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Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary
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Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Kerala's Palakkad district between the latitudes of 10o19'58.08"N and 10o32'3.24"N and longitudes of 76o35'20.76"E and 76o50'59.97"E. Established in 1973, it covers an area of 285 sq km and forms an integral part of the larger 1,187 sq km block of protected forests straddling the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border in the Anamalai hills of the Western Ghats. The elevation varies from 380-1,418 m and the average annual rainfall in this area is about 2,496 mm (SRTM 2003, Krishnaswamy et al. in prep). The highest peak is Karimala Gopuram at 1,418 m. The sanctuary area encompasses three dams, constructed in 1960 for irrigation and power generation.

The main vegetation types found in the sanctuary are-low elevation evergreen forest (Dipterocarpus indicus-Dipterocarpus bourdilloni-Strombosia ceylanica type), medium elevation evergreen forest (Cullenia exarillata-Mesua ferrea-Palaquium ellipticum type), medium elevation semi-evergreen forest, secondary moist deciduous forest (Lagerstroemia microcarpa-Tectona grandis-Dillenia pentagyna type), dry deciduous forest (Albizzia amara-Acacia sp. type) and teak plantations (Franceschi et al. 2002). Bambusa sp. can be found in the moist forests. Ochlandra reed ecosystems also occur here. Additionally, there are several marshes or vayals, which were formed as a result of poor drainage and accumulation of clayey loam over time (Islam and Rahmani 2004).

Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary is an Important Bird Area owing to the presence of three globally threatened species viz. the Nilgiri wood-pigeon (Columba elphinstonii), white-bellied shortwing (Brachypteryx major) and broad-tailed grassbird (Schoenicola platyura), as well as the presence of five of the 16 Western Ghats endemics and eight of the 15 species whose distributions are largely or wholly confined to the Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest biome (Islam and Rahmani 2004). A total of 214 bird species have been recorded here. Some of the interesting avian species include-the Wynaad laughing-thrush (Garrulax delesserti), small sunbird (Nectarinia minima), small green-billed Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus viridirostris), Ceylon frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger), Malabar trogon (Harpactes fasciatus), Malabar pied hornbill (Anthracocerus coronatus) and Malabar whistling-thrush (Myiophonus horsfieldii) (Islam and Rahmani 2004).

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), Malabar giant squirrel (Ratufa indica) and Nilgiri tahr (Hemitragus hylocrius) (Islam and Rahmani 2004).

Some of the main threats to this sanctuary include grazing, fuelwood collection and the spread of invasive species. Repeated man-made fires, often lit by graziers, are leading to vegetation change in some of the grassland areas and are also facilitating the spread of invasive species such as lantana (Lantana camara) and eupatorium (PA Update 2007, 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. 2007. Fires reported in April in Parambikulam WLS, Nelliampathy forests. June 13(3) 67:8-9

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

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