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Spectrum Tours » National parks in india » Madumalai national park

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Mudumalai National park is one the many reserves located in the forest belt between the Western Ghats and the Nilgiri Mountains, in the extreme west of Tamil Nadu. Most of these reserves are demarcated by political boundaries. It covers a relatively small area of 300 sq. km but is abundant in wildlife, as are the other larger neighbouring resereves. The park lies on either side of the excellent highway connecting Mysore to Ooty (Ootacamund). This highway, other than providing excellent wildlilfe viewing opportunities even before you reach the park, is an amazingly beautiful drive with 36 hairpin bends through thick jungle and beautiful scenery

Mudumalai, is an ecologically rich terrain, despite being in the rain-shadow of the Nilgiris. With Bandipur in the north, the region forms a single, continuous viable habitat for a varied range of wildlife. While Mudumalai's western half experiences the south-west monsoon, the eastern tracts feel the relatively gentler north-cast monsoon a little later, and this results in a diversity of vegetation types.

Tropical moist-deciduous vegetation towards the western parts of the sanctuary gives way to dry-deciduous and thorn-scrub along the cast, supporting a few blackbucks. An erstwhile game reserve, Mudumalai was declared a wildlife sanctuary with a 62 sq kin area in the early 1940s. Today, the sanctuary and the national park together extend over an area of 321 sq km, and are a mix of low hills, valleys and flat terrain sprinkled with a few swampy areas. There is considerable movement of animals in this vital wildlife corridor area, and the clear days from late January to early April are most rewarding for the wildlife enthusiast.

Tigers are largely elusive but leopards are more visible. However, the most feared hunter of this area is the Wild Dog, and a pack on the move is not an uncommon sight. Mudumalai's main attraction is the large herds of

Mudumalai is one of the reserves that form the lost wild frontier of the region's fascinating wildlife herbivores such as deer, gaur and elephant. The gaur recovered from a rinderpest epidemic in the late 1960s, and now some of the finest specimens are seen here, their bulky frames in tune with this perfect habitat. Elephant herds and solitary males, including tuskless male elephants or makhanas, are a regular sight. The renowned big game hunting sites of yore - Umbetta, Masinagudi, Kargudi - still host a variety of Indian wildlife.

Mudumalai is reasonably well organized. The well-planned paths are best traversed by jeep or open vans, while elephant-back is advised for areas with tall grass and along stream-beds. Several trails skirt waterholes where plenty of animal activity can be seen. The scream of the Indian Giant Squirrel can be heard from the leafy canopy high above, and a m61ange of woodland birds adds to the thrill of the forest. The summit of Kargudi Hill offers a strikingly panoramic view of the sanctuary and the Moyar Gorge.

More elephants have been born at Theppakadu, the elephant camp near Mudumalai's reception centre, than elsewhere in India. The camp offers an interesting glimpse into the life of captive elephants. Despite a wealth of species, this sanctuary is struggling to survive against the demands of human settlements, cattle grazing, forest fires, developmental projects and a busy highway. Protecting this area remains a challenging task.

MAMMALS Asian Elephant (above), Gaur (Indian Bison), Tiger, Leopard, Wild Dog (Dhole), Striped Hyena, Leopard-cat, Rusty Spotted Cat, Small Indian Civet, Striped-necked Mongoose, Ruddy Mongoose, Sloth Bear, Indian Giant Squirrel, Sanibar, Spotted Deer (Chital), Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Chowsingha (Four-horned Antelope.), Indian Pangolin

BIRDS RAPTORS Changeable Hawk Eagle, Black Eagle, Oriental Honey-buzzard, Jerdon's Baza, Bonelli's Eagle, Crested Goshawk, Besra, Mottled Wood Owl, Brown Hawk Owl

WOODLAND/SCRUB Grey Junglefowl, Red Spurfowl, Grey Francolin, Painted Spurfowl, Painted Bush Quail, Whitebellied Woodpecker, Lesser Yellownape, Greater Flameback, Streak-throated Woodpecker, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Emerald Dove, Green Imperial Pigeon, Pompadour Green Pigeon, Grey-bellied Cuckoo, Indian Cuckoo, Alpine Swift, Black-hooded Oriole, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Black-headed Cuckooshrike, Grey-headed Bulbul, Forest Wagtail, Crimson-backed Sunbird, Loten's Sunbird

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