Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary

Year of compilation: 2004

Site description
The Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary, situated east of the Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, is of considerable ecological importance. It forms a continuous stretch of natural forests with Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary. It is one of the westernmost segments of the proposed Anamalai-Anamudi Conservation Unit, which starts from Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary in the east and stretches up to Peechi Wildlife Sanctuary as a continuous belt. The landform of the Sanctuary has an extremely varying topography. The territorial boundary of the Sanctuary roughly coincides with the watershed of the Chimmony river (Menon 1997). The innumerable channels of the river had carved the entire landscape into such a diverse topography that it is unique to this region. The climate is fairly equable in the Sanctuary. The dry season extends from December to April and the wet season from May to November. The hottest months are March, April and May. The bulk of the annual rainfall comes from the southwest monsoon. The tract receives an average rainfall of about 2,980 mm annually. Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary consists of West Coast Tropical Wet Evergreen Forests, West Coast Semi-evergreen Forests, Moist Deciduous Forests and teak plantation nearly 35 years old (Champion and Seth 1968, Jayson 1999). The Evergreen forest is composed of Palaquium ellipticum, Calophyllum tomentosum, Cullenia exarillata, Dipterocarpus indicus, Artocarpus hirsuta, Bombax ceiba and Syzygium cumini. Lower canopy consists of species such as Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Mallotus phillipensis and Zanthoxylum flavescens. Calamus travancoricus, Ixora sp. and Laportea crenulata are seen in the undergrowth. According to Jayson (1999), most of the area of the Sanctuary consists of Moist Deciduous Forest, which merges with Semi-evergreen at higher elevations.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: A total of 160 species of birds has been recorded in a survey conducted by the Nature Education Society, Trichur, (NEST) in collaboration with the Kerala Forest Research Institute (Nameer 1992). Although no globally threatened species was recorded, five Restricted Range or endemic species were identified. The site lies in the Western Ghats Endemic Bird Area (Stattersfield et al. 1998), one of the biodiversity hotspots of the world. BirdLife International (undated) has identified 15 species which represents biome assemblages of the Western Ghats. This site comes under Biome-10 (Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest). Based on the checklist prepared by NEST (Nameer 1992), nine of these biome species are found at this site. Once more detailed research is conducted, more species of this biome are likely to be found here.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Out of the 47 large mammals reported from Kerala, 22 are found in Chimmony (Jayson 1997). Rare, endemic and endangered species include Nilgiri Langur Trachypithecus johni, Lion tailed Macaque Macaca silenus, Slender Loris Loris lydekkerianus, Leopard Cat Prionailurus bengalensis, Wild Dog Cuon alpinus, Indian Giant Squirrel Ratufa indica, Asian Elephant Elephas maximus, Gaur Bos gaurus, Mouse Deer Moschiola meminna and Tiger Panthera tigris.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
MAIN THREATS: Grazing; Collection of firewood.

The boundaries of the Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary were drawn on the basis of physical barriers and ecological continuity was not considered. Extensive Evergreen and Semi-evergreen forests around the Sanctuary which harbour several endangered species, do not come within the limits of any protected area (O. P. Kaler, Wildlife Warden, 2001, pers. comm.). Beyond the eastern boundary of Chimmony lie large tracts of evergreen forests of Parambikulam. To the south and southwest are the evergreen forests of Vazhachal and Chalakudy Forest Division. These areas have to be included in the Anamalai- Anamudi Conservation Unit, thus joining Chinnar and Indira Gandhi Wildlife sanctuaries in the east to Peechi Wildlife Sanctuary in the west. Fortunately, Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary is free from human habitation, except for the former Kallichitra tribal settlement. This settlement was relocated when Chimmony reservoir was filled up. However, the tribals are not happy in their new settlement and want more land and compensation. There is no cultivation inside the Sanctuary and the pressure of cattle grazing is also low.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 26/10/2020.