A lot of people on this earth have a fascination for animals. While some are attracted towards domestic one, others prefer those who dwell in the rustic environs of the Indian jungles. Several wildlife prone areas in India have now been converted into protected areas for the conservation of endangered animal species and to put up a ban on the hunting habits of the people. A significant chunk of wildlife sanctuaries in India is occupied by the southern region making it a popular place for wildlife tours. So what are the names of famous animal sanctuaries in India ? Here they are.

Periyar Tiger Reserve

Established in 1985, Periyar National Park is a famous elephant and a tiger reserve in Kerala wherein a variety of animal species inhabit. Nestled amidst the Cardamom Hills and Pandalam Hills in the Western Ghats, the wildlife sanctuary boasts of 62 mammal species, 320 bird species, 45 reptiles and 165 butterflies. One of the most enchanting aspects of this wildlife sanctuary is Periyar Lake where tourists can enjoy bird watching via boat ride.

Bandipur National Park

Once the private hunting ground of the erstwhile maharaja of Mysore, Bandipur national park was converted into a tiger reserve way back in 1973. Spanned across an area of 874 square feet, Bandipur along with Nagarhole National Park, Mudumalai National Park and Wynad Wildlife Sanctuary forms Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, the largest protected area in South India. Apart from being an animal sanctuary, Bandipur is also famous for its timber tree variety such as teak, rosewood, sandalwood and clumping bamboo.

Eravikulam National Park

Located in proximity to the hill station of Munnar, in the Idukki district of Kerala, Eravikulam National Park is an ultimate destination for the wildlife enthusiasts. The park shelters the endangered Nilgiri Tahr and boasts of the largest population of this animal with an estimated number of 750. Besides Nilgiri Tahr, the park is home to 132 bird species, 19 amphibian species and 26 mammal species. Anamudi, the largest peak in the southern Himalayas is located within the park.

Nagarhole Wildlife Sanctuary

Also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park, Nagarhole Wildlife Sanctuary, located in proximity to Bandipur National Park, is a part of Nilgiri Biosphere. The park is under contemplation of UNESCO World Heritage Site Committee and is mainly visited for its large population of elephants. The area is shrouded with rich forest cover, small river streams, waterfalls, valleys and hills. Some commonly found animals in this sanctuary are tigers, leopard, Chital, striped hyena, mouse deer, sloth bear, sambhar and smooth-coated otters.

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

Set in the picturesque backwaters of Kumarakom, this bird sanctuary is an ornithologists heaven and a favorite jaunt for migratory birds. The breeding season of marshland birds such as darter, cormorant, kingfisher and white ibis is between June and August and in between the months of November and May, several migratory birds make Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary their transitory base. While cruising on the Vembanad Lake, you might be fortunate enough to glimpse rare bird species such as pin-tailed duck, spot-billed duck, marsh harrier, Garganey teal, osprey and steppe eagle.

The aforementioned list of national parks and animal sanctuaries in South India is quite hit with wildlife enthusiasts around the world. Other than having glimpses of fauna and avifauna species, one can enjoy the mesmerizing views of lush green hills and palm-fringed backwaters.

By pauline