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Periyar National Park

                       
Periyar
is a protected area, and a Project Tiger Nature Reserve in the Suth Indian State of Kerala, set high in the mountains of the Western Ghats at the border to Tamil Naidu. It lies in the districts of Idukki and Pathanamthitta.

Geography


Area

305 km²

Elevation

100m to1,200 m

Climate — Precipitation

2000 and 3000 mm

Summer

3i °C

Winter

15 °C

Established

1982

The protected area covers an area of 777 km², out of which a 350 km² part of the core zone was made into the Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve, sometimes dubbed the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. The park is often called by the name thekkady also. The Periyar protected area lies in the middle of a mountainous area of the Cardamom hills. In the north and the east it is bounded by mountain ridges of over 1700 metres altitude and toward the west it expands into a 1200 Meter high plateau. the 100 Meter valley of the Pamba River. The highest peak is the 2019 Meter high. The sanctuary surrounds picturesque 26 km² Periyar lake.

Flora
Approximately 75% of the entire protected area are covered of unaffected evergreen or semi-evergreen rain forest. Scarcely 13% consists of damp leaves forest, 7% of Eucalyptus plantation and 1.5% of grassland. The remainder (around 3.5%) of the protected area is covered by the Periyar artificial lake as well as the Periyar River and Pamba river.
Altogether the reservation counts nearly 2000 kinds of flowering plants (Angiosperm), three kinds of seed plants (gymnosperms) and 170 different species of ferns. Among the Angiosperms, there are 169 families of sweet grass and 155 kinds of Fabaceaes. Orchids, with 145 representative types, are the most frequent flower.
About 350 of the occurring plant types can be used for medical purposes

Fauna

Mammals
Altogether 62 different kinds of mammals have been recorded in Periyar, including many threatened ones. There are an estimated 24 tigers in the reserve. Tourists also come here to view the Indian Elephants in the act of ablution and playfulness by the Periyar lake. The elephant number around 900 to 1000 individuals. Other mammals found here include gaur, sambhar (horse deer), barking deer, mouse deer, dholes (Indian wild dogs), mongoose, foxes and leopards. Also inhabiting the park, though rarely seen, are the elusive Ningiri tahar.
Four species of primates are found at Periyar - the rare lion-tailed macaque, the Nilgiri langoor, the common longoor, and the Bonnet Macaque
 

Birds
So far 320 different kinds have been counted in Periyar. The bird life includes darters, cormorants, kingfisher and Racket-tailed Drongos.
 
Reptiles

There are 45 different kinds of reptile in the protected area out of which there are 30 snakes, two turtles, and 13 lizards species. Among those are Monitor lizards that can be spotted basking in the sun on the rocks along the lake shore. Visitors who trek into the Periyar national park often see a Python and sometimes even a King Cobra.

Amphibians
Twenty seven different kinds have been recorded, of which ten are endemic to the Western Ghats.

Fish
In the waters of the protected area 38 different fish types live, of which four are endemic to the Western Ghats. In artificial lake there are two introduced species : the tilapia originally from Africa and the Carp introduced from Europe

Insects
There is a remarkable variety of butterflies and there are about 160 different kinds in total. Some are dangerous enough to make a human seriously ill.

Periyar Tiger Reserve

Periyar Tiger Reserve is one of the 27 Tiger Reserve in India.
Its a must to go for Jungle Track during your visit to the Periyar National Park. There are different kind of options available for the Jungle Track. One can undertrack the night patrol with the forest guard through the jungle and if you are not really that courageous there are options available for the short track of 4 hours starting in morning and afternoon.
During the track the flora and fauna can be experienced at close quarters and if one is lucky enough there are chances to sight the bigger animals of the cat family




History

1895 - Construction of the Mullaperiyar Dam
1899 - Formation of the Periyar Lake Reserve
1933 - S.C.H. Robinson made the first game warden
1934 - Formation of Nellikkampatty Game Sanctuary
1950 - Consolidation of Periyar as a Wildlife Sanctuary
1978 - Declaration of Periyar as a Tiger Reserve
1982 - Preliminary notification of the core area as a National Park National Park
1991 - Brought under Project Elephant Project Elephant
1996 - India Ecodevalopment Project launched
2001 - Reorganised as two Divisions: Periyar East and Periyar West