(Last Updated on : 08/10/2010)
The Indian state of Kerala is always considered to be one of the south Indian states that are home to a rich and diverse variety of wildlife. The state has a number of eco parks that are working with a view to preserve this great collection of Indian wildlife. The Kerala eco parks have earned recognition and reputation all over the country, as well. Most of these eco parks are being run and managed by the private organisations and the State Government of Kerala is also providing them necessary assistance from time to time. The Kerala eco parks are actually providing natural habitat to several reptile, mammal, bird and flora species.
The Kerala eco parks are situated in the major cities of the state and they include the national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, bird sanctuaries, etc. Some of the Kerala eco parks that have earned significant recognition and reputation all over India and also in the world include the Eravikulam National Park, the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, the Periyar Tiger Reserve, the Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary, etc. While the Eravikulam National Park and the Periyar Tiger Reserve provide habitat to all kinds of flora and fauna species, the other two parks mainly concentrate in preserving the rich variety of bird species found in Kerala.
The Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is another eco park in Kerala that are providing necessary habitat to the flora and fauna species. Apart from these eco parks, there are also the beaches, hill stations, and eco resorts in Kerala that are contributing to the preservation of wildlife in Kerala.
The initiative to preserve the wildlife in Kerala and to establish eco parks for serving the purpose, started during the first half of the twentieth century. Founded during the 1930s, the Periyar Tiger Reserve is considered to be one of the oldest eco parks in Kerala. The Kerala eco parks cover a significant portion of the state and they mainly provide natural shelter to numerous endangered, critically endangered, threatened and endemic flora and fauna species. A number of rare species of wild animals and birds can be found in these eco parks. The important mammal species found in the Kerala eco parks include the Tiger, Asian Elephant, Leopard, Wild Dog (Dhole), Gaur (Indian Bison), Nilgiri Langur, Lion-Tailed Macaque, Sambar, Barking Deer, Small Indian Civet, Striped-Necked Mongoose, Indian Giant Squirrel, Large Brown Flying Squirrel, Slender Loris, Common Otter, etc.
The Kerala eco parks are also home to a large number of bird species including both resident and migratory birds. The most notable birds species found in the Kerala eco parks include the Grey Junglefowl, Painted Bush Quail, Red Spurfowl, Great-Eared Nightjar, Sri Lanka Frogrnouth, Great Hornbill, Malabar Pied Hornbill, White-Bellied Woodpecker, Malabar Parakeet, Dollarbird, Malabar Trogon, White-Bellied Treepie, Chestnut-Headed Bee-Eater, Wynaad Laughingthrush, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Rufous-bellied Eagle, Crested Goshawk, Black Baza, Besra, Brown Fish Owl, Brown Hawk Owl, etc. There are some important reptile species found in the parks as well and they include the Crocodiles, Snakes, Turtles, Tortoise, etc.
The Kerala eco parks provide a great chance for the visitors to watch the other inhabitants of the earth that are leading their lives diametrically different from the human beings. The tourists can enjoy the incredible beauty of nature and spend some peaceful time on the lap of nature in these eco parks. The managements of the eco parks have also arranged for many facilities like accommodation, riding or boating etc, for the tourists. As a result, the Kerala eco parks attract a large number of tourists from all over the world every year and contribute to the Tourism sector of the state.