One of Tamil Nadu's prized possessions is its assorted flora and varieties of wildlife. Elephants, tigers, bisons, monkeys and deer inhabit the lofty jungle-clad hills. As a natural corollary to this, some of the state's leading wildlife sanctuaries like the Madumalai and Annamalai (Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary) are situated on the hilly terrains.
Tamil Nadu is also spectacular breeding ground for variegated species of resident as well as migratory birds. The state houses cormorants, herons, storks, pelicans, grebes, darters and several other varieties of birds that are a real treat to behold. The Point Calimere Bird Sanctuary and the Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary are two such eminent bird reserves of the state.
Tamil Nadu also houses crocodile and fish farms, a sanctuary that is solely dedicated to squirrels as well as several arboreal species.
Brief Summary of Wildlife sanctuaries and National Parks in Tamil Nadu:
Indira Gandhi Wildlife sanctuary and National Park
The sanctuary is a picture of ecological bliss. Arboreal animals like lion tailed macaque, bonnet macaque, common languor, Nilgiris langur, Malabar giant squirrel and grizzled giant squirrel reside in bliss with the terrestrial beasts like tiger, panther, elephant, gaur, pangolin, sambar, spotted deer, barking deer, mouse deer, wild boar, dhole, sloth bear, porcupine, Nilgiris tahr, civet cat and taddy cat. The reserve is also a warm and inviting home to variegated species of birds like the racket tailed drongo, black headed oriole, paradise fly-catcher, whistling thrush, emerald dove, green pigeon, tickell's flower pecker, Rufus wood pecker, rose ringed parakeet, black eagle, great Indian Malabar pied hornbill, fiery blue bird and green billed malkhoha.
Mudumalai Wildlife sanctuary
The sanctuary is an ornithologist and birdwatcher's paradise with its abundant range of migratory and resident birds that include Peacock, Grey Jungle Fowl, Malabar Whistling Thrush, Large Racket-tailed Dronge, Shama, Magpie-robin, Spotted Babbler, Small Green Barbet, Green Pigeon, Little Brown Dove, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Bulbuls, Mynahs and the predatory Eagle, Hawk, Buzzard, Harrier, Falcon and Vulture.
Mukkurthi National Park
The park exhibits a rare natural beauty, which cannot be elucidated by mere words. Saffron sun beams playing upon luxuriant forests that are dotted with sylvan lakes, glittering like a mirage of quicksilver paint an accurate and pretty picture of the sanctuary's mind blowing scenery.
Kalakuddu Wildlife Sanctuary
It occupies an area of 223 sq. km and is situated in Tamil Nadu's Tirunelveli District and also includes the jungle-clad foothills of the Western Ghats and its adjacent areas. A rich and varied flora ranging from tropical wet and evergreen foliage to tropical dry deciduous vegetation made up of thorny scrubs marks the sanctuary's natural vegetation.
The sanctuary is a photographer's dream and worth an artist's pencil with some out-of the-world sceneries. Children have a frolicking time in the sanctuary's premises as they play with an indulgent dolphin or unearth a turtle basking in the sun as they build sandcastles.
As the name signifies Point Calimere Bird Sanctuary houses abundant species of birds dappled in vibrant hues. The winter months witness the steady influx of Teals, Curlews, Gulls, Terns, Plovers, Sandpipers, Shanks, and Herons and uncountable Flamingoes. With the commencement of spring, a whiff of freshness overwhelms the sanctuary and Koels, Mynas and Barbets cheerfully hum a merry tune as they bite into the raw sweetness of wild berries.
Srivilliputhur Grizzled Squirrel
It is located in Virudhunagar District, a mere 45 km from Virudhunagar Town. The reserve is conveniently sited 15 km away from Srivilliputhur Railway station and 100 km away from Madurai airport. The forest officials also take care of all tourists' requirements and provide them with comfortable and affordable accommodation either at the Forest Rest House at Mudungiar, Pudupatti, Mudaliaroothu or at the PWD Rest House at Srivilliputhur and also provides transportation.
Guindy National Park
Guindy National Park, a refuge for several wild species that roam about the place without a care in the world has a captivating charm. The wildlife sanctuary is home to several wild beasts among which elephant, antelope, spotted dear, jungle cat, toddy cat, Indian civet deserve mention. The harmonious chirps, cheerful shrieks and friendly twitters of variegated birds engulf the reserve's milieu. The varieties of birds include the black chested kite, black winged kite, honey buzzard and pariah kite to name a few. Scaly reptiles and amphibians also seek refuge with the park's boundaries.
Vallanadu Black Buck Sanctuary
Vallanadu Black Buck Sanctuary is located in Thoothukudi District, with Madurai Airport and Tirunelveli Railway station located at a distance of 165 km and 20 km, respectively. The sanctuary is also accessible by road. Tamil Nadu Government and forest officials are cordial hosts who cater to their guest's requirements and hence provide them with adequate transport as well as comfortable accommodation in the innumerable moderately priced hotels at Tirunelveli.
Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary
Strategically sited, a mere 75 km from the urban metropolis of Chennai, Vedanthangal Water Birds Sanctuary provides the much needed freshness to a raucous concrete jungle. The lush landscape quivering in the dancing breeze in the brass sky where a handful of dark specks wheeled round and round and narrated their own tale is a sight to behold.
Viralimalai Wildlife Sanctuary
This Wildlife Sanctuary is flooded with tourists during the period spanning from October to April. The majestic peacocks, resplendent in their imperial splendor form the pride of the place. The reserve gives refuge to several varieties of wild peacocks, each equally exotic. The Palawan Peacock Pheasant, strolling around the Murugan temple has an enchanting charm that captivates tourists.
Anna Zoological Park
Anna Zoological Park's claim to fame rests in the fact that it the largest menagerie in South East Asia. The zoological park was carved out of the Reserve Forest zones of Vandalur lying in the west of Chennai and is situated in the outer environs of the urban metropolis.
The zoo is highly accessible by rail, road and air and is frequent by tourists as well as local citizens of Chennai accompanied by their families during holidays and weekends. A colorful carnival greets visitors as they try to enter the zoo premises with hawkers and peddlers selling edible items, nuts for the monkey and chimps, fruits for the elephants, cps, balloons and paper flutes with a deafening sound, souvenirs with trivia about the zoo and its animals; children running all over the place, families picnicking, young lovers seeking out a solitary corner under the shade of a banyan tree as well as the maddening crowds near the animal enclosure.
Last Updated on : 05 April 2013