The Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary was established in the year 1984. It is the northern most wildlife sanctuary in Kerala. The Sanctuary covers an area of 55 sq.kms on the western slopes of the Western Ghats contiguous with the forests of Coorg in the neighbouring state of Karnataka. The undulating landscape ranges from 50 m above seal level to 1145 m at its highest point - the Katti Betta peak. The vegetation of Aralam is a mix of both tropical and semi evergreen forests where a vast variety of flora and fauna endemic to the Western Ghats are found. The most common wild animal found here are elephants, boars, jungle cats and reptiles.
The Sanctuary is found 60 kms away from the town of Kannur and about 35 kms from Thalasserry. It receives an annual rainfall of around 3000 mm. The temperature of Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary varies from 21° C to 40°C. The Sanctuary falls under the Wayanad Division with its headquarters at Sultan Bathery. Aralam is also known for the Central State Farm specialising in the production of hybrid coconut seeds and one of the main production centres of the country.
Flora and Fauna: Varieties of wild animals and birds are found at Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary. Some of the animals found are deer, various types of squirrels, boar, elephant, and bison which are commonly sighted. Leopard and jungle cat also inhabit the sanctuary but it is difficult to spot them. Many kinds of snakes and birds are also found in the sanctuary.
The forest covering is of tropical evergreen and west coast semi-evergreen forests. The species of plant found are vellapine (Vateria indica), Mesua ferrea, Mechilus macrantha, Calophyllum elatum, Cullenia rosayroona, Magnifera indica, Toona cillata, Myristica Species, Euphorbia Longana, Strobilanthes. The common trees in the semi-evergreen areas are cinnamomum zeylanicum, hopea parviflora, largestroemia lanceolata, xyliaxylocarpa, mallotus, philippinensis.
When To Go: The period from September to November and December to April are the best times to visit Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary.
Getting There: The nearest railway station is at Thalasserry, about 35 kms far, while the nearest airport is Karipur International Airport at Kozhikode which is about 71 km from Thalasserry. One can reach the Aralam Sanctuary by road from Thalasseri (45 kms) and Kannur (45kms).
Where To Stay: There is a Forest Department IB at Valayamchal and a PWD Rest House at Iritty nearby. Otherwise, visitors can halt at Kannaur where plenty of high end hotels can be found.