Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary

Country/territory: India

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

Area: 5,300 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)
Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary is a part of the Agasthyamalai forests in Thiruvananthapuram district. It is bordered on the northeast by Kalakkad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve of Tamil Nadu, on the north by Palode Reserve Forest, south by Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary (IBA), and to the southwest by Agasthyavanam Biological Park. The topography is rugged, with flat meadows and gentle to steep slopes. The River Karamana, on which a dam has been constructed, resulting in a reservoir of 5.82 sq. km, drains the forest. The presence of a rock formation called ‘Para Appu’ is a remarkable feature of these hills. The Sanctuary is well known for its excellent scenic beauty, cool and luxuriant vegetation. It has West Coast Tropical Evergreen and Semi-evergreen, Southern Moist Deciduous, Southern Tropical Hill, and Southern Hilltop Evergreen Forests (Champion and Seth 1968). Reed brakes and Myristica swamps are also found. The West Coast Tropical Evergreen Forest is seen in comparatively small portions in Palode area. Trees are as tall at 30 m. The undergrowth is a mixture of canes, palms and ferns. Between 150 to 1,000 m, on the hilly slopes, West Coast Semi-evergreen Forest is seen, with Bamboo Bambusa arundinacea. The trees are covered with epiphytes and climbers. About 60% of the Sanctuary is covered with Southern Moist Mixed Deciduous Forest. Southern Hilltop Tropical Evergreen Forest is found above 1,000 m on top of the hills and sholas, exposed to heavy wind. Such forest can be seen in Manochola, Kovilthery, Athirumala and Chemmuji areas of this IBA. Peppara is one of the seven Medicinal Plant Conservation Areas in Kerala. “Arogyapacha” (Trichopus zeylanicus), a medical herb, is found in this Sanctuary in abundance.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: No work on the avifauna has been done in Peppara, except for a short bird watching trip in August 2003 by S. Susanth (pers. comm. 2003) during which he listed 40 species. Most of them are common. Malabar Grey Hornbill Ocyceros griseus was the only restricted range species. He also saw Malabar Trogon Harpactes fasciatus, which is one of the 15 species of the as biome-restricted assemblage of Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest (BirdLife International, undated). The globally threatened White-bellied Shortwing Brachypteryx major was seen at this site by Robin (2001). As we do not have sufficient information on the bird life, this site is being considered as Data Deficient.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Peppara has a rich variety of endemic and rare fauna, such as the Lion-tailed macaque Macaca silenus, Nilgiri Langur Trachypithecus johni, Nilgiri Tahr Hemitragus hylocrius and Nilgiri Marten Martes gwatkinsi (Christopher and Jayson 1996). The Nilgiri Marten is one of the rarest mustelids in the world. It is found only in the Western Ghats and during the last 100 years there have been only a dozen sightings (Ajith Kumar pers. comm. 2001).

Asian Elephant Elephas maximus, Gaur Bos gaurus, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Barking deer Muntiacus muntjak, Mouse deer Moschiola meminna, Sloth bear Melursus ursinus, Dhole or Wild Dog Cuon alpinus, and Indian Giant squirrel Ratufa indica, are other important terrestrial mammals of Peppara.

Key contributor: E. A. Jayson.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 27/09/2023.