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Peechi-Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary
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This sanctuary lies in Kerala's Thrissur district between the latitudes of 10o28'0.48"N and 10o40'10.92"N and the longitudes of 76o18'22.68"E and 76o28'40.44"E. It was established in 1958 and covers a total area of 125 sq km. Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary lies immediately to the east and the forests of Palakkad division are to the north. Unfortunately, connectivity between the Peechi forest range and the Vazhani forests has been disrupted by the Trichur-Palakkad National Highway. There are also two dams present within the boundaries of the protected area (Islam and Rahmani 2004). The altitudinal range in this sanctuary is from 36-863 m and annual average rainfall is approximately 2,643 mm (SRTM 2003, Krishnaswamy et al. in prep).

The major vegetation types in the sanctuary are-low elevation evergreen forest (Dipterocarpus indicus-Dipterocarpus bourdilloni-Strombosia ceylanica type), semi-evergreen forests and secondary moist deciduous forest (Lagerstroemia microcarpa-Tectona grandis-Dillenia pentagyna type) (Franceshi et al. 2002).

Peechi-Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary has been designated as an Important Bird Area owing to the presence of a globally threatened species, the broad-tailed grass warbler (Schoenicola platyura), seven of the 16 Western Ghats endemic birds and seven of the 15 species whose distributions are largely or wholly confined to the Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest biome (Islam and Rahmani 2004). So far 177 avian species have been recorded from this protected area. Some of the interesting species are-Malabar grey hornbill (Ocyceros griseus), Wynaad laughing-thrush (Garrulax delesserti), white-bellied treepie (Dendrocitta leucogastra), small green-billed malkoha (Phaenicophaeus viridirostris), Malabar trogon (Harpactes fasciatus), crimson-breasted barbet (Megalaima rubricapilla) and Malabar whistling-thrush (Myiophonus horsfieldii) (Islam and Rahmani 2004). This sanctuary is also a wintering site for several Himalayan birds such as the large-crowned leaf warbler (Phylloscopus occipitalis), rufous-tailed flycatcher (Muscicapa ruficaudata), blue-headed rock-thrush (Monticola cinclorhynchus), pied thrush (Zoothera wardii) and brown-breasted flycatcher (Muscicapa muttui) (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 findings establish that the three wildlife sanctuaries, Peechi-Vazhani, Chimmony and Parambikulam act as an important conservation zone for this and other globally threatened species (PA Update 2006).

All the wide-ranging globally threatened mammals found in the Western Ghats are present in this sanctuary including, Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), tiger (Panthera tigris) and wild dog (Cuon alpinus). Herbivores recorded from this protected area include-gaur (Bos gaurus), sambar (Cervus unicolor), chital (Axis axis) and muntjak (Muntiacus muntjak). Endemic and globally threatened mammals found here are the Nilgiri langur (Trachypithecus johnii), lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus), slender loris (Loris lydekkerianus) and Malabar giant squirrel (Ratufa indica) (Islam and Rahmani 2004).

This is one of the few protected areas where studies of reptilian diversity have been conducted. A total of 31 reptile species have been recorded here including endemics such as the Travancore tortoise (Indotestudo travancorica) , gliding lizard (Draco dussumieri), forest calotes (Calotes rouxi and C. ellioti) and dwarf gecko (Cnemaspis waynadensis) (Thomas and Easa 1997).

The main threats to the sanctuary come from grazing of livestock and fuelwood collection by neighboring villagers. There are many tourists visiting the sanctuary and the influx needs to be regulated. Approximately 1.7 sq km of land within the boundaries belongs to the Malaya tribal communities who practice small scale cultivation of paddy, tapioca rubber and coconut. They also depend on non-timber forest produce collection for their livelihood (Islam and Rahmani 2004).


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

Thomas, J. and Easa, P.S.1997. Reptile fauna of Peechi-Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary. Cobra. 29:14-18.

SRTM 2003. Shuttle Radar Topography Mission Digital Elevation Data, 3 ArcSecond,

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