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Periyar Tiger Reserve

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Title: Periyar Tiger Reserve  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Kottayam district, Gaur, Western Ghats, Bengal tiger, Idukki district, Periyar (river), Wildlife of Kerala, Kerala, Indian elephant, Kerala Tourism Development Corporation
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Periyar Tiger Reserve

Periyar National Park
Template:IUCN banner
Location Idukki and Pathanamthitta, India

9°28′N 77°10′E / 9.467°N 77.167°E / 9.467; 77.167Coordinates: 9°28′N 77°10′E / 9.467°N 77.167°E / 9.467; 77.167

Area 305 km²
Established 1982
Visitors 180,000 (in 1986)
Governing body Kerala Forest Department

Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary (PNP) is a protected area in the districts of Idukki and Pathanamthitta in Kerala, south India. It is notable as an elephant reserve and a tiger reserve. The protected area covers an area of 925 km2 (357 sq mi). 350 km2 (140 sq mi) of the core zone was declared as the Periyar National Park in 1982.

The park is often called the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary or Thekkady. It is located high in the Cardamom Hills and Pandalam Hills of the southern Western Ghats along the border with Tamil Nadu. It is 4 km (2.5 mi) from Kumily, approximately 100 km (62 mi) east of Kottayam, 110 km (68 mi) west of Madurai and 120 km (75 mi) southeast of Kochi.[1]


Periyar National Park lies in the middle of a mountainous area of the Cardamom Hills. In the north and the east it is bounded by mountain ridges of over 1,700 m (5,600 ft) altitude and toward the west it expands into a 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) high plateau. From this level the altitude drops steeply to the deepest point of the reserve, the 100 metre valley of the Pamba River. The highest peak is the 2,019 m (6,624 ft) high Kottamalai. The Periyar and Pamba Rivers originate in the forests of the reserve.[2]

The sanctuary surrounds Periyar Lake, a reservoir measuring 26 km2 (10 sq mi) which was formed when the Mullaperiyar Dam was erected in 1895. The reservoir and the Periyar River meander around the contours of the wooded hills, providing a permanent source of water for the local wildlife.


The temperature varies depending upon the altitude and it ranges between 15°Celsius in December and January and 31°Celsius in April and May. Annual precipitation is between 2000 and 3000 mm, about two thirds occurring during the southwest monsoon between June to September. Much of the rest occurs during the northeast monsoon between October and December.


The park is made up of tropical evergreen and moist deciduous forests, grasslands, stands of eucalyptus, and lake and river ecosystems.[3] There are many hundreds of flowering plant taxa, including about 171 species of grass and 140 species of orchids.[3]

The forests contain teak, rosewoods, terminalias, sandalwoods, jacarandas, mangoes, jamun, tamarind, banyans, sacred fig, plumerias, royal poinciana, kino tree, bamboos, and the only South Indian conifer, Nageia wallichiana.[3] The medicinal gloriosa lily grows in the park. The endemic flora includes Habenaria periyarensis and Syzygium periyarensis.[3]

The park is surrounded by agricultural regions, especially plantations of such crops as tea, cardamom, and coffee.[3]



There are 35 species of mammals recorded in the park, including many threatened species. It is an important tiger and elephant reserve. A total of 24 Bengal tigers were counted across 640 square kilometers of the park in 2008.[4] It is valuable Indian elephant habitat. Other mammals include the gaur, sambar, wild pig, Indian giant squirrel, Travancore flying squirrel, jungle cat, sloth bear, Nilgiri tahr, lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri langur, Salim Ali's fruit bat, stripe-necked mongoose, and Nilgiri marten.[5]


About 265 species of birds can be seen in the park, including migrants. Endemic birds include the Malabar Grey Hornbill, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Blue-winged Parakeet, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Crimson-backed Sunbird, and White-bellied Blue Flycatcher. Other birds include the Black Baza, Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl, Nilgiri Thrush, Little Spiderhunter, Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle, Brahminy Kite, Great Hornbill, Sri Lanka Frogmouth, Oriental Darter, and Black-necked Stork.[6]


There are 45 species of reptiles: 30 snakes, 13 lizards, and two turtles. Snakes include the king cobra, Malabar pit viper, and striped coral snake.

Amphibians in the park include caecilians, frogs, and toads. Species include the Malabar gliding frog, Asian toad, fungoid frog, and bicolored frog.[7]


The 40 species of fish in the local lakes and rivers include the Periyar trout, Periyar latia, Periyar barb, channa barb, and Travancore loach.[8]


There are about 160 butterfly taxa, including the lime butterfly, Malabar tree nymph, and Travancore evening brown, and many kinds of moths, such as the Atlas moth.[9]


  • 1895 - Construction of the Mullaperiyar Dam
  • 1899 - Formation of the Periyar Lake Reserve
  • 1933 - S.C.H. Robinson made the first game warden
  • 1934 - Formation of Nellikkampatty Game Sanctuary
  • 1950 - Consolidation of Periyar as a wildlife sanctuary
  • 1978 - Declaration of Periyar as a tiger reserve
  • 1982 - Preliminary notification of the core area as a national park
  • 1991 - Brought under Project Elephant
  • 1996 - India Ecodevelopment Project launched
  • 2001 - Divided into Periyar East and Periyar West
  • 2004 – Formation of Periyar Foundation
  • 2007 – 148 km2 of the Goodrical Range added to the reserve[1]
  • 2011 - The management of Periyar Tiger Reserve has been assessed as "very good" by the National Tiger Conservation Authority and the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.[10]
  • 2012 - An additional 148 km2 of evergreen forest at Ponnambalamedu added to the reserve[11]


See also


External links

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