Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC

The Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area located in the state of Kerala, India. It is an integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve

The sanctuary is home to a wide range of species, including mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Animals like elephants, tigers, leopards, Indian bison (gaur), sambar deer, spotted deer, and langurs are commonly spotted here.

The landscape of the sanctuary varies from dense forests to grasslands, providing diverse habitats for the wildlife. The sanctuary is located in the Western Ghats, which is one of the world's most biologically diverse regions.

The sanctuary is also famous for the Edakkal Caves, which contain ancient rock engravings dating back thousands of years. These caves provide insights into the historical and cultural aspects of the region.

The Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary plays a crucial role in conserving the biodiversity of the Western Ghats. Efforts are made to protect endangered species and their habitats, as well as to raise awareness about the importance of conservation.

Table of Contents

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

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary Location

The Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Wayanad district of the state of Kerala, India. It is situated in the southwestern part of the country, in the Western Ghats mountain range. 

It is contiguous to the tiger reserves of Nagerhole and Bandipur of Karnataka and Mudumalai of Tamil Nadu. The sanctuary spans across a hilly terrain and covers parts of the Wayanad Plateau, making it an important conservation area in the Western Ghats region. 

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary Nearest Airport:

The nearest airport to the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is the Calicut International Airport, also known as Karipur Airport. It is located in Karipur, approximately 100 to 120 kilometers away from the sanctuary, depending on the route taken. The airport is well-connected to major cities in India and provides both domestic and limited international flights.

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary Nearest Railway Station:

As for the nearest railway station, the two main railway stations that are commonly used by visitors to reach the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary are:

(i) Kozhikode Railway Station (Calicut Railway Station): This is the major railway station closest to Wayanad, located in Kozhikode (Calicut), which is about 100 to 120 kilometers away from the sanctuary. From the railway station, you can take a taxi or use other modes of transportation to reach the sanctuary.

(ii) Mysore Railway Station: While not as close as Kozhikode, the Mysore Railway Station in Karnataka is also an option for reaching Wayanad. It's approximately 130 to 150 kilometers away from the sanctuary. From here, you can travel by road to Wayanad.

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary History

The history of the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is closely tied to the broader history of conservation efforts in the Western Ghats region of Kerala, India. Here's a brief overview of its history:

Pre-Independence Era: The region that now constitutes the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary has a history of tribal settlements and indigenous communities. The area was also historically used for hunting and other human activities.

Post-Independence Conservation Efforts: After India gained independence, there was an increasing awareness about the need for wildlife conservation due to the rapid loss of natural habitats and wildlife populations. The region's significance for biodiversity conservation was recognized, leading to the establishment of the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in 1973.

Establishment of Sanctuary: In 1973, the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary was established to protect the diverse flora and fauna of the Western Ghats. It was initially notified as a sanctuary to provide legal protection to the area's wildlife and their habitats.

Inclusion in Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve: The sanctuary is an integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, which is a UNESCO-designated area known for its high levels of biodiversity. The inclusion in the biosphere reserve further emphasized the importance of conserving the unique ecosystems of the Western Ghats.

Inclusion in Project Elephant: The conservation efforts for the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary received a significant boost in 1991–92 when the sanctuary was brought under the ambit of "Project Elephant." This initiative, launched by the Government of India, focuses on the protection and conservation of the country's elephant populations and their habitats.

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary Area

The Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary covers an area of approximately 344.44 square kilometers (133 square miles). It is the second largest one in the state of Kerala. The sanctuary is separated into two disconnected parts known as the North Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and South Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary. 

The sanctuary's diverse landscapes encompass dense forests, grasslands, and hilly terrain, providing a range of habitats for the region's diverse flora and fauna.

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary River

The Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is home to several rivers and water bodies that play a crucial role in shaping its ecosystems and supporting its diverse wildlife. Here's more information about the rivers within the sanctuary:

Kabini River:

One of the major rivers that flows through the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is the Kabini River. This river originates in the Wayanad district and flows through parts of Kerala and Karnataka. 

The Kabini River, originating in the Wayanad district of Kerala, traverses parts of Kerala and Karnataka before eventually joining the Cauvery River. Its presence within the sanctuary enhances the area's biodiversity and ecological importance. 

The river provides water for various purposes, sustains aquatic life, and creates valuable habitats for a range of flora and fauna.

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary Flora

The Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is known for its rich and diverse flora, which encompasses a variety of plant species that are adapted to the unique ecological conditions of the Western Ghats. Here's an overview of the flora found within the sanctuary:

(1) South Indian Moist Deciduous Forests:

These forests are characterized by trees that shed their leaves during the dry season. They include species such as Teak (Tectona grandis), Terminalia species, and Dalbergia latifolia.

(2) West Coast Semi-Evergreen Forests:

These forests retain a significant portion of their leaves throughout the year. They contribute to the sanctuary's diverse flora and include species like Anogeissus latifolia, Grewia tiliaefolia, and Adina cordifolia.

(3) Plantations of Teak, Eucalyptus, and Grevillea:

In addition to natural vegetation, the sanctuary also has areas where certain tree species have been planted. These plantations include Teak (Tectona grandis), Eucalyptus species, and Grevillea species.

(4) Key Tree Species:

  • Tectona grandis (Teak)
  • Terminalia sp.
  • Dalbergia latifolia
  • Anogeissus latifolia
  • Grewia tiliaefolia
  • Adina cordifolia
  • Cinnamomum zeylanicum (Cinnamon)

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary Fauna (Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary Animals)

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is famous for which animal?

The Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is renowned for its diverse and vibrant wildlife, which thrives within its diverse ecosystems. Here's an overview of some of the prominent species that can be found in the sanctuary:


  • Asian Elephant
  • Gaur
  • Tiger
  • Leopard
  • Sambar
  • Spotted Deer
  • Barking Deer
  • Four-horned Antelopes 
  • Wild Boar
  • Sloth Bear
  • Nilgiri Langur
  • Bonnet Macaque
  • Common Langur
  • Wild Dog
  • Common Otter
  • Malabar Giant Squirrel

Note- It is the only sanctuary of Kerala where sightings of four-horned antelopes have been reported.


  • Malabar Grey Hornbill
  • Great Indian Hornbill
  • Crested Serpent Eagle
  • Malabar Trogon
  • Peafowl
  • Woodpecker
  • Egyptian Vultures
  • Himalayan Griffon


  • King Cobra
  • Lizards
  • Skinks

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC Questions

Q. Where is Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary located?/Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in which state?

A. The Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the state of Kerala, India. Specifically, it is situated in the Wayanad district of Kerala. The sanctuary is nestled within the Western Ghats mountain range, making it an integral part of the region's biodiversity hotspot. It is a popular destination for wildlife enthusiasts, nature lovers, and tourists interested in experiencing the rich flora and fauna of the Western Ghats.

Q. When was Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary established?

A. The Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary was established in the year 1973. This protected area, located in the Wayanad district of Kerala, India, was designated with the aim of conserving the diverse flora and fauna of the Western Ghats region. Since its establishment, the sanctuary has played a vital role in safeguarding the unique ecosystems and wildlife of the area, contributing to biodiversity conservation efforts in the region

Q. Which river flows through Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary?

A. The Kabini River, a tributary of the Cauvery River, flows through the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary. The presence of the Kabini River adds to the ecological significance of the sanctuary by providing water resources, supporting aquatic life, and creating essential habitats for various species. The river's course through the sanctuary enhances the diversity of flora and fauna and contributes to the overall appeal of the area for both wildlife enthusiasts and eco-tourists.

Q. What are the threats to Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary?

A. The Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, like many protected areas, faces several threats that can impact its ecosystems and biodiversity. Some of the key threats to the sanctuary include:

(i) Habitat Loss and Fragmentation: Human activities such as agriculture, infrastructure development, and urbanization can lead to the loss and fragmentation of natural habitats within the sanctuary. This can disrupt wildlife movement, reduce available space for species, and increase human-wildlife conflicts.

(ii) Human-Wildlife Conflict: The proximity of local communities to the sanctuary can result in conflicts between wildlife and humans, particularly in cases where animals like elephants and wild boars damage crops or property. Such conflicts can lead to negative perceptions of wildlife and retaliation against them.

(iii) Poaching and Illegal Wildlife Trade: The sanctuary is home to several valuable and charismatic species, making it a potential target for poachers and illegal wildlife trade. Tigers, elephants, and other animals can be threatened by poaching for their body parts, skins, and other valuable commodities.

(iv) Invasive Species: The introduction of invasive plant and animal species can disrupt the native ecosystems within the sanctuary. Invasive species can outcompete native species for resources and alter the natural balance of the ecosystem.

(v) Climate Change: Changes in climate patterns can impact the sanctuary's ecosystems by altering temperature and rainfall patterns, affecting species' distribution and behavior, and leading to shifts in plant and animal communities.

(vi) Resource Extraction: Unsustainable resource extraction, such as logging and sand mining, can degrade habitats and disrupt natural processes within the sanctuary.

(vii) Lack of Funds and Resources: Limited financial resources and manpower for conservation efforts can hinder effective management and protection of the sanctuary.

Q. What is the climate of Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary?

A. The climate of the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is influenced by its location in the Western Ghats mountain range of Kerala, India. The sanctuary experiences a tropical climate with variations in temperature and precipitation throughout the year. Here's a general overview of the climate:

(1) Monsoon Season (June to September):

  • This is the rainy season, characterized by heavy and consistent rainfall.
  • The sanctuary receives a significant amount of precipitation during this period.
  • Rainfall is essential for maintaining the lush vegetation and water sources within the sanctuary.

(2) Post-Monsoon Season (October and November):

  • After the monsoon, the rainfall decreases, and the weather becomes relatively cooler.
  • The sanctuary starts to regain its greenery, and the surroundings are fresher and more vibrant.

(3) Winter Season (December to February):

  • The winter season in the sanctuary is mild and pleasant.
  • Temperatures are relatively lower compared to other times of the year.
  • This is a popular time for tourists to visit due to the comfortable weather.

(4) Pre-Monsoon Season (March to May):

  • As summer approaches, temperatures begin to rise.
  • The weather can be warm and humid during this period.
  • Vegetation might start to dry out, leading to a gradual transition to the monsoon season.

Q. What is Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary famous for?

A. The Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is famous for its rich biodiversity, diverse ecosystems, and the opportunity it provides for visitors to experience a variety of flora and fauna within the Western Ghats region. Here are some of the key reasons why the sanctuary is renowned:

(i) Biodiversity Hotspot: The sanctuary is located within the Western Ghats, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world's biodiversity hotspots. Its diverse habitats support a wide range of plant and animal species, many of which are endemic to the region.

(ii) Asian Elephants: The sanctuary is home to a significant population of Asian elephants. These gentle giants are a highlight for visitors and are a symbol of the sanctuary's conservation efforts.

(iii) Tiger and Leopard: While these big cats are elusive and sightings are rare, the presence of tigers and leopards adds to the sanctuary's appeal for wildlife enthusiasts.

(iv) Avian Diversity: The sanctuary is a haven for birdwatchers, with over 200 bird species recorded. The diverse range of habitats provides ample opportunities to spot various bird species, including endemics and migratory birds.

(v) Edakkal Caves: The sanctuary is famous for the ancient Edakkal Caves, which contain rock engravings that offer insights into the historical and cultural significance of the region.

(vi) Ecotourism: The sanctuary offers guided safaris, nature walks, and other ecotourism activities that allow visitors to experience the wildlife and natural beauty of the sanctuary while promoting responsible tourism.

(vii) Conservation Efforts: The sanctuary plays a vital role in conserving the Western Ghats' unique ecosystems and species. It's known for its conservation initiatives and efforts to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts.

(viii) Cultural and Historical Significance: In addition to its natural wonders, the sanctuary also has cultural and historical importance, with indigenous communities having lived in the region for centuries.

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary

No comments:

Post a Comment