 101 Things to Do in Kerala, retrieved 6/23/2007 Trivandrum zoo
- Kerala State Department of Museums and Zoos Zoological garden, Thiruvananthapuram
- keralaatbest.com (2002) "Palgat", retrieved 4/1/2007 Palgat
- University of Texas Libraries, India and Pakistan 1:250,000, Series U502, U.S. Army Map Service, 1955 Topographic Maps of India
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