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Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary
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Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary lies in Kerala's Thrissur district between the latitudes of 10o24'3.96"N to 10o29'6"N and longitudes of 76o24'58.32"E to 76o33'35.28"E. Established in 1984, the sanctuary covers 85 sq km on the western slopes of the Nelliampathi hills. Along with the neighboring Peechi-Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary it forms a continuous protected area of 210 sq km. It also lies just west of Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, providing some habitat connectivity with the forests of that relatively large protected area. The Chimmony river and its tributaries have created a topography unique to this region. Elevation varies from 33-1,054 m, while rainfall averages about 3,023 mm annually (SRTM 2003, Krishnaswamy et al. in prep).

The vegetation types in this protected area are primarily secondary and degraded moist deciduous (Lagerstroemia microcarpa-Tectona grandis-Dillenia pentagyna type) with some low elevation evergreen (Dipterocarpus indicus-Dipterocarpus bourdilloni-Strombosia ceylanica type) (Franceschi et al. 2002). In the medium elevation range, evergreen species such as Palaquium ellipticum, Calophyllum tomentosum, Cullenia exarillata and Syzygium cumini can be found. Teak plantations, approximately 35 years old, also occur here (Islam and Rahmani 2004).

Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary is an Important Bird Area with 192 recorded avian species. Five Western Ghats endemic bird species occur here, including the grey-headed bulbul (Pycnonotus priocephalus), Indian rufous babbler (Turdoides subrufus) and white-bellied blue-flycatcher (Cyornis pallipes). Other interesting species found here include-Ceylon frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger), Indian edible-nest swiftlet (Collocalia unicolor), Malabar trogon (Harpactes fasciatus), Malabar whistling-thrush (Myiophonus horsfieldii) and Loten's sunbird (Nectarinia lotenia) (Islam and Rahmani 2004). A recent survey recorded the presence of the lesser fish eagle (Ichthyophaga humilis), which until recently was only known from the foothills of the Himalayas. This finding establishes that the three wildlife sanctuaries, Peechi-Vazhani, Chimmony and Parambikulam act as an important conservation zone for this and other globally threatened species. Other significant sightings during the survey included those of the large hawk cuckoo (Cuculus sparverioides), broad-billed roller (Eurystomus orientalis) and ashy minivet (Pericrocotus divaricatus) (PA Update 2006).

About half of the large mammals found in Kerala are reported from Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary, especially some of the globally threatened species such as tiger (Panthera tigris), Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) and wild dog (Cuon alpinus). Other red-listed species found here include the Indian giant squirrel (Ratufa indica) and the endemic primates-lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus), Nilgiri langur (Trachypithecus johnii) and slender loris (Loris lydekkerianus).

Unfortunately, there are extensive unprotected evergreen and semi-evergreen forests that lie just outside the boundary of the wildlife sanctuary, especially to the east. Fortunately, however, the area inside the boundary is free of human habitation. The Kallichitra tribal settlement was relocated when the Chimmony dam was built. The main threats to this sanctuary are from grazing and fuelwood collection (Islam and Rahmani 2004).


SRTM (2003). Shuttle Radar Topography Mission Digital Elevation Data, 3 Arc Second,

Franceschi, D., Ramesh, B.R. and Pascal, J.P. 2002. Forest map of South India: Coimbatore-Thrissur. French Institute, Pondicherry, India.

Islam, M. Z. and Rahmani, A. R. 2004. Important bird areas in India: priority sites for conservation. Indian Bird Conservation Network: Bombay Natural History Society and Birdlife International, UK.

Krishnaswamy, J., Mehta, V., Kiran MC. Interpolation of annual rainfall data of Western Ghats using ordinary kriging.(in prep.)

PA Update. 2006. Bird survey in Peezi Vazhani and Chimmony WLSs adds 32 new species. December 12(6) 64:9

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