Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary

Country/territory: India

IBA criteria met: A1, A2 (2004)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 5,500 ha

Bombay Natural History Society
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2003 not assessed medium not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (2004 baseline)
The Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary, in the southeastern side of the Kannur District of Kerala, is a compact 55 sq. km area with rich floral and faunal diversity. The Sanctuary area lies between Aralam and Kottiyoor villages. The nearest railhead is at Tellicherry, about 70 km from the Sanctuary. The area is well connected by road from Tellicherry, Kannur, Wynaad and Veerajpetta (Menon 1999). Biogeographically, the Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Western Ghats. Though the Sanctuary is not included in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, it has all the characteristic important endemics of the Western Ghats (Menon 1999). The primary vegetation of this IBA is evergreen forest, but in the disturbed areas such as Valayanchal and Kurukkathodu, there are many deciduous trees, making the forest semi-evergreen (Sashi Kumar et al. 2000). Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is the only protected area of the West Coast Tropical Evergreen forest of Dipterocarpus-Mesua- Palaquium type (Nair 1991). Less than 25 sq. km of fairly undisturbed forest of this type is included in this Sanctuary. Paripputhodu (towards Uruppukunnu), Uruppukunnu, Kannadivechakunnu and the whole stretch of forest from Chavachi to Ambalappara are good representative of this forest type. Dipterocarpus, Calophyllum and Palaquiumn dominates in Uruppukunnu. On the upper regions of the Sanctuary, four different tree associations can be seen. On the upper reaches of Ambalappara, stunted evergreen forest with dominance of species of the Family Lauraceae. It is similar to shola grassland vegetation of the upper reaches of the Western Ghats. At mid elevations, wet evergreen of Calophyllum-Palaquiumn-Myristica is found.Further down, we find Dipterocarpus dominated forests. About 4.5 sq km is under teak, eucalyptus and cashew plantations, now without any forestry operations and therefore overgrown with secondary growth (Sashi Kumar et al. 2000).

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: Nearly 190 species of birds have been recorded (Sashi Kumar et al. 2000, Sashi Kumar and Palot 2002). One Red data book species Nilgiri Wood-Pigeon Columba elphinstonii, 12 restricted range species, and 18 species of Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 have been reported. Malabar Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros coronatus, a Near Threatened species, according to BirdLife International (2001), is observed in Paripputhodu region. Great Pied Hornbill Buceros bicornis and Malabar Grey Hornbill Ocyceros griseus are also found in the Sanctuary. Nesting of Malabar Grey Hornbill was recorded at Valayanchal (Sashi Kumar et al. 2000). A population of two Restricted Range (endemics) and Near Threatened: Black-and-Orange Flycatcher Ficedula nigrorufa and Grey-breasted Laughingthrush Garrulax jerdoni, is reported from the eastern highlands of the Ambalappara region in the Sanctuary. These endemic birds, along with the Black Bulbul Hypsipetes leucocephalus, Grey-headed Flycatcher Culicicapa ceylonensis, Oriental White-eye Zosterops palpebrosus and Tickell’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus affinis are regularly seen in the Ambalappara region. Black Baza Aviceda leuphotes, Rufous-bellied Eagle Hieraaetus kienerii, Ceylon Frogmouth Batrachostomus moniliger and Oriental Broad-billed Roller Eurystomus orientalis are other uncommon birds recorded from this IBA.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The Sanctuary is very well protected and conducive to the presence of animal populations. Most of the animals seen in the nearby Wynaad Wildlife Sanctuary are also sighted here. No census has been conducted in the Sanctuary and therefore a realistic figure regarding the animal population is not available, but the following mammals are commonly seen: Bonnet Macaque Macaca radiata, Lion-tailed Macaque Macaca silenus, Nilgiri Langur Trachypithecus johni, Slender Loris Loris lydekkerianus, Tiger Panthera tigris, Leopard Panthera pardus, Jungle Cat Felis chaus, Civets, Mongoose, Wild Dog Cuon alpinus, Elephant Elephas maximus and Gaur Bos gaurus. Thirty-three species of fish were recorded from this site (Shaji et al. 1995), including many endemics to the Western Ghats.

Key contributors: C. Sashi Kumar and Mohammed Jafar Palot.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 26/09/2023.