Forest Minister inaugurates Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala
KOZHIKODE, August 8, 2010: Forest Minister Benoy Viswam inaugurated the Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary in Kozhikode district on Sunday.

Local member of the Assembly K. Kunhammed presided over the function held at the panchayat community hall of Chakkittapara in the district. Industries Minister Elamaram Kareem inaugurated the Web site of the sanctuary.

The sanctuary, notified on June 5, 2009, is a rich storehouse of biodiversity including shola species. The forest types range from tropical evergreen to montane. It harbors several threatened mammals, birds, butterflies,dragonflies, reptiles and fishes. The higher animals include tiger, elephant, bison, lion-tailed macaque, squirrel, brown palm civet and bear.

About 180 species of birds had been recorded in the sanctuary including 14 migratory birds. Of 16 endemic birds of Western Ghats, 12 such as Wayanad laughing thrush, Kerala laughing thrush, grey-headed bulbul, Malabar Parakeet and white bellied blue flycatcher occur here. About 680 flowering plants, 39 graminoids (grasses), 22 orchids and 28 species of ferns are also found in the area.

The forests are the abode of king cobra, the largest venomous snake of India. It also harbours python, pit vipers, flying lizard, Indian monitor lizard, pond terrapin and flapshell turtle. Of 94 species of butterflies recorded from the area by the Malabar Natural History Society, Kozhikode; 12 were protected species. About 24 species of dragonflies were also recorded from the region.

The total area of the sanctuary is 7421.5015 hectares covering the Kakkayam, Pannikottur reserve forests and nearby vested forests in Chakkittapara and Chembanoda villages of Koyilandy taluk in Kozhikode district of Kerala. About half of the area is vested forests where uncontrolled logging had taken place before 1971.

Bounded by Banasuramala, Vellarimala, Kurichayamala, Kakkanmala and Vannathimala (all hill ranges), the sanctuary is the catchment of the Kuttiyadi River. The reservoir of Kuttiyadi hydroelectric project, the only hydro power project in Malabar, is located inside the sanctuary.

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