The Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park is the largest, and best preserved, sanctuary in Tamil Nadu and lies in the Western Ghats south of the Palghat Gap..
Covering an area of 958sqkms, the Anamalais elevations rise from foothills at 300ms to Topslip-Parambikulam Plateau at 800ms and to the Valparai Plateau, between 1000 and 1250ms – resulting in a wide variety of forest habitats, from dry thorn, through tropical montane wet temperate to wet evergreen.
The amazing diversity of topography, habitats, altitude, rainfall, climate and temperature supports an extensive variety, and richness, of flora and fauna including several rare, endemic and endangered species of plants and animals, with something to cater for all tastes – whether, tourist, trekker, anthropologist, birder or naturalist.
The sanctuary’s inhabitants include elephant, gaur, sambar, nilgiri tahr and wild boar; tiger, leopard, wild dog (dhole) and Indian cat. Primates include bonnet, and lion-tailed macaques, common, and nilgiri langur, and slender loris The list of other important animals is impressive – sloth bear, small Indian civet, toddy cat, Indian flying fox squirrel, Indfan giant squirrel, grey musk shrew, porcupine and pangolin – to name a few!
Over 300 species of bird have been sighted prominent amongst which is the great pied hornbill, and the rare frogmouth and red-winged crested cuckoo are also found here. Birds of prey abound – black, crested serpent, and spot-billed eagles, crested goshawk and others – as do flycatchers, shrikes, pigeons and swifts, along with numerous other species of interest – bee-eaters, Malabar trogon, flycatchers and fowl. The sanctuary also protects several rare, and endangered, species of reptile and amphibians – such as Travancore cane turtlr, Travancore tortoise, common Indian monitor, marsh crocodile and a host of snakes. Amongst the frogs are narrow mouthed, tree frogs – such as the Malabar gliding frog and the green tree frog.
Insects are represented by a wide variety of butterflies, moths, grasshoppers and mantis’. Floral diversity exceeds that of the animal kingdom, with over 2000 species, of which 400 are of medical importance, trees, orchids, ferns, grasses, palms and canes abound.
The year round moderate warm climate means the sanctuary is an attractive destination throughout the year, but the best time to visit is from December to April.
- Ideal for viewing: African elephant, sloth bear, tiger, wild boar, wild dog, Asian elephant
- Where: Tamil Nadu, India