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Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary
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Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary lies in Kerala's Kollam district between the latitudes of 8o48'22.25"N and 8o58'6.06"N and the longitudes of 77o4'44.76"E and 77o15'49.32"E. It covers an area of 171 sq km and is contiguous with the 791 sq km Kalakkad-Mundunthurai Tiger Reserve on the Tamil Nadu side. The sanctuary was established in 1984 and lies on the western aspect of the Agasthyamalai-Ashambu hill range, with an altitudinal span of 92 m to the Alwarkurichi peak at 1,550 m. The topography is rugged, characterised by steep peaks and ravines. The annual average rainfall for this region is approximately 2,882 mm (Krishnaswamy et al. in prep). Shendurney valley and the catchments of the Kallada irrigation project on the Kallada river, upstream of the Parappar dam, fall within the boundaries of this protected area. The drainage comprises the major rivers Shendurney, Kazhuthuruthy and Kulathupuzha, which together join to form the Kallada river and major tributaries such as the Parappar, Uruliar, Pasmankandamthodu, Aruviar and Umayar (MoEF 2006).

The major vegetation types found here are-low elevation evergreen forests (Hopea rachophloea-Humboldtia facies of Dipterocarpus indicus-Dipterocarpus bourdilloni-Strombosia ceylanica type), medium elevation evergreen forests (Cullenia exarillata-Mesua ferrea-Palaquium ellipticum-Gluta travancorica type), Nageia wallichiana facies, ochlandra reeds, Myristica swamps, secondary moist deciduous forests (Lagerstroemia microcarpa-Tectona grandis-Dillenia pentagyna type) and rubber plantations (Ramesh et al. 1997). Shendurney is named after the highly localised endemic tree species Gluta travancorica, locally known as 'chenkurinji', typical to low elevation (<700 m) evergreen forests (MoEF 2006). At least 951 species of flowering plants in 118 families have been recorded here, including 309 Western Ghats endemic species. Additionally, at least 100 rare and threatened species of plants occur in the sanctuary, which is also the type locality of many plant species described from the region. Some of the common tree species in the area include-Gluta travancorica, Cullenia exarillata, Palaquium ellipticum, Mesua ferrea, Poeciloneuron indicum, Elaeocarpus tuberculatus, Terminalia paniculata, Pterocarpus marsupium, Mangifera indica, Vateria indica and Dipterocarpus indicus (MoEF 2006).

Shendurney has been designated as an Important Bird Area owing to the presence of three globally threatened species-the lesser kestrel (Falco naumanii), wood snipe (Gallinago nemoricola) and Nilgiri wood-pigeon (Columba elphinstonii), and the presence of 10 of the 16 bird species that are endemic to the Western Ghats. It also holds 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 245 species have been recorded here. Records of nesting colonies of river tern (Sterna aurantia) and small Indian pratincole (Glareola lacteal) have been made from this site. The sanctuary is also an important wintering site for long distance migrants such as the Tickell's leaf warbler (Phylloscopus affinis), large-billed leaf warbler (P. magnirostris), blue-headed rock thrush (Monticola cinclorhynchus) and rufous-tailed flycatcher (Muscicapa ruficauda) (Islam and Rahmani 2004).

Along with the other contiguous rainforest areas in the Agasthyamalai region, Shendurney forms one of the most important areas in the Western Ghats for the conservation of the endemic lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus). Other endemic mammals found here include Nilgiri langur (Trachypithecus johnii), slender loris (Loris lydekkerianus) and Malabar giant squirrel (Ratufa indica). Globally threatened landscape species such as the tiger (Panthera tigris) and Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) are also found here. At least 42 species of fishes, 22 species of amphibians, 36 species of reptiles, and 34 species of mammals have been recorded from the area (MoEF 2006). The sanctuary is also known for its endemic butterflies such as the southern birdwing (Troides minos), Malabar rose (Pachliopta pandiyana), Malabar tree nymph (Idea malabarica) and red Helen (Papilio helenus) (Islam and Rahmani 2004).

Shendurney has had some disturbance in the past due to selective logging and reed collection in the lower reaches, although the rainforests at the higher elevations have been relatively undisturbed (Nair 1991). The total area of the enclosures within the sanctuary is 5.8 sq km of estates belonging to Rosemala, Kallar and Rosewood estates. Besides this there are vested forests of 4.5 sq km and an irrigation lake of 13.72 sq km. Collection of minor forest produce is undertaken by the Girijan Co-operative Society, which is constituted by residents of nearby tribal settlements. There are no tribal settlements inside the sanctuary (MoEF 2006, Islam and Rahmani 2004).


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.)

MoEF. 2006. India's Tentative List of Natural Heritage Properties to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. UNESCO, Paris, France.

Nair, S. C. 1991. The southern Western Ghats: a biodiversity conservation plan. INTACH, New Delhi, India.

Ramesh, B.R., Franceschi, D. and Pascal, J.P. 1997. Forest map of South India: Thirvananthapuram-Tirunelveli. French Institute, Pondicherry, India.

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