Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary occupies an area of 345 sq km and holds a record for being the second largest sanctuary in Karnataka. It is also an integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The Sanctuary is located in the southern Indian state of Kerala 18 km east of Sultan Bathery. It is part of the Wayanad plateau lying adjacent to Nagarhole and Bandipur sanctuaries of Karnataka in the northeast and Mudumalai of Tamil Nadu on the southeast. It is also called Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary and was created in the year 1973. It was brought under the Project Elephant in the year 1991-92.
Apart from the wildlife, Wayanad district is also famous for having the largest population of aborigine people in Kerala. Thus the forest has been scientifically conserved keeping the natives in mind. At present, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee is considering whether to declarer the Western Ghats area including all areas of the Sanctuary as a World Heritage Site.
Flora and Fauna: Elephants are the major attraction of the Sanctuary but few tigers also live here. Other than that, panthers, jungle cats, civet cats, monkeys, wild dogs, bisons, deer and bears have also been sighted. Some of the more commonly sighted birds are peacock, babblers, cuckoos, owl, woodpecker and jungle fowl.
The best way to get around the Sanctuary is on an elephant ride. Jeep safaris are also available which are both arranged by the Forest Department.
The undulating terrain of the Sanctuary is covered with moist deciduous teak forests and semi evergreen tree pastures. Teak, bamboo, maruthu, karimarithi, rosewood, venteak, vengal, chadachi, mazukanjirarn (deciduous type) to veteria indica, lagerstroemia, lanceolta, terminalia paniculata (semi evergreen type) thrive here.
When To Go: The best time to visit is between June to October.
How To Get There: Kapetta is the headquarter of the sanctuary. It is well connected by road to all other major cities of Kerala. The nearest railhead and airport is at Kozhikode. From here, taxis can be hired to cover the 140 kms distance to get to the Sanctuary.
Where To Stay: There are two government rest houses in the area. Otherwise, visitors can find accommodation at Sultan Bathery and Mananthavadi.