General Studies IIIEnvironment and Ecology

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary


With the onset of summer, the seasonal migration of wild animals has begun from the adjacent wildlife sanctuaries in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS) in Kerala.

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About Wayanad Wildlife Sanctury:

  • Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary in Wayanad, Kerala, with an extent of 344.44 km2 and four hill ranges namely Sulthan Bathery, Muthanga, Kurichiat and Tholpetty.
  • A variety of large wild animals such as gaur, Asian elephant, deer and tiger are found there. There are also quite a few unusual birds in the sanctuary.
  • In particular, Indian peafowl tend to be very common in the area.
  • Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is the second largest wildlife sanctuary in Kerala.
  • This wildlife area houses some of the rare and endangered species of both flora and fauna.
  • Established in 1973, the sanctuary is now an integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.
    • It is bounded by protected area network of Nagarhole National Park and Bandipur National Park in Karnataka in the northeast, and on the southeast by Mudumalai National Park in Tamil Nadu.
  • It is part of the Deccan Plateau and the vegetation is predominantly of the south Indian moist deciduous teak forests. Also, the sanctuary has pastures of the west-coast semi-evergreen trees.
  • The wildlife sanctuary comes under Protect Elephant and one can spot herd of elephants roaming in the area. Elephant rides are arranged by the Kerala Forest Department.
  • Wayanad district has the largest population of Adivasi in Kerala.
    • Scheduled tribes here include Paniyas, Kurubas, Adiyans, Kurichiyas, Ooralis and Kattunaikkans.
    • Comprising an area of 2126 km2, Wayanad has a powerful history. Relicts and edicts found in various parts of Wayanad speak of an important prehistoric era. Historians are of the view that organised human life existed in these parts, at least ten centuries before Christ.
  • The sanctuary is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The Western Ghats, Nilgiri Sub-Cluster (6,000+ km²), including all of the sanctuary, is under consideration by the World Heritage Committee for selection as a World Heritage Site.
  • A monitoring programme of the Forest Department for 2017-18 has found that the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS), holds the largest tiger population in the State. Of the total 176 tigers in the State, 75 were identified from the WWS, which is part of a large forest complex holding the single largest population of tigers in India


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Biodiversity of India

  • India has only 2.4% of the world’s land area, 16.7% of the world’s human population and 18% livestock, however, it contributes about 8% of the known global biodiversity.
  • India is also one of the 17 mega diverse countries of the world.

Protected Area Network in India

  • National parks and Wildlife sanctuaries are protected natural habitats, declared by the government under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
  • There are different categories of protected areas, which are managed with different objectives for the larger motive of conservation.
  • National Board for Wildlife (NBWL), chaired by the Prime Minister of India provides for policy framework for wildlife conservation in the country.
  • The National Wildlife Action Plan (2002-2016) was adopted in 2002, emphasizing the people’s participation and their support for wildlife conservation.

Differences between Wildlife Sanctuary, Biosphere Reserves and National Parks

Wildlife SanctuaryBiosphere Reserves National Parks
It is a natural habitat, owned by the government or private agency, that safeguards a particular species of birds and animalsA reserved area of land established by the government to protect the environment as a wholeNotified areas that cover a larger area of land which may cover multiple National Parks, Sanctuaries, and reserves as well.
Animals, birds, insects, reptiles, etcMeant to preserve the biodiversity of a specified areaFlora, fauna, landscape, historical objects, etc
Restrictions are less and open to visitations by the general publicA typical biosphere reserve is divided into the following Core (no human activity is there),  Buffer (limited human activity is permitted),  Manipulation zone (several human activities can occur in this zone).Highly restricted, random access to the general public is not allowed
Not requiredSubject to the particular area of the biosphere reservePermission is required
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has defined  it as a Category IV type of protected areasIt is internationally recognized within the framework of UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere (MAB) program and nominated by national governments.International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and its World Commission on Protected Areas, has defined it as a Category II type of protected areas

Source: The Hindu

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