Munnar with its picturesque landscape, cool climate,tranquillity of nature and its strategic location and proximity to Thekkady made it a much sought after destination of nature visitors across the world. The visitors mostly prefer various wilderness areas in Munnar . Munnar Wildlife Division is headed by The Wildlife Warden with Head Quarters at Munnar.
Naturalists find a wealth of attractions in and around Munnar. Research scholars from as far away as the USA have spent months at a stretch, in studying specific aspects of High Ranges zoology or botany, resulting in a PhD thesis or some erudite articles. It is not possible to catalogue the innumerable species of plants that grow here. The keen observer can identify more than a dozen different kinds of orchids, some common ones being Aerides, Coelogyne. Dendroblum and Oberonia. Red Rhododendrons grow in Top Station, Eravikulam National Park and Mathikettan Shola. The large, white, bell-shaped flowers of Datura grow in abundance around Munnar. Wintergreen is an original aromatic shrub of these slopes, now complemented by the cultivation of Eucalyptus, Lemon Grass and Mint, from which valuable oils are extracted.
Once in 12 years, the Kurinji flower blossoms, covering the Kanan Devan Hills with a beautiful azure mantle, an event meriting mention in the media. Drosera peltata, an insectivorous plant, is found in Rajamala. Over the past century, a number of flowering plants, besides crops, have been introduced, and many have adapted to the conditions and proliferated to the extent that they are now growing wild; these include Arum Lilies and Morning Glory.
Bird-watchers will easily find the Malabar whistling thrush, or the “Whistling Schoolboy” -so named for its uncanny whistle-and the golden-backed woodpecker. The kingfisher, bulbul, jungle fowl, black eagle, kestrel, crow pheasant, quail, green and imperial pigeon, grey hornbill and others can also be sighted.
The Eravikulam National Park boasts of a rich concentration of wildlife. The Nilgiri tahr, an endangered and extremely rare type of mountain goat, is accorded the strictest protection and this has led to a welcome increase in its numbers. Thanks to the total absence of poaching, a large herd of tahr has been ‘domesticated’ to such an extent that they can now be viewed from close quarters at the Rajamala end of the Eravikulam National Park
Eravikulam National Park
The Eravikulam National Park, wedged between the High Ranges and Anamallais, covers about 105 sq. km. Of undulating, Virgin grasslands and wooded valleys. Originally a part of the predecessor Company’s landholdings, the area became a sanctuary under the State Government in 1971, and was declared a National Park in 1978 – the first in Kerala. A thrilling place indeed! Sambar, gaur and elephant sightings are fairly common in the National Park, with the panther and the tiger making an occasional appearance. ScenaryThe Kanan Devan Hills themselves abound in wildlife. Apart from the larger herbivores, such as gaur and sambar, there can be found barking deer, wild pig, jackal, porcupine, langur and the Malabar squirrel.This Park is perhaps the only one of national stature in the world where private estate managers (accredited to Tata Tea Limited) are involved in its administration through the High Range Wildlife & Environment Preservation Association, a voluntary body actively supported by the Company.