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Thattekadu Wildlife Sanctuary
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Thattekadu Wildlife Sanctuary, also known as the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is located in Kerala's Idukki district between the latitudes of 10°3'38.16"N and 10°8'59.64"N and the longitudes of 76°40'32.52"E and 76°47'54.24"E. Established in 1983, it covers an area of about 25.16 sq km. The protected area lies at the base of the Western Ghats, has an altitudinal range of 34-614 m and an annual average rainfall of approximately 3,598 mm. It is bordered by the Periyar, Kuttampuzha, Kolombathodu and Orulamthanni rivers.

The main vegetation types found here are-degraded low elevation evergreen forests, secondary moist deciduous forests (Lagerstroemia microcarpa-Tectona grandis-Dillenia pentagyna type) and teak plantations (Franceschi et al 2002). Approximately one-third of the sanctuary is under monoculture plantations of teak and Dipterocarpus (Islam and Rahmani 2004).

The sanctuary has been designated as an Important Bird Area owing to the presence of three threatened bird species (Nilgiri wood-pigeon Columba elphinstonii, white-bellied shortwing Brachypteryx major and broad-tailed grass-warbler Schoenicola platyura) and to the fact that it has occurrences of 11 of the 16 Western Ghats endemics and nine of the 15 bird species whose distributions are largely or wholly confined to the Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest biome (Islam and Rahmani 2004). A total of 271 bird species have been recorded from this sanctuary. Some of the interesting species are-Malabar pied hornbill (Anthracoceros coronatus), great pied hornbill (Buceros bicornis), Malabar grey hornbill (Ocyceros griseus), Wayanad laughing-thrush (Garrulax delesserti), Ceylon frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger) and Malabar trogon (Harpactes fasciatus) (Islam and Rahmani 2004).

Threatened wide-ranging mammals such as the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), tiger (Panthera tigris) and sloth bear (Melursus ursinus) are found in this sanctuary. The Travancore flying squirrel (Petinomys fuscocapillus) endemic to the Western Ghats and globally threatened is also found here (Islam and Rahmani 2004).

The main threats to this sanctuary are livestock grazing and fuelwood collection by people from neighboring villages and settlements. There are no settlements inside the sanctuary boundary (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.

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