Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary – The Legacy of Exotic Wild Animals

“Of all the gifts only one is supreme. It is the freedom from fear, for all the creatures of this universe. There is no other gift greater that this.” -Padma PuranaThe population of Lion-Tailed Macaque declined over the past 50 to 60 years. In 1968, the population of this medium sized well-built monkey was estimated less than a thousand. Then in 1978, the population was about 80, which lived in 55 troops in the Western Ghats. They love to live amidst coffee and tea plantations. Therefore, this endangered species is in the process of making Periyar its permanent home.OverviewPeriyar Wildlife Sanctuary, one of the 27 renowned project tiger reserves in India, is located in Thekkady, in Idukki district of central Kerala. Incepted in 1934 under the name of ‘Nellikkampatty Game Sanctuary’, it was later renamed to Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in 1950. The sanctuary was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978 and then brought under Project Elephant in 1991. An artificial lake, stretching to an area of 26 sq km, is a major attraction of Periyar National Park.


FaunaAn important element of Kerala tourism, this wildlife sanctuary offers a total of 60 different mammals, 320 categories of birds, 45 species of reptiles, 27 species of amphibians, 38 types of fish and over 160 kinds of insects/butterflies. Animals like elephants, sambars, tigers, gaurs, lion tailed macaques and nilgiri langurs can be easily spotted in the dense greens of Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.FloraThe entre sanctuary is covered with dense evergreen forests, due to which the moisture content is always high here. In the list of all evergreen or semi-evergreen forests of Periyar wildlife sanctuary, there are 2000 kinds of flowering plants, 3 types of seed plants and 170 species of ferns. These are nurtured by Periyar Lake.


Periyar has so far maintained its natural beauty. The serene atmosphere charms the tourist. Motorboats take you to beautiful creeks and islands replete with wild elephants, healthy gaurs and shy sambars. One can easily spot elephants swimming from the mainland to the islands, or wild boars roaming together.According to the officials in Periyar, there were 15 tigers in the sanctuary in 1974, and their number increased to 35 by the end of 1981. But today, you rarely see any of them. Still the lively capers of the elephants in the lake waters are a common sight in Periyar. The ideal time to visit Periyar is from February to May.