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Eravikulam National Park, Kerala

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Eravikulam National Park is located along the Western Ghats in the Idukki district of Kerala. A sanctuary for the endangered mountain goat of south India, the Nilgiri Tahr (Hemitragus hylocrious), the Park stands out for the stark beauty of its rolling grasslands and sholas, spread over 97 sq km in the Kannan devan hills. A protected area, the sanctuary is divided into three regions – the core area, the buffer area and the tourism area. Visitors are allowed only to the tourism area – Rajamalai – the region lying beyond the road entry into Eravikulam. Anamudi, the highest peak (2695 m) south of Himalayas, stands in the core area of the Park.

Wildlife attractions

Twenty six species of mammals have been recorded in the park including the largest surviving population of Nilgiri Tahr, 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. Around 132 species of birds have been recorded which include endemics like 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. The frontline staff of Eravikulam National Park has observed newly born Tahr calves in the tourism zone and many of the female Tahrs in pregnancy. As newly born Tahr calves are highly vulnerable to disturbances, the Park has been closed for visitors from February 4 to April 4, 2013.

Permits: Six mini-buses are operated by park staff as part of the visitor-management programme as well as a pollution-control measure. Private vehicles are not allowed within the Park.

When to visit: The Park is usually closed at the time of calving of Nilgiri Tahr which is usually during the early months of every year. The best season to visit this park is from September to November and from April to June.

How to reach:
Air: The nearest airport Madurai (Tamilnadu) is about 142 km; Kochi International Airport is about 150 km.
Rail: The nearest railway station, Kottayam, is about 142 km from Munnar.
Road: Eravikulam National Park is about 15 km from Munnar, 135 km. from Kochi and 148 km from Kottayam.

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