Kerala has about 30% of its land cover accounted for by forests. The jungles of Kerala are famous for the elephants and tigers besides other animals like sambar deer and wild buffalos. Periyar Wild Life Sanctuary, Parambikulam Wild Life Sanctuary, Eravikulam National Park are the major wild life centres. Kumarakom, Thattekkad, Myladumpara are the main bird watching centres. The major tourist activities that can be undertaken in the wild life parks are wild life tours, Elephant rides, stay at jungle lodges/ tree houses, fishing camps etc. Guides are available in the Periyar wild life sanctuary for treks in the forest. The Parambikulam forest authorities organize wild life tours in the park.
Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary
This sanctuary extends over the Thodupuzha and Udumpanchola taluks of Idukki district, spreading over 77sq.km and is about 450-748m above sea level. Main attractions in this sanctuary are animals like elephant, bison, sambar deer, wild dog, jungle cat, tiger, wild boar etc. snakes like Cobra, Viper, Krait and a number of non poisonous snakes. And birds like Jungle fowl, myna, laughing thrush, black bulbul, peafowl, woodpecker, kingfisher etc.
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
One of the most splendid natural wildlife sanctuaries, Thekkady is noted for its geomorphology, wildlife and beautiful landscape. It spread across 777 sq.km, of which 360 sq.km is thick evergreen forest. . Thekkady is 4 km from Kumily. The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary offers a fairly good chance of seeing the great Indian tiger in its natural habitat. This Sanctuary was declared a Tiger reserve in 1978.Noted for its geomorphology, diversity of wildlife and scenic beauty, the reserve attracts visitors from all over the world.
The splendid artificial lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar River adds to the charm of the park. This is the only sanctuary in India where you can have the unique experience of viewing wildlife at close quarters from the safety of a boat on the lake. The greatest attractions of Periyar, however, are the herds of wild elephant that come down to play in the lake.
Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary
This sanctuary is on the way to Ponmudi 50 kms from Thiruvananthapuram, a small detour from Vithurai. The possible wild life sightings are elephants, sambar deer, leopards and lion tailed macaque.
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
This sanctuary is further on the Munnar-Udmalpet road. This road cuts through the sanctuary. The best time for animal sightings is in the evenings and early mornings. Common wild life sightings are Elephants and Gaur besides some rare birds. There are watch towers erected in the forests, with permission from the authorities one can use it to spend a night watching wild life.
This is one of the best wild life sanctuaries in Kerala. The entry to the park is in Tamilnadu via Pollachi. The common wild life sightings in the sanctuary are elephant, bison, sambar deer, spotted deer, jungle cat, lion tailed macaque, tiger, panther and lot of other winged animals. The parambikulam sanctuary is adjacent the Anamala sanctuary in Tamil Nadu. This sanctuary has better tourist facilities.
Wayanad wildlife sanctuary
Established in 1973, the wayanad wildlife sanctuary is contiguous to the protected area network of Nagarhole and Bandipur of Karnataka on the northeast and Mudumalai of Tamil Nadu on the southeast. Rich in bio-diversity, the sanctuary is an integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, which has been established with the specific objective of conserving the biological heritage of the region. The sanctuary is very rich in flora and fauna.
Peechi Wildlife Sanctuary
Peechi Wildlife Sanctuary, established in 1958 has got 125 Sq.Km area and Peechy is only 15 Km from Thrissur. The Peechi-Vazhani Sanctuary has dense, moist deciduous and semi-evergreen forests and is located in the catchments area of the Peechi and Vazhani dams. With more than 50 species of orchids and medicinal plants, the sanctuary is a veritable treasure for rare flora and fauna. The place is congenial for boating and trekking. The natural habitat at Peechi-Vazhani Sanctuary is frequented by Tigers, Leopards and Wild Dogs, besides the Sambar and the Spotted and Barking deer.
Tholpetty wildlife Sanctuary
Tholpetty wildlife sanctuary is situated 29km northest of Mananthavady, Wayanad district. This sanctuary has a wide variety of animals.
Kadalundi Bird sanutuary
Kadalundi bird sanctuary, 19 km from Kozhikode is home to more than a hundred varieties of native birds and over 60 species of migratory birds flock here in large numbers. This sanctuary is spread over a cluster of islands in a scenic area surrounded by hillocks where the Kadalundipuzha River flows into the Arabian Sea. A hillock, which is 200 m above sea level, provides a splendid view of the river mouth and the sea. The place is also known for wide variety of fish, mussels and crabs. Birds like Terns, Gulls, Herons, Sandpipers, Whimbrels, and other migratory birds flock the place from the month of November and return only by the end of April.
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
Located on the banks of the Vembanad Lake, the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, an ornithologist's paradise, is a favourite haunt of migratory birds like the Siberian stork, egret, darter heron and teal. Other common varieties like the woodpecker, skylark, crane, water hen and parrots can also be spotted here. A cruise along the Vembanad Lake is the best way to experience the sanctuary. Pathiramanal, an enchanting island on the lake, can be accessed by boat from here.
The 89.52 sq km national park is believed to be the sole surviving bit of evergreen forests in the Sahya Ranges. The peculiarity of the Silent Valley forest is that it is devoid even of the chirping of cicadas. Vehicular transport is possible only up to Mukkali, nearly 24 km from the park. The rest of the way has to be covered on foot up to the source of Kunthipuzha which flows through the valley before merging into the Bharathapuzha. The common wild life sightings in the sanctuary are elephants, tigers, wild boars, flying squirrels, lion tailed macaques and king cobras.
Eravikulam National Park
Rajamalai in the Eravikulam National Park is about 17 km from Munnar. The sanctuary provides close viewing of the Nilgiri Thar, an endangered species. More than half of the Nilgiri Thar is found in this sanctuary. The other interesting sight is the flowering of the Neelakurinji in the forests and grasslands. This flower blooms only once in 12 years. The next bloom is expected in 2006 AD only. The other animal sightings commonly reported are Panther, Sambhar, Barking Deer, Gaur, Giant Malabar Squirrel etc. The sanctuary is 4 km from the Munnar.
Maylandumpara Peacock Sanctuary
This sanctuary also known as Cholanur Peacock Sanctuary and is 30 km from Palakkad. This is one of the best places to watch peacocks.