The Thekkady Tiger Reserve is spread across 777 sq km, of which
360 sq km is thick evergreen forest. The Thekkady Wildlife Reserve, is one of
Kerala's prestigious possessions on the High Ranges of the Western Ghats. It
was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978 under the Project Tiger scheme. In 1982
the core area of the reserve (350 sq. km.) was notified as National Park.
The open grasslands are home to the Elephants, the Bison and herds of deer.
The moist deciduous forest is dominated by trees like Terminalia and Teak
which shed their leaves seasonally. The varied habitat in the sanctuary
supports a number of species of terrestrial, aquatic and arboreal animals.
The tiger is the main predator in the Thekkady Tiger Reserve. An estimated
40 of these magnificent beasts inhabit the Reserve.
The Indian tiger is a large animal averaging a little less than 3m. in
length. This great cat is a solitary animal except when courting or when a
tigress is with her cubs. The cubs only leave their mother after reaching
maturity at the age of about 2 years. Tigers hunt on the large herbivores
including sambar and other deer, gaur, wild boar, etc. But it is a shy and
alert animal, hence difficult to see and observe at ease.
People oriented and park centered community based eco-tourism is the
hallmark of Periyar Tiger Reserve. These programs are conducted by local
people responsible for the surveillance of the vulnerable parts of the
reserve. By taking tourists along, they are involved in the conservation of
the forests of Periyar and some valuable revenue is generated for community
welfare. People who once made a living by illegal operations in the forests
have since become forest protectors and earn their livelihood through these