Monday, August 28, 2023

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC

The Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Indian state of Kerala. It is a protected area established to conserve the region's unique flora and fauna. The sanctuary is part of the Western Ghats, a biodiversity hotspot recognized by UNESCO.

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the rain-shadow region of the Western Ghats. While most of Kerala receives generous rainfall from the south-west monsoon (June-October), Chinnar gets some showers only in November.

The sanctuary is known for its diverse range of plant and animal species.The sanctuary is also home to numerous species of birds, reptiles, and insects. It is the only rehabilitation centre for the Indian star tortoise in India.

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary encompasses a range of ecosystems, including dry deciduous forests, thorny scrublands, grasslands, and riparian habitats. The sanctuary's landscape is characterized by rocky terrains, hillocks, and valleys.

The sanctuary offers opportunities for eco-tourism and trekking. Visitors can explore the area's natural beauty, enjoy wildlife sightings, and experience the serene environment of the Western Ghats.

Table of Contents

  • Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary Location
  • Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary History
  • Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary Area
  • Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary River
  • Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary Tribe
  • Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary Flora
  • Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary Fauna
    • Mammals
    • Birds
    • Reptile
  • Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC Questions

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary Location

The Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Marayoor and Kanthalloor panchayats of Devikulam taluk in the Idukki district of Kerala, India. It is situated on the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats and shares its border with the state of Tamil Nadu. 

It is contiguous with Eravikulam National Park to the south. Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary is to the north and Kodaikanal Wildlife Sanctuary is to the east. 

The nearest town to Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is Marayur, which is about 18 kilometers away. The sanctuary is accessible from various locations in both Kerala and Tamil Nadu, making it a popular destination for nature enthusiasts, trekkers, and wildlife lovers.

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary Nearest Airport:

Coimbatore International Airport is the closest major airport to Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary. It is located in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, and is approximately 175 to 200 kilometers away from the sanctuary, depending on the route taken. The airport serves both domestic and limited international flights.

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary Nearest Railway Station:

Aluva Railway Station, also known as Alwaye Railway Station, is one of the nearest railway stations to Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary. It is situated in Aluva, Kerala, and is approximately 160 to 180 kilometers away from the sanctuary. From Aluva, you can take further road transportation to reach the sanctuary.

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary History

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary has a history rooted in the region's efforts to conserve its unique biodiversity and natural heritage. Here's a brief overview of the history of Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary:

Historical Background: Before its establishment as Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, the area was originally known as Chinnar Reserve Forest. It was a part of the Marayoor Range within the Munnar Forest Division.

Declaration as a Wildlife Sanctuary: Recognizing its ecological, faunal, floral, and geomorphological significance, the Chinnar Reserve Forest was officially declared as the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary in the year 1984. This step was taken to ensure the preservation and protection of the unique natural heritage present in the region.

Distinctive Features and Special Status: Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary holds a distinctive status among the sanctuaries of Kerala, primarily due to the presence of a thorn scrub jungle ecosystem. This unique ecosystem sets it apart from other sanctuaries in the state and contributes to the overall biodiversity of the region.

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary Area

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary covers an area of approximately 90 square kilometers. This protected area is situated in the Idukki district of Kerala, India, and extends into parts of the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu. 

The sanctuary's landscape is characterized by diverse ecosystems, including dry deciduous forests, thorny scrublands, grasslands, and riparian habitats, all of which contribute to its unique biodiversity.

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary River

The Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is blessed with two major perennial rivers, the Chinnar and Pambar rivers, which significantly contribute to the sanctuary's ecological balance and provide essential water resources for the diverse habitats and species within its boundaries.

(1) Chinnar River:

The Chinnar River originates near Kumarikal Malai and serves as a significant water source for the sanctuary. It plays a crucial role in shaping the northwest boundary of the sanctuary, following the interstate boundary for about 18 kilometers. 

As it progresses, the Chinnar River eventually transforms into the Amaravati River as it enters Tamil Nadu. This river's flow and presence are integral to the sanctuary's ecosystem and provide sustenance to the surrounding flora and fauna.

(2) Pambar River:

Originating in the Anaimudi Hills, the Pambar River is another major watercourse that graces the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary. This river is joined by seasonal rivulets and a number of perennial streams that emanate from the shola ecosystems in the upper reaches. 

As it journeys through the Turner's Valley in Eravikulam National Park, the Pambar River makes its way into the sanctuary. Its path winds through the Taliar Valley, situated between the villages of Kanthalloor and Marayoor, flowing eastwards through the sanctuary's expanse. 

The Pambar River ultimately merges with the Chinnar River at a location called Koottar. Notably, the Pambar River is home to the Thoovanam Waterfalls, a captivating cascade nestled within the sanctuary. This waterfall stands as a major attraction for tourists, drawing them to witness the serene beauty of the sanctuary's riverine landscapes.

A remarkable feature of these rivers is their unique direction of flow. Among the 44 rivers in Kerala, the Chinnar, Pambar, Kabani, and Bhavani are the only ones that flow in an eastward direction, further adding to the distinctiveness of the sanctuary's hydrological systems.

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary Tribe

The Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is home to 11 tribal settlements, each of which is clearly marked by temporary stone walls. These settlements are inhabited primarily by two tribal communities: the Muthuvas and the Pulayars. These communities have their own distinct cultures, practices, and ways of life that have evolved in harmony with the natural surroundings of the sanctuary.

The main livelihood activities of these tribal communities include cultivation of crops such as maize, ragi (finger millet), and lemongrass. These crops likely provide them with sustenance and materials for various purposes. 

Additionally, it's noted that the Muthuvas engage in small-scale cultivation of ganja (cannabis) for religious purposes. In some cultures, certain plants like ganja might hold spiritual significance and are used in rituals and ceremonies.

The presence of these tribal communities within the sanctuary underscores the deep connections between humans and the environment. The knowledge and practices of these communities often reflect their dependence on the natural resources for their well-being. 

Balancing conservation efforts with the rights and well-being of indigenous communities like the Muthuvas and Pulayars is an important consideration in managing protected areas like the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary.

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary Flora

The Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary boasts a diverse range of vegetation types that contribute to its ecological richness. The various vegetation zones within the sanctuary include:

(1) Southern Tropical Thorn Forest:

This type of forest is adapted to dry conditions and features plants with thorny adaptations to minimize water loss. It is well-suited to the arid environment of the region.

(2) Dry Deciduous Forest:

This type of forest is characterized by trees that shed their leaves during the dry season to conserve water. It's a common vegetation type in areas with distinct wet and dry seasons.

(3) Moist Deciduous Forest:

Unlike dry deciduous forests, moist deciduous forests experience a longer wet season. This type of forest typically contains a greater variety of plant species due to the more favorable moisture conditions.

(4) Riparian Forest:

Riparian zones are found along watercourses and rivers. These areas tend to have distinct plant communities that are adapted to the presence of water.

(5) Hill Shola Forest:

Shola forests are unique to the Western Ghats. They are montane forests found in the higher elevations and are characterized by stunted trees, thick undergrowth, and often misty conditions.

(6) Grassland:

Grasslands are open areas dominated by grasses and sometimes scattered shrubs or trees. They play an important role in providing habitat for various species and preventing soil erosion.

The dominant plant species in the sanctuary include:

  • Chloroxylum swietenia
  • Anogeissus latifolia
  • Strychnos potatoram
  • Ixora arborea
  • Acacia arabica
  • Acacia concinna
  • Prosopis juliflora
  • Santalum album (Sandalwood)
  • Terminalia arjuna
  • Tamarindus indica (Tamarind)
  • Pongamia glabra
  • Dalbergia latifolia
  • Tectona grandis (Teak)

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary Fauna (Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary Animals)

Which animal is famous in Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary?

The Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a wide variety of fauna, ranging from mammals to birds, reptiles, and more. This diversity of wildlife is a testament to the sanctuary's ecological significance and its role in conserving the biodiversity of the Western Ghats. 

Here are some notable species found in the sanctuary:


  • Asian Elephant
  • Leopard
  • Tiger 
  • Gaur
  • Spotted Deer
  • Sambar
  • Grizzled Giant Squirrel
  • Grey Langur
  • Lion-tailed Macaque 
  • Bonnet Macaque 
  • Wild Dog 
  • Wild Boar 
  • Indian Porcupine 
  • Blacknaped Hare


  • Yellow-throated Bulbul 
  • Nigiri Pipit 
  • Small Green-billed Malkoha 
  • Whitecheeked Barbet 
  • Crimson-throated Barbet


  • Starred Tortoise
  • Indian Rock Python
  • Monitor Lizard

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC Questions

Q. Where is Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary located?/In which state Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is located?/Which district is Chinnar in?

A. Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Idukki district of the Indian state of Kerala. It is situated in the Western Ghats mountain range, which runs along the western coast of India. The sanctuary shares its border with the state of Tamil Nadu and is located near the town of Marayur in Kerala. 

Q. When was Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary built?

A. Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary was established as a protected area to conserve its unique flora and fauna. It was officially declared a wildlife sanctuary in the year 1984. This designation was made under the provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, which is a key piece of legislation in India aimed at safeguarding the country's wildlife and natural habitats.

The establishment of Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary was a significant step towards preserving the biodiversity and ecological integrity of the region. Since its establishment, the sanctuary has played a vital role in conserving various species and habitats within the Western Ghats ecosystem.

Q. What is the other name of Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary?

A. Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary was formerly referred to as the "Chinnar Reserve Forest." This forested area was a component of the Marayoor Range within the Munnar Forest Division. 

Over time, due to its ecological, faunal, floral, and geomorphological significance, the area was designated as the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary in 1984 to protect and conserve its unique biodiversity and natural heritage.

Q. Which river flows through Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary?

A. Chinnar and Pambar rivers flows through Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary.

Q. What type of forest is Chinnar?

A. The Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary encompasses a variety of forest types due to its diverse range of habitats and ecosystems. The major forest types found within the sanctuary include:

  • Southern Tropical Thorn Forest
  • Dry Deciduous Forest
  • Moist Deciduous Forest
  • Hill Shola Forest

Q. What is the climate of Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary?

A. The Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary experiences a tropical climate due to its location in the Western Ghats of India. The climate can be categorized as a combination of tropical and subtropical characteristics. Here are some key features of the climate in the sanctuary:

1. Monsoons: Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary experiences two distinct monsoon seasons: the Southwest Monsoon (June to September) and the Northeast Monsoon (October to November). These monsoons bring significant rainfall to the region, contributing to the lush vegetation and water availability.

2. Dry Season: The sanctuary also experiences a dry season, which usually lasts from December to May. During this period, the region receives minimal rainfall, and the weather is relatively dry. This dry period is characteristic of the tropical climate and contributes to the presence of dry deciduous forests in the sanctuary.

3. Temperature: The temperatures in Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary remain relatively moderate throughout the year due to its elevation and proximity to the Western Ghats. However, temperatures can vary between day and night, with cooler nights especially during the dry season.

4. Humidity: Humidity levels are influenced by the monsoon seasons. During the monsoons, humidity is higher due to increased moisture in the air. The dry season sees lower humidity levels.

5. Biodiversity Impact: The combination of monsoon and dry seasons influences the vegetation types and supports the diverse flora and fauna found in the sanctuary. The varied habitats within the sanctuary, from moist deciduous forests to thorn scrublands, are adaptations to this seasonal climate.

6. Fog and Mist: Hill shola forests in higher elevations often experience fog and mist, creating a distinct atmospheric condition that contributes to the sanctuary's unique ecosystem.

Q. Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is famous for which animal?

A. Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is famous for Indian star tortoise. It is the only rehabilitation centre for the Indian star tortoise in India.

Q. What is Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary famous for?/What are the features of Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary?

A. Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is famous for several reasons, primarily related to its ecological significance, diverse biodiversity, and the conservation efforts undertaken within its boundaries. Here are some of the key reasons for which Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is renowned:

(i) Biodiversity Hotspot: The sanctuary is located in the Western Ghats, which is recognized as a global biodiversity hotspot. Chinnar's varied ecosystems support a wide range of plant and animal species, many of which are endemic to the region.

(ii) Endangered Species: Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is known for being a habitat for several endangered and vulnerable species.

(iii) Unique Flora and Fauna: Chinnar's diverse habitats, including dry deciduous forests, thorn scrublands, and hill shola forests, support a wide variety of plant and animal species. Its unique ecosystems contribute to its fame among ecologists and naturalists.

(iv) Eco-Tourism: The sanctuary offers opportunities for eco-tourism, allowing visitors to explore its natural beauty, observe wildlife, and engage in trekking. The Thoovanam Waterfalls, a major tourist attraction, adds to its popularity.

(v) Indigenous Communities: Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is also known for its indigenous communities, such as the Muthuvas and Pulayars, who have traditionally inhabited the area and have a unique connection to the land.

(vi) Thorn Scrub Jungle: The presence of the thorn scrub jungle ecosystem gives Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary a unique status compared to other sanctuaries in Kerala.

Overall, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary's blend of ecological importance, species conservation, and efforts to promote sustainable tourism makes it a renowned destination for nature lovers, researchers, and those interested in understanding and protecting India's rich biodiversity.

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

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