Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary Travel

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Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary Kerala

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Location: in Idukki district in the Southern Ghats, Kerala
Area: 2,500 ha
Altitude: c. 1,000 m

Description of site: A large water storage reservoir formed by a dam on the Periyar river, constructed about 100 years ago. The reservoir receives inflow from numerous perennial creeks from the surrounding forests, and has a highly indented shoreline

Climatic conditions: Humid tropical monsoon climate, with an average annual rainfall of 3000 mm. Temperatures range from 18°C to 32°C Principal vegetation: No information is available on the aquatic vegetation. The surrounding hills are covered in tropical evergreen and deciduous forest interspersed with areas of grassland and Eucalyptus plantations

Conservation measures taken: The reservoir is protected in the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary (77,700 ha with a core area of 35,000 ha), established in 1933 and renotified in August 1950 with an added area. The Sanctuary was designated a Tiger Reserve under Project Tiger in 1978. Anti-poaching measures and management of the habitat have led to an appreciable increase in wildlife populations

Disturbances and threats: The surrounding forests are subject to heavy exploitation, and the grasslands are being replaced by plantations of Eucalyptus

Economic and social values: The lake and sanctuary attract over three lakh tourists a year, besides lakhs of pilgrims to the Ayappan Temple between November and January

Fauna: The reservoir supports 49 species of mammals, 246 of birds, 28 of reptiles, eight of amphibians, 22 of fish, and 112 of butterflies. The reservoir supports significant populations of Anhinga melanogaster and Ciconia episcopus, along with small numbers of many other species of waterfowl such as Phalacrocorax carba, P. niger, Ixobrychus sinensis, I. cinnamomeus, I flavicollis, Nycticorax nycticorax, Butorides striatus, Egretta garzetta, E. intermedia, Ardea cinerea, Rallidea, and shorebirds. The lesser adjutant stork (Leptoptilos javanicus) may still occur. The brown fish-owl (Ketupa zeylonensis) is resident in the area, and Pandion haliaetus is a regular winter visitor. The surrounding forests support a very diverse avifauna and a rich mammalian fauna, including Panthers tigris, Elephas maximus (300), Bos gaurus, Cervus unicolor, Sus scrofa, Melursus ursinus, and Cuon alpinus

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