Tamil Nadu National Park and Sanctuary

Tamil Nadu's northernmost point is Lake Pulicat, a brackish lake or lagoon that is home to a large variety of birds.  The southern extremity of the state is also India's Land's End, Cape Comorin, or Kanyakumari.  The Mudumalai National Park, the densely forested, flora-and-fauna rich part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, is at the western end, and Point Calimere, bulging out gently into the Bay of Bengal, is at Tamil Nadu's eastern limit.

Tamil Nadu has a rich diversity of plants, animals, birds, insects and aquatic like, a good proportion of it native to the state.  It has taken an active role in the conservation of this natural heritage, and has set up and developed active eco tourism and management programmes.  Ancient Tamil poetry describes five geo graphical landscapes in Tamil country, each evoking a particular emotional state and imagery.  These are kurinji, or mountainous regions; mullai, or forests; marudham, the fertile croplands and palai, the desert or wasteland.  All of these exist in Tamil Nadu, and provide a lovely framework to explore the natural landscape of the state.

We have lot of National parks in Tamil Nadu. They are Annamalai Indira Gandhi National Park , Arignar Anna Zoological Park , Guindy National Park, Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park , Pullicat Lake Bird Sanctuary , Vallanadu Wildlife Sanctuary , Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary , Kalakad Tiger Reserve , Kodikkarai Sanctuary , Mudumalai National Park , Mukuruthi National Park, Pichavaram Information.

Covering an area of over 130,000 square kilometers, India's southernmost state has a variety of landscapes, terrains and habitats.  There are beautiful, wave-lapped golden beaches and emerald-green paddy fields; lush tropical forests and cool mountain ranges.  There is a staggering variety of wildlife; a nature-made counterpoint to the cultural and historical riches of the state.  It is mineral-rich, with abundant reserves of lignite, quartz, feldspar, bauxite, limestone, graphite and granite.

There are several mountain and hill ranges in Tamil Nadu.  Foremost among these are the Anamalais, or the Elephant Hills, the rise sharply from the plains past Coimbatore.  Geologically, they are formed from metamorphic gneiss, with veins of feldspar and quartz, and scattering of raddish porphyrite.  The Anamudi Mountain, at over 2,600m/8,530ft high, is the tallest point in all of South India.  The Anamalais are part of the Western Ghats, the ridged edge of the Deccan Plateau, that run along India's western flank.  This is one of the most biodiverse sport in the world, the habitat for a staggering variety of flora and fauna.  The Indira Gandhi National Park, Tamil Nadu's largest wildlife sanctuary, is in the Anamalais.  It is a bird species, including the great pied hornbill and the extremely rare frogmouth.  Animals include tigers leopards, elephants, Nilgiri tahr and flying squirrels.

Further north, and part of the Western Ghats at the meeting point of three states Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu are The Nilgiris, or the Blue Mountains.  With at least two dozen peaks that rise above 2,000m/6.500ft,they are probably best known as the home of the hill stations of Ooty (Ootacamund) or Uthagamandalam) and Coonoor, that are popular retreats from the searing summer heat for people from all over Tamil Nadu and beyond.  One of the first wildlife sanctuaries to be established in India, the Mudumalai National Park, is in the Nilgiris, and is home to several threatened and endangered species like elephants, chital, gaur, tigers and leopards.  Lie the Indira Gandhi Park, the Mudumalai Park is also a tiger reserve, and the Government is active in protecting and conserving the habitat and lives of the tigers in these reserves.  The Western Ghats receive abundant rainfall and provide fertile ground for the coffee, tea and spice plantations that thrive on the hillsides.  In addition to the Western Ghats, Tamil Nadu also includes the tail end of the Eastern Ghats, an irregular and broken chain of hills and mountains running along eastern India.  The Eastern Ghats end, somewhat tamely, near the Vaigai River in Tamil Nadu.  The Shevaroy hills and the hill-station of Yercaud in the northern part of the state, are perhaps the best-known of the Eastern Ghat ranges in Tamil Nadu.

Roughly one-sixth of Tamil Nadu is forested land.  Variations in climate, altitude, soil, water, topography and other factors result in the different forest types that are found in the state.  There are wet evergreen forests and moist deciduous forests, dry deciduous and shoal, grasslands, scrub forests and even mangrove forests.  Precious trees like sandalwood, teak and rosewood grow in these forests, and are a vital part of the state's natural heritage.
Within these forests is a stunning variety of flora, and with well over 5,000 species of plants, Tamil Nadu ranks first in India in floral diversity.  These include endemic species, endangered species, medicinal plants and wild relatives of cultivated plants.  The forests are also home to a variety of aquatic habitats that harbor hundreds of fish, amphibian, reptile, insects and bird species.

With such a wealth of natural riches, Tamil Nadu has established many sanctuaries and parks to protect, conserve and manage the life within them.  The state has 10 wildlife sanctuaries, largest among which are the Indira Gandhi National Park and Mudumalai National Park.  Others include the Point Calimere Sanctuary in Nagapatinam District, where the endangered blackbuck lives, and whose swamps are home to many avian species; and the Srivilliputhur Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary in the southern part of the state.  There are five National Parks, including Guindy National Park that lies smack in the city of Chennai, and has the rarest vegetation type of the Tamil Nadu forests, the tropical dry evergreen variety.  Among the smallest of the National parks, it plays a huge role in nature conservation and education.  The forests of Tamil Nadu, teeming with a variety of wildlife, boast three tiger reserves; the Anamalai Tiger Reserve, the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve and the Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, all within the Western Ghat mountain ranges.  These mountains and forests tribal communities who have lived there for generations and subsisted through gathering and hunting the forest's offerings.  Now that these areas are protected, and that any hunting is forbidden, the government has handled what could have been a potentially difficult situation by involving the tribal people in their education and conservation efforts.  Taking advantage of their immense wealth of knowledge about the life of the forest, the forest officials enlisted their support to help protect the very things they had hunted.  They are now employed in surveying, habitat improvement, tourism work and monitoring of nesting trees.

There are lagoons, mangroves and coral reefs, in addition to the beaches and estuaries.  Some of the most important coastal areas from an ecological and nature standpoint include Pulicat, with its lagoon, the mangrove forests of Pichavaram and Nagapattinam and the Gulf of Mannar in Ramnad District with its coral reefs.

Pulicat Lake, India's second-largest brackish-water lake or lagoon, is at the northern limit of Tamil Nadu, straddling both this state and Andhra Pradesh to the north.  The lagoon, with its varying degrees of salinity, has a stunningly rich biodiversity.  The Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary lies here, a welcoming home to many species of aquatic and terrestrial birds.  To its waters, teeming with phytoplankton and zooplankton, flock over 15,000 greater flamingos every year.  The sight and sound of the vast numbers these pink-tinged beauties are simply unforgettable. Pelicans, kingfishers, herons and painted storks are just a few of the other bird species that can be found in Pulicat.

With its abundant marine life, fishing and fisheries are the main commercial occupations in the area.  There are over three dozen marine species here, including a teeming population of prawns, crabs, catfish and mullet.

Around 250km south of Chennai, in the district of Cuddalore, is the Pichavaram Mangrove Forest, the world's second largest.  Further down the coast are the coastal wetlands of Vedaranyam in Nagapattinam District. With tidal flats, saltpans, salt marshes and mangroves, it is another area of biological complexity.  It is an important wintering ground for migratory birds from northern India and other parts of Asia, and even from as far away as Europe and Africa.  In addition, animals like the blackbuck, spotted deer, world boar and civet cat can be found here.  Salt manufacturing, fishing and saltwater prawn culture are the main businesses here.