FLORA AND FAUNA
Idukki district has at present about 260907 hectars of forest area. However, the sylvan wealth of the district and the animal life are fast disintegrating due to deforestation, indiscriminate felling of trees, encroachment and poaching.
All kinds of wild animals with the exception of lions abound in the forests of Idukki.
The grasslands of Peerumedu are a haven of carnivores like the tiger and the leopard. Bison, wild bear, languor and monkeys are a few of the other common denizens of the jungle.
The Thar (striped goat) is peculiar to this region including Marayur and Rajamala and is seldom seen anywhere else in the world.
The forests of Idukki resound during day time with the sweet voices of birds. These include the small wild parrots, mynas, red horned sparrows and a host of other nondescript species.
The valuable trees growing in the forests are teak, rosewood, deodars, sandalwood etc. The Forest Department has reared large Eucalyptus Plantations in the hilly tracts.
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is a well-known reserve that extends over an area of 90 sq km. Recognized as a wildlife sanctuary in 1984, it lies in the rain shadow region of the Western Ghats. As a result, Chinnar gets only about 48 rainy days in a year during the months of October and November when Northeast monsoons are at work.
Chinnar is located 60 km from Munnar in the direction of Udumalpetta. From Marayur jeeps, scooter rickshaws or buses can be boarded for the sanctuary visit. Once past Marayur, the organised neat looking plantations give way to more wild and natural surroundings.
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is located 18 km north of Marayur on Udumalpett road. It is one of the famous places for wildlife tourism in South India. Marayur is the gateway to Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary and shares its western boundary with Eravikulam National Park and is contiguous with Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary in Coimbatore district to the East.
Trek through the forests to spot wildlife.
Wildlife at Chinnar includes elephants, gaurs, spotted deer, sambar deer, leopards, langurs, peacocks, and many other species of animals and birds. Tigers are also present in these forests but are rarely seen. The most spectacular of all the animals here is the Giant Grizzled Squirrel which is on the verge of extinction in most parts of India.
Deep with in the Chinnar Wildlife sanctuary lies the spectacular Thoovanam water falls. The river Pambar flows eastwards through the sanctuary and forms the waterfalls. The enormous waterfall on the Chinnar River, with its breathtaking silvery cascade is a major tourist attraction. As a part of wildlife tourism, the Wildlife Department allows tourists to visit the falls. Guided trekking from Karimutti Forest Station can be arranged to Thoovanam waterfalls. Trekking through the pristine scrub forest offers advantage of watching wild animals and rare flora from the path when venture deep into the forest. Many endemic and rare species enrich this dry and deciduous forest.