Eravikulam National Park

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Eravikulam National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Eravikulam National Park.jpg
Neelakurinji flowers in bloom and Anamudi peak
Map showing the location of Eravikulam National Park
Map showing the location of Eravikulam National Park
Location in Kerala, India
Location Idukki, Kerala, India
Nearest city Munnar
Coordinates 10°12′00″N 77°04′59″E / 10.2°N 77.083°E / 10.2; 77.083Coordinates: 10°12′00″N 77°04′59″E / 10.2°N 77.083°E / 10.2; 77.083
Area 97
Visitors 148,440 (in 2001)
Governing body Department of Forests and Wildlife, Government of Kerala
http://www.eravikulam.org/

Eravikulam National Park (Malayalam: ഇരവികുളം ദേശീയോദ്യാനം) is a 97 km² national park located along the Western Ghats in the Idukki district of Kerala in India, between 10º05'N – 10º20'N latitude and 77º0'E – 77º10'E longitude. See:map.It is the first national park in kerala.

Eravikulam National Park[1] is administered by the Kerala Department of Forests and Wildlife, Munnar Wildlife Division, together with the nearby Mathikettan Shola National Park, Anamudi Shola National Park, Pambadum Shola National Park, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary and the Kurinjimala Sanctuary.[2] The Western Ghats, Anamalai Sub-Cluster, including all of Eravikulam National Park, is under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for selection as a World Heritage Site.[3]

Geography[edit]

Anamudi from Eravikulam National Park

The main body of the park consists of a high rolling hill plateau with a base elevation of about 2,000 m. The terrain consists of high altitude grasslands interspersed with sholas. Anamudi (2695 m, the highest peak in India south of the Himalayas is inside this park. Many perennial streams criss-cross the park. They merge to form tributaries of the Periyar river and Chalakudiyar River on the west and the east flowing Cauvery River in Tamil Nadu. See:.[4] Lakkom Water falls is in this region.

Fauna[edit]

Nilgiri Tahr, spotted in Eravikulam National Park

Twenty six species of mammals have been recorded in the park including the largest surviving population of Nilgiri Tahr,[5] estimated at about 750 in number. The other ungulates are Gaur, Indian Muntjac and Sambar Deer. Golden Jackal, Jungle Cat, Wild dog, Dhole, leopard and tiger are the main predators. Some little known animals such as Nilgiri langur, Stripe-necked Mongoose, Indian Porcupine, Nilgiri Marten, small clawed otter, Ruddy Mongoose, and Dusky palm squirrel are also found.[6] Elephants make seasonal visits.

132 species of birds have been recorded which include endemics like Black-and-orange Flycatcher, Nilgiri Pipit, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, White Bellied Shortwing, Nilgiri Verditer Flycatcher and Kerala Laughingthrush.

Endemic butterflies confined to the shola-grass land ecosystem like the Red Disk Bushbrown and Palni Four wing are among the 101 species in the park.

19 species of amphibians have been recorded in the park.

New species of frog found[edit]

A new bright reddish-orange-coloured frog with multiple glands and extremely short limbs has been discovered in the Eravikulam National Park. The newly discovered species is restricted to less than three km2 on the peak of Anamudi and deserves immediate conservation priority, scientists S.D. Biju of Delhi University and Franky Bossuyt of the Free University of Brussels said in Current Science. The frog has been assigned the name Raorchestes resplendens.[7] This frog, as compared to all other members of the genus, has multiple prominent glandular swellings: laterally behind the eyes, on the side of the dorsum, on the anterior side of the vent, on the dorsal side of the forearms and shanks, and on the posterior side of tarsus and metatarsus. Additional distinguishing characteristics include the colour of the iris (which is bright red), and extremely short legs.[8]

Flora[edit]

Three major types of plant communities are found in the Park – grasslands, shrublands and forests. The terrain above 2000m is covered primarily by grasslands. However, there are numerous small patches of forests in hollows and gullies in these areas. The deeper valleys are extensively forested. Shrublands predominate along the bases of the cliffs and interspersed in rocky slab areas. The antibacterial Eupatorium glandulosum is found here.

History[edit]

Prior to 1971, the area was managed as a game preserve by the Kanan Devan Hills Produce Company. The government of Kerala resumed control in 1971 (Kannan Devan Hill Produce (Resumption of lands) Act, 1971), and declared the Eravikulam-Rajamala Wildlife Sanctuary in 1975 to protect the habitat of the endangered Nilgiri tahr. It became a National Park in 1978.[9]

Visitor Information[edit]

Trekking route in Eravikulam National Park

Private vehicles are not allowed within the park. You can park your vehicle in the parking area by paying a nominal fee and enter the buses. Six mini-buses are operated by park staff as part of the visitor-management programme as well as a pollution-control measure.

In peak season, there are long queues for getting the buses in Eravikulam national Park.[10] So you should reach at least before 830 AM for a comfortable journey to the park. Tickets are issued till 430 PM. INR 65 is charged per head as an entry fee for Indian nationals. Foreign nationals are charged INR 245 per head. Of this amount, INR 75 goes towards the mini-bus. The remaining amount helps the park infrastructure.

The mini-bus takes you on a 30 min. ride up the hills along a scenic view. The bus ride ends at a small photo gallery, a store and has passenger conveniences. From there, visitors are encouraged to take a short trek of around 1.3 km (25–30 min.) to a vantage point. The trek has splendid views of the nearby hills and lets you observe the steep face of the mountain. Once you are back from the trek, return buses take you down the hill to the park entrance.

Littering is banned inside the park. A well formed security wing is working to protect the park day and night. The park is accessible from Kochi (Kerala) and Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) airports, which are located at about 148 km and 175 km respectively. Munnar is the nearest town (13 km), well connected by roads from Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The nearest railway station is Aluva in Kerala (120 km from Munnar) and Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu (165 km).[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Eravikulam National Park
  2. ^ K.S. Sudhi (3 November 2006) The Hindu, retrieved 21 June 2007 New lives bloom in Rajamala
  3. ^ UNESCO, World Heritage sites, Tentative lists, Western Ghats sub cluster, Niligiris. retrieved 20 April 2007 World Heritage sites, Tentative lists
  4. ^ Eravikulam National Park – Map (2004) Nilgiri Tahr Trust, retrieved 20 June 2007 Map
  5. ^ "Munnar". 
  6. ^ UNEP (05/07/2007) World Commission on Protected Areas, World Database on Protected Areas, Eravikulam National Park, Retrieved 7 May 2007 [1]
  7. ^ The Hindu – New species of frog found in Eravikulam National Park dt. 6 May 2010 [2]
  8. ^ S.D Biju, Yogesh Shouche, Alain Dubois, S.K. Dutta and Franky Bossuyt (2010). "A ground-dwelling rhacophorid frog from the highest mountain peak of the Western Ghats of India". Current Science 98 (8): 1119–1125. 
  9. ^ "Management Plan", Erivikulam National Park. Accessed 3 August 2014. [3]
  10. ^ Tips for Tourists visiting Eravikulam National Park
  11. ^ Eravikulam National Park – (2004) Nilgiri Tahr Trust, retrieved 20 June 2007 details