(Last Updated on : 01/11/2014)
Kalakkadu Sanctuary is situated in the Tirunelveli district
of Tamil Nadu
on the foothills of Western Ghats and the adjoining area. The sanctuary looks very picturesque. It is notable Tiger reserve. The sanctuary holds great geographical value as it is a part of one of the world's 18 biodiversity hotspots. It was in 1988 that the area of the Kalakkadu Reserve was declared a Tiger sanctuary. Kalakkadu Sanctuary is 47km from Tirunelveli. It is spread over an area of 223 sq kms and is scattered from Papanasam hills to Kalkad. Kalakkadu Sanctuary has diverse mix of flat land, rolling parkland and open up grassland, swamps, valleys and Nullas. The forest types in the region can be classified as Southern hill top tropical evergreen forests, West Coast tropical evergreen forests, Southern moist mixed deciduous forests, Ochlandra reed forests, Carnatic umbrella thorn forests, Tropical Riparian Fringe Forests, Southern Euphorsia scrub, and Southern thorn scrub. Eco-development project was implemented in KMTR from 1994 to 2001 with assistance from World Bank. Improved forest protection resulting in improved tiger habitat (KMTR), better awareness of the need to have clean catchments watershed area resulting in improved flow into the Thambarabarani river, forest dependents acting as informants against poaching and being better prepared to handle forest fires are the major achievements of our eco-development works.
Geography of Kalakkadu Sanctuary
Kalakkadu Sanctuary is situated between latitudes 80 25' North to 80 53' North, between longitude 770 10' East and 770 35' East. It is located in the Southern Western Ghats. The sanctuary is also a part of the interstate Agasthiyarmalai Biosphere Reserve. The altitude ranges from 40m above MSL to 1800 m above MSL. The rainfall ranges from 750mm on the eastern outer slopes to 3500mm in the western higher reaches.
Flora of Kalakkadu Sanctuary
The sprawling wildlife sanctuary has diverse vegetation. Here the climate is dry and humid and hot at plains. In the higher elevations it is much colder. Annual rainfall occurring in the region ranges from 1000 mm to 4000mm. The Tirunelveli forest alone has more than 2000 recorded plant species. The forest type of this region ranges from tropical wet evergreen forests to tropical dry deciduous forests in the foothills. The lower regions have thorn forests. Tourists enjoy trekking in these wild surroundings. Important species include evolutionarily significant Sarcandra, a vessel less Angiosperm, Paphiopedulum, druryi, a rare orchid and Nageia wallichiana a broad leaved and only conifer tree of south India. Other important tree species include Hopea parviflora, Hopea utilis, Calophylum elatum, Cullenia exarillata, Xanthophyllum flavescens, Dysoxylm malabaricum, Anacolosa densiflora, Elaeodendron glacum, Eleocarpus tuberculatus, Alstonia scholaris, Mangifera indica, Wrightia tinctoria, Chloroxylon suietenia, Pterocarpus marsupium, Artocarpus hirsute, Syzygium sp., Cinnamomum zeylanicum, macaranga roxburghii, Mesua ferrea, Gluta travancorica, Canarium strictum, Veteria malabarica, Myristica species, Vitex altissima, Albizia lebeck, Tectona grandis, Ficus spp., Hardwickia binata, Terminalia chebula, etc
Fauna in Kalakkadu Sanctuary
Kalakkadu Sanctuary is rich in flora and fauna. The sanctuary houses several species like Elephant
, Gaur, Bonnet, Macaque, Common langur
, Tigers and Leopards, Chital, Dhole Panther, Sloth Bear, Python, Barking deer, Four Hourned Antelope, Otter, Crocodiles (mugger), giant flying squirrel, Sambhar, Hyena, Wild Canine, Wild Boar
, Mouse Deer
, Spotted Deer, Jackal, Hare, Porcupine, Mangoose, rusty spotted cat, wild dog, sloth bear, mouse deer, nilgiri langur, slender loris, bonnet macaque, Brown mongoose, Ruddy mongoose, Stripe-necked mangoose, Leopard cat, Jungle cat, Rusty-spotted cat, Leopard, Tiger, Asian elephant, Wild boar, Indian spotted chevrotain or mouse deer, Barking deer, Chital, Sambar, Gaur, Nilgiri tahr, Indian pangolin, Common palm squirrel, Dusky striped squirrel, Jungle striped squirrel, Indian giant squirrel, Indian giant flying squirrel, flying squirrel, lion tailed macaque, malabar giant squirrel, nilgiri martin, Indian pangolin, king cobra, monitor lizard, flying lizard, and many more. It also famous for a wide range of birds, amphibians and reptiles like cobra, common krait, russels, viper, monitor lizard, garden lizard, tortoise, crocodiles, and many other interesting creatures. The garden houses a variety of fishes like Aplocheilus lineatus, Bhavania australis (Homaloptera brucei), Gara lissorhynchus (Discognathus modestus), Cyprinus carpio communis, Labeo funbriatus, L.calbasu, Cirrhina mrigala, Catla catla, Puntius sarana sarana (Barbus sarana), Gonoproktopterus dubius (B.dubius), B.carnaticus, Tor khudree (B.malabaricus), Puntius amphibius (B.amphibius), Puntius arulius (B.arulius), Puntius filamentosus etc.
There are many birds found in this sanctuary like peacock, grey jungle fowl, big racket tailed dronge, the shama, the magpie robin, spotted babbler, modest green barbet, greemn pigeons, small brown dove, malabar grey hornbill, Gray Junglefowl, bulbuls, spotted babbler, mynahs, Greater Flameback, Brown-headed Barbet Crimson-fronted Barbet, Coppersmith Barbet, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Great Hornbill, Common Hoopoe, Malabar Trogon, Indian Roller, Common Kingfisher, Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Stork-billed Kingfisher,White-throated Kingfisher, Black-capped Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, Green Bee-eater, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Pied Cuckoo, Chestnut-winged Cuckoo Large Hawk Cuckoo, Indian Cuckoo, Lesser Cuckoo, Grey-bellied Cuckoo, Drongo Cuckoo, Asian Koel, Blue-faced Malkoha, Sirkeer Malkoha, Greater Coucal, Vernal Hanging Parrot, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Plum-headed Parakeet, Malabar Parakeet, Indian Swiftlet, White-rumped Needletail, Asian Palm Swift, House Swift, Fork-tailed Swift, Alpine Swift, Crested Treeswift, Oriental Bay Owl, Oriental Scops Owl, Eurasian Eagle Owl, Spot-bellied Eagle Owl, Brown Fish Owl, Brown Wood Owl, Jungle Owlet, Spotted Owlet, Brown Hawk Owl, Sri Lanka Frogmouth, Grey Nightjar, Large-tailed Nightjar, Indian Nightjar, Rock Pigeon, and so on. Amongst birds of prey, eagles, hawks, buzzards, harriers, falcons and king vulture are predominant, berdies some migratory water birds.
The best time to visit this beautiful wildlife sanctuary is from September to March. During this time the weather is pleasant and conducive for an adventurous wildlife trip. Kalakkadu Sanctuary is well connected with all modes of transport. The nearest Railway Station is Cheranmadevi
located at a distance of 20 km from here. The Ambasamudram
railway station is at a distance of 15 km from Tirunelveli. Tirunelveli
is well connected to Ambasamudaram and Kalakad and frequent buses are plying on this route. Madurai Airport is located at a distance of 200 km, while Thiruvananthapuram
's international airport is at a distance of 140 km.