Monday, April 22, 2024

Tourism      Wildlife      National Parks      Kerala     Thiruvananthapuram    

Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary




Thiruvananthapuram District, Kerala

Nearest town



Best time to visit


October to January

Main attraction


A Crocodile Rehabilitation and Research Centre

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About 30 kms from Thiruvananthapuram city, Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary stretches from Neyyatinkara Taluk to the Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve in Tamilnadu. Declared as a sanctuary in 1958, it covers an area of 128 sq. km. Even though it was declared a sanctuary in 1958, the wildlife conservation had not been taken place in a proper manner and in 1985, a separate wildlife wing was set up and as a result, conservation efforts have gathered momentum.

A popular picnic spot, the sanctuary boast a beautiful wooded and hilly landscape, Crocodile farm, Lion safari park, Deer park and Agasthya malai 1,890 metres high. Located at the foot of the Western Ghats, the sanctuary occupies the basin of the rivers Neyyar, Mullayar and Kallar. More than 3000 belonging to the 'Kani Tribe' inhabits in this sanctuary. With the aim of conservation of bio - diversity, ECO Development Committee was started and conducts different eco tourism services from trekking, boating, nature camp and elephant safari. For every trekking package, half of the time is for boating.

A one day trekking route from Neyyar to Meenmutty includes a boating for 9 km upto Kombai. From Kombai a 12 km guided trekking to Meenmuty falls. The trek starts at 8 am from the dam site and ends 5.30 in the evening. During this trek package, one can see 'Athirumala' a base camp for the pilgrims to Agasthyakoodam. The Cost is Rs. 400/per person and a maximum of 10 persons can go for trekking at a time. A two day trek includes an overnight halt at the camp house at Meenmutty, a row boating up to deer park, trekking in the dense forest, a visit to Crocodile Rehabilitation and Research Centre and the Lion safari park. (Note : Due to Boating tragedy in Thekkady Wildlife Sanctuary, all trekking and boating activities is indefinitely stopped till May). For more information contact 0471- 2272182.

The sanctuary houses a Crocodile Rehabilitation and Research Centre which was set up in memory of Australian crocodile hunter and animal conservationist Steve Irwin. Also called the Steve Irwin Crocodile Rehabilitation and Research Centre, it has been set up as per the guidelines of the Central Zoo Authority. Started in 1977 near the forest's boat club in Neyyar as part of a national programme to conserve crocodiles, the 2.5 hectares of land now houses marsh and 44 mugger crocodiles found in the marshlands of the area. The center is open to the public. A life-size plaque of Irwin with a crocodile at the entrance of the centre greets visitors.

The vegetation types found in the sanctuary are West coast tropical evergreen, Southern hilltop tropical evergreen, Southern moist mixed deciduous forest, Southern tropical hill forests, Southern sub-tropical savannahs. The thick Reed brakes are also seen in Neyyar Sanctuary. Tree species in the sanctuary include Terminalia paniculata, Pterocarpus marsupium, Palaquium ellipticum, Tripogen bromodes, Mesua ferrea, T.bellerica, Hopea parviflora, Bombax ceiba, Syzygium cumini, Lagerstroemia lanceolata, Adina cordifolia, Albizzia procera, Alstoniascholaris etc. 

This sanctuary is home to a large number of mammals, reptiles and avi fauna. There are 39 species of mammals, 176 species of birds, 30 species of reptiles,17 species of amphibians and 40 species of fishes are reported from the sanctuary. The most commonly seen animals found in the sanctuary are wild elephants and Sambhar Deer. Other wildlife includes Gaur, Wild boar, Indian Porcupine, three - striped squirrel, Tiger, Malabar Squirrel, lion - tailed macaque, Mouse deer, Bonner macaque, Nilgiri Tahr, Nilgiri langur etc. 

Many interesting reptiles found in this sanctuary which includes Cobra, Viper Python, Rat snake, Flying Snake, Lizard etc. The sanctuary is very rich in Avi fauna also. Common Myna, Kingfisher, White breasted water hen, Little green heron, Woodpecker, Hous Crow, Koel, Indian Cuckoo, Grey Jungle Fowl, Hoopoe, Jungle Myna, Indian Hill Myna, Darter, Little Coromorant, Little Egret, Brahminy Kite etc are the commonly seen birds in the sanctuary. During boating, one can see many water birds. 

Since Neyyar Reservoir extends to over 9.06 sq km of are, it offers tourists excellent opportunity for pleasure navigation activities like sailing and fishing. Trekking and rafting facilities are also available here but you should be highly physically fit to take up such challenging trips. Usually, a one-day trekking trip from Neyyar to Kombai to Meenmutty includes boat ride for 9 km up to Kombai and then a 6 km guided trek to Meenmuty falls. Whereas, a two-day trek includes an overnight halt at the camp house of Meenmutty along with other fun filled and adventurous activities like guided row boating up to the deer park, visiting the crocodile rearing centre, trekking in the forest and the lion safari park.