Sunday, August 27, 2023

Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary

Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC

The Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the northern part of Kerala, India. It is situated in the Western Ghats, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its rich biodiversity. 

The sanctuary is home to a wide variety of plant and animal species, including several endemic and rare species. It is characterized by its evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, which provide habitat for numerous species.

Aralam is home to a range of wildlife, including elephants, tigers, leopards, Malabar giant squirrels, barking deer, and various bird species. The sanctuary is also known for its herpetofauna (reptiles and amphibians), including species like the Malabar pit viper.

The sanctuary is known for its butterfly diversity and the butterfly migration that can be witnessed here in December. 

Aralam village itself houses the famous Central State Farm, a government of India initiative built in 1971. This is one of the main production centres of hybrid coconut seeds in the country.

The main objective of the Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is to conserve the natural ecosystems and biodiversity of the Western Ghats. It serves as a protected area for several endangered species and contributes to the overall conservation efforts in the region.

Table of Contents

  • Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary Location
  • Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary History
  • Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary Area
  • Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary Hills
  • Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary River
  • Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary Flora
  • Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary Fauna
    • Mammals
    • Birds
    • Reptile
    • Amphibians
  • Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC Questions

Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary Location

The Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Kannur district of Kerala, India. It is situated northern part of the Kerala. The Sanctuary area lies between Aralam and Kottiyoor villages.

Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary Nearest Airport:

The nearest airport to Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is the Kannur International Airport (CNN), located in Mattannur, Kerala. The airport is approximately 50 to 60 kilometers away from the sanctuary, and it serves as the closest major airport for travelers arriving by air.

Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary Nearest Railway Station:

The nearest railway station to Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is Kannur Railway Station. It is well-connected to various cities and towns across India through the Indian Railways network. The distance between Kannur Railway Station and Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is around 45 to 55 kilometers, and you can continue your journey to the sanctuary from the railway station by road.

Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary History

What is the history of Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary?

The Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary has a relatively short but significant history in terms of its establishment and conservation efforts.

Establishment: The Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary was officially established in 1984. The sanctuary was created with the primary objective of conserving the diverse flora and fauna of the Western Ghats region. The Western Ghats is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a hotspot of biodiversity, making it crucial to protect its ecosystems.

Conservation Focus: From its inception, the sanctuary's focus has been on the preservation of the natural habitats and species found within its boundaries. This includes safeguarding the various types of forests, wetlands, and wildlife.

Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary Area

The Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary covers an area of approximately 55 square kilometers. This protected area is situated in the northern part of the Western Ghats in Kerala, India. The sanctuary's relatively compact size is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including various species of plants, mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. 

The sanctuary's modest area contributes to its accessibility and makes it a viable location for conservation efforts, research, and ecotourism activities.

Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary Hills

The Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the hilly terrain of the Western Ghats in Kerala, India. As a result, the sanctuary is characterized by its undulating and hilly landscape. The hills within the sanctuary contribute to the diverse ecosystems found in the region, including evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, grasslands, and wetlands.

The sanctuary's hilly terrain offers a variety of habitats for different plant and animal species, and it contributes to the overall biodiversity of the area. The elevation changes within the hills provide a range of microhabitats that support a rich array of flora and fauna, making the Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary an important area for conservation and ecological study. 

Note- A visit to the sanctuary is incomplete without visiting the great Katti Betta, the tallest peak in the area, which is 1145m high.

Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary River

Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary forms the catchments for two significant rivers, the Cheenkanni River and the Urutty River, which eventually flow down to join the Valapattanam River.

(1) Cheenkanni River:

The catchment areas within the Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary contribute to the flow of the Cheenkanni River. These tributaries provide the Cheenkanni River with a source of freshwater and contribute to its overall flow. The river's journey through the sanctuary and surrounding areas offer unique opportunities for wildlife observation and appreciating the natural beauty of the region.

(2) Urutty River:

Similar to the Cheenkanni River, the Urutty River benefits from the catchment areas within the sanctuary. The lush vegetation and water sources within the sanctuary support the flow of the Urutty River. This river, along with its tributaries, also be essential for the ecosystem and biodiversity of the Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary.

(3) Valapattanam River:

Both the Cheenkanni and Urutty Rivers eventually join the Valapattanam River. The Valapattanam River is a significant watercourse in the region, and the combined flow of these tributaries contributes to its volume. The Valapattanam River then continues its journey through the landscape, likely impacting the surrounding environment and supporting various communities along its course.

Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary Flora

The Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary showcases a remarkable array of flora, representing diverse ecosystems such as West Coast tropical evergreen forests, West Coast semievergreen forests, South Indian moist deciduous forests, Southern hilltop evergreen forests, and even plantations. These varying habitats contribute to the sanctuary's rich plant life, with species that have adapted to different elevations and ecological niches.

Among the intriguing species found within the sanctuary are:

Artocarpus heterophyllus (Jackfruit): This tree, known for its large and delicious fruit, contributes to the canopy of the tropical evergreen forests.

Bischofia javanica (Bischofia Tree): Found in semievergreen forests, this tree is recognizable by its distinctive leaves and is valued for its timber.

Calophyllum elatum (Maramanjal): A characteristic tree of moist deciduous forests, its seeds yield oil with medicinal properties.

Canarium strictum (Black Dammar): This tree, also in moist deciduous forests, produces a resin known for its traditional and industrial uses.

Cullenia exarillata (Cullenia): A prominent species in South Indian moist deciduous forests, it contributes to the diverse plant communities of the region.

Dipterocarpus Sp. (Dipterocarps): These trees, which belong to the Dipterocarpaceae family, are known for their ecological importance in tropical forests.

Drypetes elata (Ailanthus Tree): With its distinct leaf arrangement, it adds to the species richness of the sanctuary's diverse forests.

Dysoxylum malabaricum (White Cedar): A valuable tree species found in evergreen and moist deciduous forests.

Elaeocarpus tuberculatus (Tuberculate Olive): With its olive-like fruits, it contributes to the overall plant diversity of the sanctuary.

Holigarna arnottiana (Kattadi): This tree species, which is indigenous to the region, thrives within the sanctuary's various forest types.

Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary Fauna (Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary Animals)

What animals are protected in Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary?

The Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a diverse array of fauna, ranging from small insects to larger mammals and avian species. Its varied habitats, including evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, grasslands, and wetlands, create an ideal environment for a wide range of animals to thrive. 

Here are some of the notable examples of fauna found within the sanctuary:


  • Tiger
  • Leopard
  • Asian Elephant
  • Gaur
  • Sambar
  • Spotted Deer
  • Barking Deer
  • Wild Boar
  • Sloth Bear
  • Nilgiri Langur
  • Bonnet Macaque 
  • Lion-tailed Macaque 
  • Slender Loris 
  • Jungle Cat 
  • Civets
  • Mongoose
  • Wild Dog


What birds are in Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary?

  • Nilgiri Wood-Pigeon 
  • Malabar Pied Hornbill 
  • Great Pied Hornbill 
  • Malabar Grey Hornbill 
  • Malabar Grey Hornbill 
  • Black-and-Orange Flycatcher 
  • Grey-breasted Laughingthrush 
  • Black Bulbul 
  • Grey-headed Flycatcher 
  • Oriental White-eye 
  • Tickell’s Leaf Warbler  
  • Black Baza 
  • Rufous-bellied Eagle 
  • Ceylon Frogmouth 
  • Oriental Broad-billed Roller 


  • Malabar Pit Viper
  • King Cobra 


  • Malabar Gliding Frog

Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC Questions

Q. Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary which district?/In which state is Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary?

A. The Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the state of Kerala, India. Specifically, it is situated in the Kannur district of Kerala. The sanctuary is nestled in the northern part of the state, near the border with the state of Karnataka. It  is part of the Western Ghats.

Q. Which river flows through Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary?

A. Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary forms the catchments feeding Cheenkanni River and Urutty, which meander their way down to join Valapattanam River.

Q. What is Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary famous for?

A. The Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is famous for its rich biodiversity and its role in conserving the diverse flora and fauna of the Western Ghats region. It is known for several notable aspects:

(i) Biodiversity Hotspot: The sanctuary is situated in the Western Ghats, which is recognized as one of the world's biodiversity hotspots. Aralam's diverse ecosystems contribute to the preservation of this unique and fragile ecological region.

(ii) Varied Habitats: The sanctuary encompasses various habitats, including evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, grasslands, and wetlands. This diversity of habitats supports a wide range of plant and animal species.

(iii) Endemic Species: The Western Ghats is known for its many endemic species—species found nowhere else on Earth. Aralam provides a habitat for several of these unique and rare species.

(iv) Elephant Population: Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is famous for its population of Asian elephants. These gentle giants are an important part of the sanctuary's ecosystem and are a symbol of its conservation efforts.

(v) Tiger and Leopard Habitat: The sanctuary is believed to provide habitat for tigers and leopards, making it an important area for the conservation of these big cat species.

(vi) Bird Diversity: The sanctuary is home to a wide variety of bird species, including both resident and migratory birds. Birdwatchers are drawn to the sanctuary to observe its avian diversity.

Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary

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