Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary nestled in the Western Ghats about 50 km from Thiruvananthapuram. Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary is dotted with hillocks, forests and eucalyptus plantations. This verdurous sanctuary offers a rich collection of flora and fauna.
The Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary was declared as a sanctuary in 1938. Thiruvananthapuram and the suburbs were facing water shortage and to counter that a dam was built on the Karamana river. The catchment area that was formed became home to many wild animals and birds. The State Government declared it as a sanctuary to protect the rich Ecology. The sanctuary is spread over 53 sq. km. on the Western Ghats.
It is a place for the strong hearted. The Forest area is dense with eucalyptus plantations and an abundance of a variety of plants and trees, medicinal herbs and plants abound here in plenty too. There are clear streams and rivulets running by. The rocky terrain and the dense foliage make it a perfect place for trekking and hiking and exploring the forest.
The Sanctuary is the proud home of a rich population of fauna and flora. Wild life enthusiasts can have the time of their life by getting to see wild animals like Elephants, Tigers, Sambars, Lion tailed Macaque, Wild buffaloes, King Cobras and Pythons etc. Bird watchers need not get disappointed as there are quite a number of migratory and non migratory birds here like the Herons, Egrets, Cormorants and Pied Kingfisher, to watch and study.
There are three major forest types visible here in Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary
- Southern hilltop tropical evergreen – This type visible in forests is due to exposure to strong and harsh winds and unfavorable soil conditions. It is found a height of 1000m above sea level and has a stunted evergreen growth.
- West coast semi- evergreen- This type is visible on the hill slopes from a height of 150 to 1050 metres. It varies between evergreen and moist deciduous types. The riparian areas can also contain this type.
- Southern moist mixed deciduous – This is the common type of forest that covers a majority of 60 percent of the area on the plains and the lower slopes of hills.
The Sanctuary has a varying hilly elevation from 100metres to 1717metres thereby giving way to so many forest types. It is a part of Kottoor reserve which covers 29sq.kms and Palode reserve which is of 24sq.kms. The water area inside the Sanctuary is of 5.82sq.kms. It is between longitude 76°40′ and 77°17′ East and latitude 80°7′and 8°53′ north. There are 13 tribal settlements in the Sanctuary. Eleven are in Athirumala section and two are in Thodayar section. One can take permission from the forest range and visit these settlements too.