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Periyar Wildlife Reserve

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Animal Kingdom
Elephants, tigers, and sloth bears—oh, my! Set in Kerala’s Western Ghat region, along the Cardamom and Pandalam Hills, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary (also known as the Thekkady sanctuary) has been protected land since the 1930’s, and officially a wildlife reserve since the 50’s. Given its landscape, which stretches from deep river valleys and lush forests up to high plateaus and misty mountaintops, the preserve is home to a wide variety of flora, fauna, and wildlife. Most notable are the elephant and tiger population (there are thought to be about 800 elephants, 24 Bengal tigers, and few white tigers here); there are also over 35 species of mammals, from sloth bears to giant squirrels, 266 species of birds, 45 types of reptiles, and a wealth of amphibian and butterfly life. A lush landscape of tropical areas, dense forests, and diverse ecosystems provide home for them all, along with plant life like teak, mango, sandalwood, and banyan tress, and lily and orchid plants. The park is open all year (October to June is the best time to visit), and the closest major cities are Madurai and Kochi (the former is about 87 miles away, the latter about 124 miles.)
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