Among Wayanad's treasures, an all-encapsulating masterpiece that brings to life the myriad beauties that are splattered across this picturesque district is the delightful Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary. Spread out over two separate parts, Muthanga and Tholpetty, people regularly find new ways to fall in love with this mystical area. Muthanga is located to the south of Wayanad and Tholpetty is located towards the north of the district adjacent to Thirunelli. Over an area of 344.44 sq. km of exotic and rare floral, faunal and avian life await all who visit this much loved destination.
Officially confirmed as a sanctuary in 1973, these forests once gave shelter to the legendary Pazhassi Raja, famous for being among the first to oppose and gain significant victories over the British. Inside, major pockets of the sanctuary introduce one to herds of elephants strolling around peacefully, as Langurs and Malabar Squirrels peek out at all new visitors. The entire area is under a luscious emeraldcarpet, with row upon row of hills dotting the landscape. The highest peak is Karottimala, surrounded by other impressive peaks. A serene cool atmosphere is the staple here, getting about an average 2200 mm of rainfall and heavy downpour during July to August.
Treks via either Muthanga or Tholpetty helps one encounter a vivid and enchanting floral display. Thick and green bushes engrave your path, with interspersed bamboo trees spread out along the way. Usually moist and dry deciduous forest types cover most of the area, along with patches of semi-evergreen forests. Along 33% of the total area is covered by plantations of teak, rosewood, eucalyptus and silver oak. Some of the finest trails in the state lie here, famous for the untouched and ancient vibe that is a must for any truly invigorating trek.
Observers have noted the presence of the big cats, specifically tigers and panthers, in these parts. One is also regularly able to view Langurs, Bonnet Macaques, Bison, Monkeys, Sambar, Malabar Squirrel and Forest Bears here. The reptilian life here is also diverse with some of the most common species being the Golden Tree Snake, Coral Snake, Green Whip Snake and Pit Vipers. This is also home to the most diverse avian life in the world, including 216 species of birds like Peacock, Owl, Babbler, Black Woodpecker, Golden Backed Three-Toed Wood Pecker, Cuckoo and Jungle Fowl.Malabar Whistling Thrush, Malabar Trogon Shama, Painted Bush Quail, Golden Oriole, Peacock, Paradise Flycatcher, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Pariah Kite, Crested Honey Buzzard and Crested Serpent Eagle are also found here. The largest bee-eater in the world, the rare Blue Bearded Bee-Eater has also been spotted here. Over a large variety of amphibians and fish species add to its appeal, firming its hold on being the modern day Garden of Eden that one must visit at least once in their life time.