Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary
National Highway 212, Muthanga, Kerala 673592, India
Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary amazes the visitors with its rich fauna and an opportunity to come in close contact with some of the elusive creatures of the wild.
Location of Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary
More about Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary
Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary, located 16 km from Sulthan Bathery is a part of Nilgri Biosphere area connecting Nagarhole and Bandipur nationalparks in Karnataka with Madumalai nationalpark in Tamil Nadu. Spread over an area of 345 square km, the sanctuary is an abode of rich flora and fauna.
The sanctuary is a part of larger Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary which consists of four ranges - Sulthan Bathery, Kurichyad, Munthanga, and Tholpetty. Separated from each other by plantations, only Muthanga and Tholpetty are open to visitors. These two places serve as eco-tourism centres, helping to create conservation awareness and the need for wildlife protection in the minds of the visitors.
Project Elephant and bio-diversity of the sanctuary
The sanctuary was established in the year of 1973. It was brought under the 'project elephant' in the year 1991-92. The 'project elephant's' main objective was to prevent the killings of elephants by poachers for commercial reasons. The project is a huge success and as a result you can see a large population of elephants roaming around the sanctuary in a carefree manner.
The sanctuary is considered to be the second largest in Kerala and has the richest bio-diversity in India. Annual rainfall of 3,000 to 4,000 mm and fertile soil create an ideal environment for the life forms to thrive.
Plants and animals at the sanctuary
In terms of fauna, here you will be able to see semi-evergreen, moist deciduous and dry deciduous forests. The common trees around the sanctuary are Maruthu (Terminalia Arjuna), Karimaruthu (Terminalia Crenulata), Rosewood, Venteak, Vengel and many more.
Rich in bio-diversity, the administration lays emphasis on the scientific conservation with due consideration for the lifestyle of the tribes who live around the forest region. The sanctuary has a large population of wild animals. Elephants roam freely here and tigers are sighted occasionally. Various species of deer, monkeys, birds also live here. The reserve is home to a small population of tigers, a profusion of birds, butterflies and insects. A drive along the road to Muthanga and further offers chances to watch these roaming animals.
Among the commonly spotted birds at the sanctuary, some which deserve a special mention are the Malabar Grey Hornbill, peacocks, owls, woodpeckers, cuckoos, jungle fowl, babblers, herons, egrets, water ducks, bulbuls, peafowl, shrikes, eagles, cormorants, wagtails, rollers, pheasants, snipes.
Jungle Safaris in the morning and afternoon
The sanctuary provides a safari option through the jungle for the visitors. They are arranged in the morning at 7AM to 10AM and 3PM to 5PM. The tickets for the safari are issued in a first come first serve basis. There are no advance booking. There are limited numbers of slots available per day (40 jeeps in the morning and 20 in the evening), so if you want to do the safari you must reach on or before the time indicated. And also, most of the time the rare animals will be seen only with the first three jeeps. They will move out as soon as they hear the sounds of the vehicles.
The safari jeep runs through a fixed trail in the forest. Elephants, Spotted Deers, Sambar (large deer native to the Indian Subcontinent), Mongoose, Gaurs (Indian Bison) and peacocks are common wildlife spotted in the trail. The area is inhabited by a small number of tigers and leopards but do not expect to see them, the sightings are extremely rare.
The jeeps are rough vehicles. Sitting in them is not the nicest experience to have. The sides of the jeeps are closed so the only opportunity to spot the animals are through the small openings on the front and the back. The path is a mud trail which gets soggy during the rains and dusty at other times. A bumpy ride should be expected and an average sized man would have to bent a bit to avoid hitting the roof.
Best time to visit Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary
Though the place is open throughout the year, its not recommended to go there during the rainy season if you want to see wild animals. Summer season offers an ideal occasion to spot wildlife, when many animals including tigers and elephants from neighbouring sanctuaries move in to the Wayanad Sanctuary in search of food and water.
Trekking option to encounter the wildlife in close proximity
In addition to the jeep safari, visitors have the option for a three hour trek. There are more chances of seeing wildlife in the trek than in the safari and it is not rushed either. There are cottages inside the forest where you can stay and there is an option for an elephant ride as well. Both of these need to be booked through the forest department by phone. You can reach them through this number- +91 4936 271010.
Getting to Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary
Wayanad is reachable only by road. From Karnataka, there are buses from Mysore to Suthan Bathery which pass through the sanctuary. And vice versa, from Sulthan Bathery you will get buses to here if you are coming from other districts of Kerala. The nearest railway station is in Kozhikode from where there are direct buses to Sulthan Bathery.