Wildlife of Kerala

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This article relates to flora and fauna of the state of Kerala, south India.
Kerala forest divions Kerala forest divisions.pdf
Kerala forest divions
Cattle egret at the Chirakkal Chira, Chirakkal, Kannur. Bird at Chirakkal Chira-2.jpg
Cattle egret at the Chirakkal Chira, Chirakkal, Kannur.
A migratory bird at Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary Ichthyaetus ichthyaetus Kadalundi.jpg
A migratory bird at Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary
Chimmini Wildlife Sanctuary Chimmini Wildlife Sanctuary IMG 6944.JPG
Chimmini Wildlife Sanctuary

Most of Kerala, whose native habitat consists of wet evergreen rainforests at lower elevations and highland deciduous and semi-evergreen forests in the east, is subject to a humid tropical climate. However, significant variations in terrain and elevation have resulted in a land whose biodiversity registers as among the world’s most significant. But the district Alappuzha situated in Kerala is the only district of Kerala which have no forests. [1]


Evergreen forests

Most of Kerala's significantly biodiverse tracts of wilderness lie in the evergreen forests of its easternmost districts; [2] coastal Kerala (along with portions of the east) mostly lies under cultivation and is home to comparatively little wildlife. Despite this, Kerala contains 9,400 km2 of natural forests. Out of the approximately 7,500 km2 of non-plantation forest cover, there are wild regions of tropical wet evergreen and semi-evergreen forests (lower and middle elevations 3,470 km2), tropical moist and dry deciduous forests (mid-elevations 4,100 km2 and 100 km2, respectively), and montane subtropical and temperate (shola) forests (highest elevations 100 km2). Such forests together cover 24% of Kerala's landmass. [3] Kerala also hosts four of the world’s Ramsar Convention-listed wetlands: Ashtamudi Lake, Lake Sasthamkotta, Thrissur-Ponnani Kole Wetlands, and the Vembanad-Kol wetlands are noted as being wetlands of international importance. [4] There are also numerous protected conservation areas, including 1455.4 km2 of the vast Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and 1828 km2 of the Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve. [5] Parambikullam forest of [6] district is the only forest in Kerala that has a main entrance that is through Tamil Nadu.

Figs (Ficus species) like this strangler fig are an important floral element and support many frugivores Strangler fig kerala.jpg
Figs ( Ficus species) like this strangler fig are an important floral element and support many frugivores

Flora of Kerala

Vegetation types Kerala forest types.pdf
Vegetation types

Eastern Kerala’s windward mountains shelter tropical moist forests and tropical dry forests which are generally characteristic of the wider Western Ghats: crowns of giant sonokeling (binomial nomenclature: Dalbergia latifolia Indian rosewood), anjili (Artocarpus hirsuta), mullumurikku (Erythrina), Cassia, and other trees dominate the canopies of large tracts of virgin forest. Overall, Kerala's forests are home to more than 1,000 species of trees. Smaller flora include bamboo, wild black pepper (Piper nigrum), wild cardamom, the calamus rattan palm (Calamus rotang a type of giant grass), and aromatic Vetiver grass (Vetiveria zizanioides). [3] .......... The world's oldest teak plantation 'Conolly's Plot' is in Nilambur. [7]

Fauna of Kerala

In turn, the forests play host to such major fauna as the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), leopard (Panthera pardus), nilgiri tahr (Nilgiritragus hylocrius), and grizzled giant squirrel (Ratufa macroura). [3] More remote preserves, including Silent Valley National Park in the Kundali Hills, harbour endangered species such as the Lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus), Indian sloth bear (Melursus (Ursus) ursinus ursinus), and gaur (the so-called "Indian bison" Bos gaurus). More common species include the Indian porcupine (Hystrix indica), chital (Axis axis), sambar (Cervus unicolor), gray langur, flying squirrel, swamp lynx (Felis chaus kutas), boar (Sus scrofa), a variety of catarrhine Old World monkey species, the dhole, and the Asian palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus). [8]

The king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) KINGCOBRA.jpg
The king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah)



Many reptiles, such as tree snake, green snake, king cobra, viper, python, and various turtles and crocodiles are to be found in Kerala again, disproportionately in the east. Kerala has about 453 species of birds such as the Sri Lanka frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger), leaf picking bird, Oriental bay owl, large frugivores like the great hornbill (Buceros bicornis) and Indian grey hornbill, as well as the more widespread birds such as peafowl, Indian cormorant, jungle and hill mynas, the Oriental darter, black-hooded oriole, greater racket-tailed and black drongoes, bulbul (Pycnonotidae), species of kingfisher and woodpecker, jungle fowl, Alexandrine parakeets, and assorted ducks and migratory birds. Additionally, freshwater fish such as kadu (stinging catfish) [9] and brackishwater species such as Choottachi (orange chromide Etroplus maculatus; valued as an aquarium specimen) also are native to Kerala's lakes and waterways. [10]

The Nilgiri tahr, spotted in the Eravikulam National Park in Idukki District Nilgiri Tahr 1.jpg
The Nilgiri tahr, spotted in the Eravikulam National Park in Idukki District
Lion-tailed macaque Lightmatter lion-tailed macaque.jpg
Lion-tailed macaque


National parkArea (km2)Year started
Eravikulam National Park 971978 [5]
Silent Valley National Park 237. 521984 [5]
Anamudi Shola National Park 7.52003 [5]
Mathikettan Shola National Park 12.8172003 [5]
Pambadum Shola National Park 1.3182003 [5]
Biosphere ReserveArea (km2)Year started
Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve 1455.41986 [5]
Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve 18282001 [5]
Wildlife sanctuaryArea (km2)Year started
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary 9251950 [5]
Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary 1281958 [5]
Peechi-Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary 1251958 [5]
Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary 344.441973 [5]
Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary 2861973 [5]
Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary 701976 [5]
Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary 531983 [5]
Chimmony Wildlife sanctuary 851984 [5]
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary 90.441984 [5]
Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary 1711984 [5]
Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary 551984 [5]
Kurinjimala Sanctuary 322006 [5]
Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary 74.212009 [5]
Kottiyoor Wildlife Sanctuary 30.382011 [5]
Karimpuzha Wildlife Sanctuary 227.972020 [11]
Bird sanctuaryArea (km2)Year started
Thattekad Bird Sanctuary 251983 [5]
Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary 0.02742004 [5]
Chulanur Bird Sanctuary 3.422007 [5]
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary 0.0566 [12]
Tiger reserveArea (km2)Year started
Periyar Tiger Reserve 9251978
Parambikulam Tiger Reserve 648.501973
Community ReserveArea (km2)Year started
Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary 1.52007 [5] [13]

See also


Related Research Articles

Western Ghats Mountain range along the western coast of India

The Western Ghats or the Sahyadri Mountain range is a mountain range that covers an area of 160,000 km2 (62,000 sq mi) in a stretch of 1,600 km (990 mi) parallel to the western coast of the Indian peninsula, traversing the states of Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the eight biodiversity hotspots in the world. It is sometimes called the Great Escarpment of India. It contains a very large proportion of the country's flora and fauna, many of which are endemic to these region. According to UNESCO, the Western Ghats are older than the Himalayas. They influence Indian monsoon weather patterns by intercepting the rain-laden monsoon winds that sweep in from the south-west during late summer. The range runs north to south along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau and separates the plateau from a narrow coastal plain called Konkan along the Arabian Sea. A total of 39 areas in the Western Ghats, including national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserve forests, were designated as world heritage sites in 2012 – twenty in Kerala, ten in Karnataka, six in Tamil Nadu and four in Maharashtra.

Nilambur Place in Kerala, India

Nilambur is a major town, a municipality and a Taluk in the Malappuram district of the Indian state of Kerala. It is located close to the Nilgiris range of the Western Ghats on the banks of the Chaliyar River. This place is also known as 'Teak Town' because of the abundance of Nilambur teaks in this area; Which is a variety of a large, deciduous tree that occurs in mixed hardwood forests. Unlike many Municipalities of India; Nilambur is covered with large amounts of vegetation making it close to nature and hence make it very scenic and inspiring.

Malabar Coast moist forests

The Malabar Coast moist forests are a tropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion of southwestern India.

South Western Ghats moist deciduous forests

The South Western Ghats moist deciduous forests is an ecoregion in the Western Ghats of southern India with tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests. This biome covers the Nilgiri Hills between elevation of 250 and 1,000 m in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu states.

Silent Valley National Park National park in India

Silent Valley National Park is a national park in Kerala, India. It is located in the Nilgiri hills, has a core area of 89.52 km2 (34.56 sq mi), which is surrounded by a buffer zone of 148 km2 (57 sq mi). This national park has some rare species of flora and fauna. This area was explored in 1847 by the botanist Robert Wight. It is located in the border of Mannarkkad Taluk of Palakkad district, Nilambur Taluk of Malappuram district, Kerala, and Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu.

Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve International biosphere reserve of India

The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is a biosphere reserve in the Nilgiri mountains of the Western Ghats in South India. It is the largest protected forest area in India, spreading across Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. It includes the protected areas Mudumalai, Mukurthi, Nagarhole, Bandipur, Silent Valley National Park, and Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary, Wayanad, Karimpuzha and Sathyamangalam wildlife sanctuaries.

Anamalai Tiger Reserve Wildlife sanctuary and national park in Tamil Nadu, India

Anaimalai Tiger Reserve, earlier known as Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park and as Anaimalai Wildlife Sanctuary, is a protected area in the Anaimalai Hills of Pollachi and Valparai taluks of Coimbatore District and Udumalaipettai taluk in Tiruppur District, Tamil Nadu, India. The Tamil Nadu Environment and Forests Department by a notification dated 27 June 2007, declared an extent of 958.59 km2 that encompassed the erstwhile IGWLS&NP or Anaimalai Wildlife Sanctuary, as Anaimalai Tiger Reserve under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. According to the National Tiger Conservation Authority, the Reserve presently includes a core area of 958.59 km2 and buffer/peripheral area of 521.28 km2 forming a total area of 1479.87 km2.

Mudumalai National Park Nature conservation areapa in Tamil Nadu, India

Mudumalai National Park is a national park in the Nilgiri Mountains in Tamil Nadu, south India. It covers 321 km2 (124 sq mi) at an elevation range of 850–1,250 m (2,790–4,100 ft) in the Nilgiri District and shares boundaries with the states of Karnataka and Kerala. A part of this area has been protected since 1940. The national park has been part of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve since 1986 and was declared a tiger reserve together with a buffer zone of 367.59 km2 (141.93 sq mi) in 2007. It receives an annual rainfall of about 1,420 mm (56 in) and harbours tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests with 498 plant species, at least 266 bird species, 18 carnivore and 10 herbivore species. It is drained by the Moyar River and several tributaries, which harbour 38 fish species.

The term Malabar rainforests refers to one or more distinct ecoregions recognized by biogeographers:

  1. the Malabar Coast moist forests formerly occupied the coastal zone to the 250 metre elevation
  2. the South Western Ghats moist deciduous forests grow at intermediate elevations
  3. the South Western Ghats montane rain forests cover the areas above 1000 metres elevation
Periyar National Park Protected area in Kerala

Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary (PNP) is a protected area located in the districts of Idukki and Pathanamthitta in Kerala, India. It is notable as an elephant reserve and a tiger reserve. The protected area encompasses 925 km2 (357 sq mi), of which 305 km2 (118 sq mi) of the core zone was declared as the Periyar National Park in 1982. The park is a repository of rare, endemic, and endangered flora and fauna and forms the major watershed of two important rivers of Kerala: the Periyar and the Pamba.

Upper Gangetic Plains moist deciduous forests

The Upper Gangetic Plains moist deciduous forests is a tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests ecoregion of northern India.

Northern dry deciduous forests

The Northern dry deciduous forests, presently known as the North Deccan dry deciduous forests, is a tropical dry broadleaf forest ecoregion of east-central India.

Brahmaputra Valley semi-evergreen forests

The Brahmaputra Valley semi-evergreen forests is a tropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion of Northeastern India and southern Bhutan.

Tourism in Kerala Overview of tourism in Kerala, India

Kerala, a state situated on the tropical Malabar Coast of southwestern India, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Named as one of the ten paradises of the world by National Geographic Traveler, Kerala is famous especially for its ecotourism initiatives and beautiful backwaters. Its unique culture and traditions, coupled with its varied demography, have made Kerala one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Growing at a rate of 13.31%, the tourism industry is a major contributor to the state's economy.

Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary Protected area and tiger reserve in Karnataka, India

Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area and tiger reserve as part of the Project Tiger, situated in Chikkamagaluru district, 23 km (14 mi) south of Bhadravathi city, 38 km (24 mi) 20 km from Tarikere town, northwest of Chikkamagaluru and 283 km from Bengaluru city in Karnataka state, India. Bhadra sanctuary has a wide range of flora and fauna and is a popular place for day outings. The 1,875 m (6,152 ft) above MSL Hebbe Giri is the highest peak in the sanctuary.

Namdapha National Park National park in Arunachal Pradesh, India

Namdapha National Park is a 1,985 km2 (766 sq mi) large protected area in Arunachal Pradesh of Northeast India. With more than 1,000 floral and about 1,400 faunal species, it is a biodiversity hotspot in the Eastern Himalayas. The national park harbours the northernmost lowland evergreen rainforests in the world at 27°N latitude. It also harbours extensive dipterocarp forests, comprising the northwestern parts of the Mizoram-Manipur-Kachin rain forests ecoregion.

Wildlife of Karnataka

The state of Karnataka in South India has a rich diversity of flora and fauna. It has a recorded forest area of 38720 km2 which constitutes 22.3467719% of the total geographical area of the state. These forests support 25% of the elephant population and 10% of the tiger population of India. Many regions of Karnataka are still unexplored and new species of flora and fauna are still found. The Western Ghats mountains in the western region of Karnataka are a biodiversity hotspot. Two sub-clusters of the Western Ghats, Talacauvery and Kudremukh in Karnataka, are in a tentative list of sites that could be designated as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. The Bandipur and Nagarahole national parks which fall outside these subclusters were included in the Nilgiri biosphere reserve in 1986, a UNESCO designation. Biligiriranga Hills in Karnataka is a place where Eastern Ghats meets Western Ghats. The state bird and state animal of Karnataka are Indian roller and the Indian elephant respectively. The state tree and state flower are sandalwood and lotus respectively. Karnataka is home to 524 tigers.

Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary Wildlife sanctuary in Tamil Nadu, India

The Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary (GSWS), also known as Srivilliputhur Wildlife Sanctuary, was established in 1988 to protect the Near threatened grizzled giant squirrel. Occupying an area of 485.2 km2, it is bordered on the southwest by the Periyar Tiger Reserve and is one of the best preserved forests south of the Palghat Gap.

Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary

The Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary in Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala, India. It consists of the catchment area of the Karamana River, which originates from Chemmunjimottai, the tallest hill within the sanctuary. The sanctuary is named after the Peppara Dam, commissioned in 1983 to augment the drinking water supply to Thiruvananthapuram city and suburban areas. Considering the ecological significance of the area, it was declared a sanctuary in 1983. The terrain is undulating with elevation ranging from 100 m to 1717 m. The area of the sanctuary is 75 km2 with tropical moist evergreen forests and myristica swamps. It is part of the Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve. Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary is 44 kilometres (27 mi) by car from the nearest railway station, at Thiruvananthapuram, and 49 kilometres (30 mi) from the Thiruvananthapuram airport.

Geography of Coimbatore

Coimbatore is the second largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is situated in the western corner of Tamil Nadu, a short distance from the border with the neighbouring state of Kerala, and is surrounded by the Western Ghats on all sides.


  1. "Alappuzha | District Alappuzha, Government of Kerala | India" . Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  2. ( Sreedharan 2004 , p. 11).
  3. 1 2 3 ( Sreedharan 2004 , p. 12).
  4. Chandran 2018, p. 342.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 Chandran 2018, p. 347.
  6. Pallakad
  7. "World's oldest teak trees dying in Kerala". DNA India. 13 May 2009.
  8. ( Sreedharan 2004 , pp. 174–175).
  9. ( Sreedharan 2004 , p. 163).
  10. ( Sreedharan 2004 , pp. 164–165).
  11. K R Rajeev (1 July 2020). "Karimpuzha to be Kerala's 18th wildlife sanctuary". Times of India.
  12. "Kumarakom". Archived from the original on 16 July 2012. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  13. "The Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary". keralatourism.org. Retrieved 2 May 2021.