Periyar Tiger Reserve
Periyar Tiger Reserve is located in the Cardamom Hills and Pandalam Hills of the southern Western Ghats in Kerala, India. It was established in 1978 and is spread over an area of 925 sq km. The reserve is home to a significant population of Bengal tigers, along with other animals like Indian elephants, gaur, sambar deer, barking deer, wild boar, etc. As per the latest census conducted, there were around 44 tigers in the reserve.
Read about: Tiger Reserves in India
Periyar Tiger Reserve Landscape
Periyar Tiger Reserve is located in the Western Ghats and encompasses a vast area of 925 sq km. The reserve is characterized by rugged hills and mountains, with elevations ranging from 800 meters to 2,019 meters at the highest point of Kottamalai. The reserve is also home to the Periyar Lake, which is an artificial lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar River.
The river originates in the Sivagiri Hills and flows through the reserve, providing water to the wildlife and the surrounding villages. The terrain of the reserve is marked by steep slopes, dense forests, and grasslands, which support a wide range of flora and fauna. The reserve is also home to several perennial streams, waterfalls, and small tributaries that add to the beauty of the landscape.
Read about: Pilibhit Tiger Reserve
Periyar Tiger Reserve Map
Here is a Map of Periyar Tiger Reserve given below:
Periyar Tiger Reserve Flora
The Periyar Tiger Reserve is home to a diverse range of flora. Here is a description of the same.
|Evergreen forests||These forests consist of tall trees with dense foliage, providing shade and shelter to various animals. Unique species of trees found here include Malabar tamarind, Indian rosewood, and cinnamon.|
|Moist deciduous forests||These forests have a mix of tall and medium-sized trees, with a lower canopy that allows sunlight to reach the forest floor. Species found here include teak, jackfruit, and sandalwood.|
|Semi-evergreen forests||These forests are a mix of evergreen and deciduous trees and provide a habitat for a variety of animals. Unique species of trees found here include cinnamon, vateria, and ficus.|
|Grasslands||These areas have a mix of grasses, sedges, and herbs. They provide a habitat for grazing animals like elephants, bison, and deer. Unique species of grasses found here include tiger grass and elephant grass.|
|Aquatic vegetation||The aquatic vegetation found in the Periyar River and other water bodies in the reserve provides a habitat for various aquatic animals like fish and amphibians. Unique species of aquatic plants found here include water hyacinth and water lily.|
Read about: Sariska Tiger Reserve
Periyar Tiger Reserve Fauna
Periyar Tiger Reserve is home to a diverse range of faunas, including many endangered species. Here are some of the unique species found in the reserve:
|Bengal Tiger||Periyar Tiger Reserve is home to a significant population of Bengal tigers. It is estimated that there are around 35 to 40 tigers in the reserve.|
|Asian Elephant||The reserve is also home to a large population of Asian elephants. It is estimated that there are around 900 to 1000 elephants in the reserve.|
|Indian Bison||The Indian bison, also known as gaur, is the largest wild cattle species found in the world. The reserve is home to a significant population of Indian bison.|
|Nilgiri Tahr||The Nilgiri tahr is an endangered mountain goat species found in the Western Ghats. Periyar Tiger Reserve is one of the few places where these animals can be seen in the wild.|
|Lion-tailed Macaque||The lion-tailed macaque is an endangered primate species found only in the Western Ghats. The reserve is home to a significant population of these macaques.|
|Great Indian Hornbill||The great Indian hornbill is a large bird species found in the forests of the Western Ghats. It is known for its distinctive bill and colourful casque. Periyar Tiger Reserve is a great place to spot these birds.|
|King Cobra||The king cobra is the world’s longest venomous snake and is found in the Western Ghats. Periyar Tiger Reserve is home to a significant population of king cobras.|
Read More: Jim Corbett National Park
Periyar Tiger Reserve Tourism
Periyar Tiger Reserve, located in the Western Ghats of Kerala, offers a diverse range of activities for tourists. One can enjoy a thrilling safari through the dense forests of the reserve and spot various wildlife species including elephants, tigers, gaurs, and sambar. The reserve also has a beautiful lake where tourists can enjoy boat rides and observe the wildlife drinking water from the lake. Additionally, there are opportunities for trekking, bamboo rafting, and camping in the reserve.
The nearest airport to the reserve is Cochin International Airport, which is about 140 km away. Kottayam and Changanassery are the nearest railway stations. From there, one can take a taxi or bus to reach the reserve. The best time to visit Periyar Tiger Reserve is from October to June, as the weather is pleasant during this time, and the animals come out to drink water at the lake.
Read about: Wildlife Sanctuaries of India
Periyar Tiger Reserve UPSC
The Periyar Tiger Reserve is an important topic from the UPSC Syllabus, as it is a well-known biodiversity hotspot and a significant part of India’s protected area network. The UPSC may ask questions related to the location of the reserve, its history, flora and fauna, climate, and tourist attractions, among other topics. For gaining a better understanding of effective UPSC exam preparation, one can explore the official StudyIQ UPSC Online Coaching website. Additionally, the website offers UPSC Mock Test for Prelims 2023, providing an opportunity to evaluate your level of preparation for the exam.
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