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Sights to See

In Periyar Tiger Reserve there is a rich diversity of vertebrates. The diverse forest types, ‘vayals’, marshes, and a large aquatic habitat together support 62 species of mammals, 320 species of birds, 45 species of reptiles, 27 species of amphibians, and 38 species of fishes. The invertebrate fauna of Periyar is not well documented, though the predominant invertebrate orders are Protozoa, Annelida, Arthropoda and Mollusca. 160 butterfly species have been listed. The wildlife that can be seen in the sanctuary include the elephant, sambar, gaur, nilgiri tahr, Malabar giant squirrel, barking deer, porcupine, nilgiri langur, monitor lizard, flying lizard, flying frog, flying snake, king cobra, python, flying squirrel, striped necked mongoose, nilgiri marten, fruit bats, birds such as darter, flycatchers, grey hornbill etc.

Five ethnically different tribal communities once lived within and outside the park. Mannan, Paliya, Urali, Mala-araya and Malampandaram are the predominant tribal groups and almost all of them are settled on the outskirts of the reserve, engaged in agriculture. Malampandaram, is a small nomadic community living off nature, collecting berries and tubers and occasionally fishing deep inside the forests of the tiger reserve. A tribal heritage museum built inside the Mannan settlement featuring various types of artifacts related to their ancient agricultural practices, marriage ceremonies, cultural events, dress code, rituals and death ceremonies is the hub of this ecotourism programme. Display of fishing gear, hunting weaponry, indigenous medicine and vessels, cereals, medicinal herbs, bamboo furnitures, etc. are other attractions providing a peep into their original culture.

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