Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary

Country/territory: India

IBA Criteria met: A1, A2, A3 (2004)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 28,500 ha

Protection status:

Bombay Natural History Society
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2003 low not assessed not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary in the Palghat district of Kerala, came into existence in 1962 when an area of 69.8 sq. km of the Sungam Range of Nemmara Forest Division was declared as a Sanctuary. Parambikulam Range of the Division of Teak Plantation was added to this in 1973, and final notification was done in 1984. At present, the area is about 235 sq. km. The Parambikulam WLS is adjacent to Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary (IBA) in Tamil Nadu, Nelliampathy (=Nellyampathy) Reserve Forests (IBA) of Nemmara Forest Division to the northwest, and the Vazhachal and Sholayar ranges to the southwest and south respectively (Vijayan 1979). It is part of a large area of forest comprising Anamalai, Nelliampathi, Sholayar High ranges and Palani Hills. The area in general slopes towards the west, the highest peak being Karimala Gopuram (1,418 m) (triangulation station of the Survey of India), while the lowest area is 433 m above msl on the bank of Chalakudi. Inside the Sanctuary area, three dams of the Parambikulam Aliyar Project were constructed in 1960 for irrigation and power generation, and are still under the administrative control of the Tamil Nadu State Government. The vegetation comprises of a variety of natural and man-made habitats. The former includes patches of Evergreen and Semievergreen forest, Secondary Moist Deciduous forest, which is widely distributed, and grasslands and marshes. The original Moist Deciduous vegetation in the eastern parts has been almost entirely replaced by teak plantations (Anon. 1982). The marshes, or vayals, with their dense grass cover, are the result of poor drainage and the accumulation of clayey loam over a long period of time. Stands of Bamboo Bambusa sp. and reeds Ochlandra sp. occur in the natural forests. The best natural Teak Tectona grandis in Kerala was once found in this region but is now rare due to overexploitation. The major species occurring in the Evergreen and Moist Deciduous forests are listed in Balakrishnan and Easa (1986) and Vijayan (1979). There is thick growth of Lantana camara in clearings, and of Eupatorium sp. in teak plantations, particularly where the plantations have failed.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: R. Sugathan (pers. comm. 2001) is conducting long-term study on the birds of Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary. About 131 species of birds have been identified, including some threatened and restricted range species. 214 bird species recorded from Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary (Nameer 1994) including some of the globally threatened species. The site lies in the Western Ghats Endemic Bird Area (EBA) (Stattersfield et al. 1998). In this EBA, 16 species have been identified which have restricted range of less than 50,000 sq. km. Most of them are forest birds. Five of these restricted range species are known from this site. Probably more restricted range species are found as the forest cover is extensive, and this site adjoins other IBAs where these species are found. Based on the biome classification of BirdLife International (undated), this site should fall in Biome-10 (Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest). Out of the 15 species of this biomerestricted assemblage, eight have been found at Parambikulam till now. More are likely to occur as they are common in the Western Ghats. Detailed avifaunal investigation is required.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The Sanctuary harbours almost all representatives of the larger species of peninsular Indian mammals. Major carnivores include the Tiger Panthera tigris, Leopard P. pardus and Indian Wild Dog Cuon alpinus. Large herds of Asian Elephant Elephas maximus are often seen. Herbivores are represented by Gaur Bos gaurus, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Chital Axis axis and Muntjak Muntiacus muntjak. There are reports of Mouse Deer Moschiola meminna. All the four non-human primates found in Kerala are present in Parambikulam: Bonnet Macaque Macaca radiata, Lion-tailed Macaque M. silenus, Nilgiri Langur Trachypithecus johni and Common Langur T. entellus. Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus is quite common. Parambikulam is perhaps the best site to see large herds of Gaur in peninsular India. A small herd of 15-25 Nilgiri Tahr Hemitragus hylocrius is found on Vengoli- Pamban Malai (Balakrishnan and Easa 1986; Mishra and Johnsingh 1994).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 21/06/2019.