There are about 5 national parks and 17 wildlife sanctuaries in Tamil Nadu. The famous wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in Tamil Nadu are the Anamalai (Indira Gandhi) Wildlife Sanctuary, Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary, Kalakkadu Wildlife Sanctuary, Mundanthuri Wildlife Sanctuary, Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Mukkurthi National Park, Srivilliputhur Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary, Vallunadu Black Buck Sanctuary, Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary, Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park and Guindy National Park. Anna Zoological Park is one of the latest and modern zoo in Chennai.
Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary
Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary, also known as the Anamalai Wildlife Sanctuary is an ecological paradise in Tamil Nadu. This wildlife sanctuary is located in the mountains along the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border. Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over an area of 9.58 square kms. and can be reached through Topslip in Anamalai Hills on the Western Ghats. The trees, folds of terrain with evergreen sholas can be seen in this sanctuary. About 800 species of South Indian flora can be found here. Various animals like lion tailed macaque, bonnet macaque, Common Langur, Nilgiri Langur, Malabar Giant squirrel, Grizzled giant Squirrel, Tiger, Panther, Elephant, Gaur, Pangolin, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Wild Boar, Dhole, Sloth Bear, Porcupine, Nilgiri Tahr, Civet Cat and Toddy Cat can be seen here. Various birds like Racket Tailed Drongo, Black Headed Oriole, Paradise Flycatcher, Whistling Thrust, Emerald Dove, Green Pigeon, Tickell's Flower Pecker, Rufus Wood Pecker, Rose Ringed Parakeet, Black Eagle, Great Indian Malabar pied Horn Bill, Fiary Blue Bird and green Billed Malkhoha can also be seen here. The Amaravathy reservoir in the Anamalai has large number of crocodiles.
Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu
Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary is situated on the foot of the Nilgiri Hills in the extreme north western tip of the state at a height of 1000 m. ‘Mudumalai’ means ‘the ancient hill range’. Mudumalai wildlife sanctuary covers an area of 321 square km. It is the largest sanctuary in Tamil Nadu and is contiguous with Bandipur Sanctuary in Karnataka and Wynad Sanctuary in Kerala. The tropical evergreen, moist deciduous and teak forests, grasslands and swamps forms the topography in the sanctuary. Various wildlife animals like deer, Chital or Spotted deer, Sambar, Barking Deer, Tiger, Leopard, Elephant, Wild Dog, Jackal, Hyena, Wild cat, Civet cat, Bonnet macaque, Langur, the giant squirrel and flying squirrel can be seen in this sanctuary. Besides
various animals, various birds are also found in this sanctuary which includes the Malabar Trogon, the Malabar Hornbill, the Malabar Grey Hornbill, the Great Black Woodpecker, the Crested Hawk Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, Owls, Barbets, Parakeets, Minivets, Jungle fowl, Peafowl, etc. The best time to visit the Mudumalai wildlife sanctuary is from March to June.
Mukkurthi National Park
Mukkurthi National Park is located on the high altitude of the Nilgiris and comprises of rolling downs interspersed with temperate sholas. This park of Nilgiri Biosphere reserve is situated about 40 kms. from Ooty (Udhagamandalam). This park contains a considerable population of Nilgiri Thar, Sambar, Barking deer, Nilgiri marten and otter jungle cat, jackal, etc. Some of the hillbirds like Laughing and whistling thrush, woodcock, wild pigeon and black eagle, Butterflies like the Blue Admiral, Indian Red Admiral, Indian Fritillary, Indian Cabbage white, Hedge blues and rainbow trouts can also be seen. In Mukkurthi, the tourists can also perform the trout fishing in the rivers and lakes.
Kalakkadu Wildlife Sanctuary
Kalakkadu and Mundanthurai Wildlife Sanctuaries are situated in an extensive preserve as tiger project reserve. The Kalakkadu Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the Tirunelveli District, including the foothills of western Ghats and the adjoining area. This sanctuary covers an area of 233 square km. The flora ranges from the tropical wet ever-green to tropical dry deciduous forest and thorn forest at down hills. Lion tailed Macaque, Nilgiri Tahr, Sambar, Sloth bear, Gaur, Elephant, Tiger, Flying Squirrel, Panther, wild dog, Pangolin are some of the wild animals which can be seen in the sanctuary. Besides this, a wide range of birds and reptiles could also be seen. Trekking can also be done with prior permission from the Forest Department.
Kalakkadu Wildlife Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu
There is nothing difference between the Kalakkadu and Mundanthuri Wildlife Sanctuary. The Mundanthuri Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. This sanctuary covers an area of 567 square km. The topography consists of dry deciduous to tropical wet evergreen forests patches of pure reeds. Elephant and gaur are not found in this sanctuary, but Bonnet Macaque, Langur, Slender Loris, Sloth Bear, Sambar, Chital and Wild dog can be seen in this sanctuary. This sanctuary is excellent for various species of birds, reptiles and insects.
Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary
Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary is located on the east coast just south of Pondicherry territory in Tamil Nadu. This sanctuary covers an area of 17.26 square km and surrounded by sea and shore. This sanctuary comprises of the forests of tidal swamps, dry evergreen forests and mangroves. The wildlife attractions of this sanctuary are Chital, Spotted Deer, Wild boar, Bonnet macaque, Black Buck, Wild Pig, Flamingoes, Teals, Gulls, Terns, Plovers and Stilts. The main attraction of this sanctuary is the close encounter with Dolphins and Turtles which often come quite close to the shore.
Srivilliputhur Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary
Srivilliputhur Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Virudhunagar District, about 45 Kms. off Virudhunagar Town in Tamil Nadu. This sanctuary has a composition of dry deciduous forests, moist mixed deciduous forests and grass lands. The main attraction of the sanctuary is the Grizzled Giant Squirrel. Various other species of animals and birds which can also be seen in this sanctuary are flying squirrel, Tree Shrew, Elephant, Lion-tailed Macaque, Nilgiri Tahr, Mouse Deer, Barking Deer and various species of birds. This sanctuary can be visited all through the year.
Guindy National Park
The Guindy National Park is the smallest national park of India, situated in Chennai. This is the only National Park that is set amidst any metropolitan city of India. This National Park boasts of dry evergreen scrubs and thorn forests. This is the only place in the world where it is possible to see fairly large number of the Indian antelope (black buck). Spotted deer, Chital, Jackal, Pangolin and a variety of birds can also be seen in this national park.
Vallunadu Black Buck Sanctuary
Vallunadu Black Buck Sanctuary is situated in Thuthukudi (Tuticorin) District of Tamil Nadu. This scrub forest is spread over an area of 16.41 square km. Blackbuck, Spotted deer, Macaque, jungle cat, Mangoose and hares can be seen in plenty in this sanctuary. This sanctuary can be visited throughout the year.
Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary
Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary is situated in the Kanchipuram district of Tamil Nadu. This sanctuary covers an area of 30 hectares. Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary is the oldest bird sanctuary in India. Here, the birds have been protected by the local people for more than 250 years. The sanctuary gets its name from a nearby village. A grove of Barringatonia and Acacia nilotica trees, dry evergreen scrub and thorn forests and a tank from part of the sanctuary. Some of the migratory birds like Cormorants, Egrets, Grey Heron, Open-billed stork, Darter, Spoonbill, White lbris, Night Herons, Grebes, Grey Pelican, Garganey Teals,
Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu
Shovellers, Pintails, Stilts, Sandpipers come here from Siberia, Australia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka for nesting and breeding. Some of the resident birds of this sanctuary are Coots, Moorhen and Tern. About 115 species of birds can be seen in this sanctuary. The best time to see the birds is between 3 to 6 pm.
Arignar Anna Zoological Park
Arignar Anna Zoological Park is the man-made Zoological Park situated on the outskirts of Chennai. This park was created out of the reserved forests of Vandalur. The forests are of dry deciduous and dry evergreen scrub type. In the year 1855, the first Zoo was established in Chennai in India, but later in 1979 it was shifted here. This park covers 510 hectares of land. This Zoological park is one of the biggest zoological park in South East Asia. More than 170 species of mammals, aviaries and reptiles are found in this wildlife sanctuary. These animals are exhibited in a large open moated island type enclosures with simulated natural environment. Lion safari, Elephant Ride, Battery operated vehicles are some of the facilities available inside this park. This Zoological Park can be visited throughout the year.
Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park
The Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park is a marine biosphere that runs along the coasts of Ramanathapuram and Tuthukudi (Tuticorin) Districts. The entire Gulf of Mannar abounds in distinguished marine life and covers 21 islands and 623 hectares. This national park is full of coral reefs, Dugong, Turtles, Dolphins and Balano-glossus. The Kurasadai Islands boasts of a vast expanse of shallow waters. The coral reef, flora and fauna can be seen here in their virgin form. The dolphins also create euphoria to the tourists here. Boats are available to visit this national park.