(Last Updated on : 24/11/2010)
Mundanthurai Tiger reserve was previously a wildlife sanctuary in the district of Tirunelveli which was developed as a National Tiger Reserve from the year 1988 with a total area of eight hundred and seventeen square kilometres in the south most western Ghat ranges.
The railway stations close to this tiger reserve are Cheranmahadevi and Ambasamudaram which are twenty kilometres and fifteen kilometers respectively from the district of Tirunelveli. The nearest airports to this tiger reserve in Tirunelveli are Trivandrum and Madurai
. Reaching the Mundanthurai tiger reserve is very easy by road from Ambasamudaram and Kalakad. There are frequent buses plying from Ambasamudaram and Kalakad to this spot. Out of the total eight hundred and seventeen square kilometres of area, four hundred and fifty nine square kilometres is in core zone and three hundred and fifty eight square kilometres is in the buffer zone.
The mountainous undulating to topography is the prominent feature which leads to the tropical dry deciduous forest on the lower slopes and tropical wet evergreen forests on the higher reaches. The climate experienced are dry humid and hot at plains and pleasant cold in the higher elevations. The reserve is the southernmost habitat of the tiger and a number of other predators like panthers, civets, jungle cats, dhole
, jackals and striped hyena can also be seen in this reserve.
India is the home of eighteen non-human primate species of which five primates occur in the Mundanthurai tiger reserve. These include lion-tailed macque, Nilgiri langur, common langur, slender loris and bonnet macaque. A number of other endangered species found here are Nilgiri tahr, Indian bison, sloth bear, Indian elephant, mouse deer, pangolin, Malabar giant squirrel, etc. Apart from these, one can also find at this reserve various other wild animals like sambar, spotted deer, wild boar, porcupine and mongooses. There are also reptiles and amphibians like king cobra, Russels, common krait, viper, monitor lizard, darkpit viper, garden lizard, crocodiles, tortoise and rare species of frogs. Regarding avifauna, there are more than eighty species of birds found in this region like egrets, jungle fowl, herons, spurfowl, quails, partridges, emerald dove, bee caters, minivets, sparrows, night jars, owls, kites, parakeets, paradise flay catchers, etc.
There are twenty four identified nature trails which are spread over the Mundanthurai tiger reserve and it gives a thrilling experience to the trekkers. This Tiger Reserve in the district of Tirunelveli of the Tamil Nadu state is open on all days starting from 6 A.M. in the morning to 6 P.M. in the evening throughout the year. However, the best season to visit the Mundanthurai tiger reserve in Tamil Nadu is from the months of September to January. There are Forest Rest Houses and dormitories at Mundanthurai and Thalayanai for the visiting tourists.