Longitude:76º 55’- 77º 26’ E, Latititude:9º 16’ – 9º 40’ N
Theni,Tirunelveli & Ramnad districts of Tamil Nadu
Terrain & Geomorphology
Terrain is undulating with lofty peaks of over 1700 meters bordering the north and east. Towards the west it merges into an extensive tableland Mount Plateau of average elevation 1200 meters.
From the edge of this plateau the land falls steeply to the thickly forested tracts of Sabarimala hills in the PambaRiver basin.
The overall elevation ranges from 100 meters at Pambavalley to 2019 meters at Kottamalai.
granites and gneisses
laterite, fine loamy, with large amount of quartz gravel formed from crystalline rock.
Climate & Rain fall
The temperature ranges from 15ºC in December and January and up to 31ºC in April & May.
The Annual rainfall ranges from 2000 mm to 3000 mm.
Two–thirds of the rainfall occurs during the southwest monsoon from June to September. The northeast monsoon impacts from October to December. There are some pre-monsoon showers from mid April.
Periyar and Pamba
Area of lake : 26 sq. km. (at max. water level)
Periyar tiger Reserve, Thekkady, is an example of nature’s bounty, with great scenic charm, rich bio diversity and providing veritable visitor satisfaction. Sprawled over an area of 777 Sq .km., Periyar is one of the 27 tiger reserves in India.
Zealously guarded and efficiently managed reserve 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 Pamba
Community based ecotourism
People oriented and park centered community based ecotourism is the hallmark of Periyar Tiger Reserve. These programmes are conducted by local people responsible for the surveillance of the vulnerable parts of the reserve. By taking tourists along, they are involved in the conservation of the forests of Periyar and some valuable revenue is generated for community welfare. People who once made a living by illegal operations in the forests have since become forest protectors and earn their livelihood through these programmes. Hence, as a visitor, when you join them in any of these programmes, you are directly contributing towards forest conservation and community welfare.
An appeal to the visitor
You are supporting a noble cause of forest conservation and community welfare by participating in these ecotourism programmes. The interest and participation shown by you is higly appreciated.
Let’s make Periyar a heitage for all time to come.
In Periyar Tiger Reserve there is a rich diversity of vertebrates. The diverse forest types, vayals, marshes, and a large aquatic habitat together support 62 species of mammals, 320 species of birds, 45 species of reptiles, 27 species of amphibians, and 38 species of fishes.
The invertebrate fauna of Periyar is not well documented, though the predominant invertebrate orders are Protozoa, Annelida, Arthropoda and Mollusca. 160 butterfly species have been listed.
Mammals Among the 62 species of mammals, many are rare, endemic and endangered. Periyar is prime elephant country and large herbs are often sighted at the lake fringes. There is an estimated population of 900-1000 animals which is likely to overlap with the population in the adjoining forest areas.
A much disproportionate sex ratio of the elephant is found in Periyar and adult tuskers are far too few. Gaur, among the largest of bovines, occurs in all types of habitats. Gaur have staged a remarkable comeback after their near demise due to a rinderpest outbreak in the 70’s.
Sambar, the largest deer in India are extensively distributed, and constitute the principal prey base of tiger and wild dog. Wild pig, has wide distribution throughout the park. Some times these animals invade agricultural lands often leading to man-wildlife conflicts. Small relict populations of the highly endangered Nilgiri tahr are found in the high altitude grasslands of Mangaladevi. Four of the five primate species found in the Western Ghats are well represented in Periyar. While the Nilgiri langur enjoys a wide distribution in the moist forests, the highly endangered Lion tailed macaque are confined to the dense evergreen canopies. Malabar giant squirrel is common in the area. Though the presence of the endangered species, Small travancore flying squirrel is recorded from Periyar, the Large flying squirrel is more frequently seen.
Salim Ali’s fruit bat reported from Periyar adjoining the High Wavys. is an endemic and endangered species, considered to be among the rarest of bats
320 species of birds are so far check listed from Periyar. The birds include raptors, water birds, galliform birds, pigeons, wood peckers and passerines. The reserve has a good distribution of southern western ghat endemics. All disjunct species, that occur in the eastern Himalaya but absent in between are reported from Periyar. A third of all the birds found in Periyar are trans-asian migrants.
The great pied hornbill
Buceros bicornis, enjoys a wide distribution in the evergreen and semi-evergreen forest tracts at all elevations. Their distribution appears to be related to the occurrence of old growth forest patches of trees belonging to Moraceae and Lauraceae.
The ceylon frogmouth Batracostomus moniliger, a nocturnal bird is commonly found in the moist forests of the reserve.
Western ghat endemics found in Periyar
Malabar grey hornbill
Nilgiri wood pigeon
Blue winged parakeet
Crimson throated barbet
White breasted laughting thrush
Black & orange flycatcher
White bellied blue flycatcher
Broad tailed grass warbler
White bellied shortwing
Rufous bellied hawk eagle
Great pied hornbill
Forest eagle owl
Great eared nightjar
Broad billed roller
Little spider hunter
Butterflies and Moths
160 species of butterflies were identified from Periyar Tiger Reserve. Of these, 19 are Western Ghat endemics. The evergreen forests contain several endemic and rare species. The butterfly diversity was found more in moist deciduous forests including teak and also eucalyptus plantations.
Southern bird wing, Common rose, Malabar rose, Common mormon, Blue bottle, Common albatross, Great eggfly, Evening brown, Jezebel, Clipper, Common palmfly, Grey pancy, Common crow, Nilgiri tiger, Common tiger, Striped tiger, Plain tiger, Red helen, Paris peacock, Lime butterfly, Malabar tree nymph etc. are some of the common butterflies distributed in different habitats.
The Travancore evening brown, one of the rarest butterflies in the world, was rediscovered from Periyar Tiger Reserve after a gap of several decades.
Periyar is an abode of a rich variety of moths. Though not well documented, Lunar moth and Atlas moth are not uncommon in the area.
45 species constitute the reptilian diversity. These include 30 species of snakes, 13 species of lizards and two species of turtles. Among the snakes, all the four deadly venomous species found in Kerala such as King cobra, Cobra, Russels viper and Krait were recorded from Periyar. The king cobra, an endangered rainforest species is frequently sighted near Sabarimala in the Reserve. Malabar pit viper, Hump nosed pit viper, Striped coral snake etc. are some of the other snakes found. Of the 13 species of lizards 4 are endemic to Western Ghats. Monitor lizard is commonly seen. Flying lizard, Forest dwarf gecko and the Green calotes are some of the other fairly distributed reptiles.
Amphibians are among the least studied vertebrate groups in Periyar. A total of 27 species have been recorded and of these, 10 are endemic to Western Ghats. Micrixalus fuscus, Micrixalus nudis, Rana malabarica, Rana beddomei, Rana curtipes, Rana brevipalmata, Rana temporalis, Philatus beddommii and Racophorus malabaricus are the Western ghat endemic species found in Periyar.
A total of 38 species of fishes are listed. Of these, 4 species are endemic to this Reserve. They are Periyar trout (Lepidopygopsis typus), Periyar lattia (Crossocheilus periyarensis) Periyar barb (Puntius micropogon periyarensis) and Noemacheilus menoni. Periyar is an important abode of the well known game fish, mahseer Tor khudree, a western ghat endemic species. Channa barb, Curcuma barb, and Travancore loach are the other Western Ghat endemic species found here. Tilapia and Common European carp are the two introduced species now distributed abundantly in the lake.
Very few surveys and other taxonomic studies have been carried out for invertebrates. The predominant invertebrate orders found in Periyar are protozoans, annelids, arthropods and molluscans