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Spectrum Tours » National parks in india »Eravikulam National Park

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Established as the natural preserve for the Nilgiri Tahr, Eravikulam wildife sanctuary protects the largest population of Tahrs in this world. Endless acres of tea plantations have altered the original habitat of the High Ranges, along the southern tract of the Western Ghats, leaving pristine forest only on steep slopes and in deep valleys. The Eravikulam National Park is a dramatic, wind-swept wilderness 15 km north of Munnar, the picturesque centre for the tea industry. The park harbours the largest surviving, and indeed half the world's population of the endangered Nilgiri Tahr. Yet, the stark beauty of the high mountains, rolling grass-hills and dense evergreen shola forests dominates any visit to Eravikulam.

Formerly a game-hunting area, Eravikulam National Park extends over 97 sq km in Rajamalai Hills in Kerala's Idukki district. The park's altitude ranges between 1,400 m and a high of 2,695 m, which is the elevation of Anaimudi, peninsular India's highest peak. The park experiences very heavy rainfall and its uninterrupted shola-grassland ecosystem is unparalleled in the region of the Western Ghats and related hills.
The area has had a chequered history. Known as Hamilton's Plateau in the late 19th century, much of this terrain was owned by the North Travancore Land Planting Society. Later, the Kannan Devan Hill Produce Corporation managed it as a private hunting reserve as the area was found unsuitable for tea plantations. Post-1895, the High Range Game Preservation Association ensured the safety of much of this lush wilderness. The region of Rajamalai was declared a wildlife sanctuary way back in 1936, but the present sanctuary, which was established by the Kerala government, did not come into being until 1975. It was upgraded to a national park three years later, in recognition of its vital ecological value.

Eravikulam's formidable range of attractions includes the spectacular mass flowering of the kurunj shrub. The herds of tahr are very comfortable on steep slopes. In order to view sonic of its other wildlife, it is necessary to venture deep into the park. The trek to the foot of Anaimudi Hill will reveal Asian Elephant, Gaur, Lion-tailed Macaque, Leopard, giant squirrels and, perhaps, a tiger. The nearly 100 species of birds include the Rufous-bellied Eagle and the Black-and-orange Flycatcher, which can be found only in restricted areas of south-west India. Day visits are possible to Eravikulam for its awe-inspiring scenery and 600strong tahr population. These nimble-footed creatures are a major attraction and they can almost invariably be sighted at close quarters near Rajamalai, the main entrance situated in the tourism zone of the park.

MAMMALS Nilgiri Tahr, Nilgiri Langur, Lion-tailed Macaque, Asian Elephant, Gaur (Indian Bison), Tiger, Leopard, Wild Dog (Dhole), Rusty Spotted Cat, Small Indian Civet, Striped-necked Mongoose (above), Brown Mongoose, Clawless Otter, Common Otter, Large Brown Flying Squirrel, Grizzled Giant Squirrel, Mouse Deer, Sambar, Barking Deer

BIRDS RAPTORS Black Eagle, Crested Goshawk, Rufous-bellied Eagle, Black Baza, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Pallid Harrier, Spot-bellied Eagle Owl

WOODLAND / SCRUB Grey Junglefowl, Painted Bush Quail, Red Spurfowl, Sri Lanka Frogmouth, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Alpine Swift, Malabar Trogon, Malabar Parakeet, Asian Fairy Bluebird, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Spangled Drongo, Malabar Whistling Thrush, Malabar Lark, Nilgiri Pipit, Rufous Babbler, Grey-breasted Laughingthrush, White-bellied Shortwing, Hill Myna, Black Bulbul, Black-and-orange Flycatcher, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Little Spiderhunter

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