The Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is contiguous to Eravikulam National Park and Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary of Tamil Nadu. Spread across 90 sq km in the rain shadow region of the Western Ghats of Kerala, the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary has a wide array of vegetation like deciduous forest, dry thorny forest, riparian shrubs and tress, and shoals and grasslands interspersed with plains, hillocks, rocks and cliffs which provide micro-habitats for varied forms of life. It is also a well-known repository of medicinal plants.
The forest along the perennial rivers Chinnar and Pambar support a healthy population of grizzled giant squirrel. Chinnar has recorded the largest number of reptilian fauna in Kerala including the mugger crocodile. With 225- recorded species of birds, it is one of the richest areas in avian diversity in South India. Other important mammals found are elephant, tiger,leopard, guar, sambar, spotted deer, Nilgiri thar, common langur, bonnet macaque, etc. The famous ‘white bison of Manjampatti’ has been recently reported from Chinnar. The phenomenon of butterfly migration occurs in between the monsoons.
The Forest Department and Eco-development Committees (EDCs)of the local tribal communities organize many eco-tourism activities in Chinnar, including river trekking, trekking to the cultural site (dolmens), nature trails to the watch-tower, treks to Thoovanam Falls, visit to the medicinal garden, stay in tree houses at Chinnar, Koottar, Karakkad and Champakkad, and Trekking and camping at Vasyappara. The Kerala Forest and Wildlife Department organizes free nature camps for students of government recognized institutions and NGOs.
Chinnar’s rich tribal population comprises the Muthuvans and Hill Pulayas. The tribes inhabit 11 hamlets in the sanctuary which provide them with livelihood options and helps in preserving their cultural heritage. Archeologically significant megalithic burial sites consisting of dolmens and cysts are found near some settlements. With the launching of the eco-development programme, efforts have been made for evolving a model of biodiversity conservation in a human dominated landscape. The focus of the programme is to rope in the local tribal communities in the upkeep of the sanctuary by involving them in its management and providing them alternative means of income generation
Location: Chinnar is located in the eastern part of the high ranges of the southern Western Ghats in Kerala
Altitude: The terrain is highly undulating with altitides ranging from 500 at Chinnar to over 2300m at Nandalamalai.
Climate: The average annual rainfall during the north- east monsoons (October- December)is 500mm. The best time to visit is August to March
Accessing chinnar; Chinnar is accessible via road from Kochi (208km) and Coimbatore (115km) Munnar is 60km from Chinnar. The nearest town is Maayur.