Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary
Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary – Virudhunagar
Srivilliputhur Wildlife Sanctuary
The Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary also known as Srivilliputhur Wildlife Sanctuary is located mostly in Virudhunagar district and partly in Madurai district. The sanctuary is bounded by Andipatti hills to the north, Tirunelveli district to the south, Srivilliputhur and Rajapalayam towns to the east and Theni district to the west. This sanctuary shares borders with Periyar Tiger Reserve on the South western side, Megamalai Reserve Forest on the North western side and Sivagiri Reserve Forest on to the Southern side.
The sanctuary was established in the year 1988 with an aim to protect the vulnerable giant squirrel. It covers an area of 485 square kilometres in the eastern slope of the Western Ghats.
The Sanctuary – Nature’s Treasure Trove
The sanctuary and its surroundings are abounding with natural beauty with serene valleys and high hills with a number of peaks reaching upto 5,900 feet.
The rivers Periyar, Naragaiar, Pachaiar, Mangar, Kovilar and Pairakudraiar run through the sanctuary providing water in the region for vegetation and wildlife. The Pilavakkal and Koilar Dam are found at the foothills of the sanctuary that attract a large number of tourists to have a divine experience watching the wildlife and birds. Sanctuary offers its visitors a venturesome experience through trekking and can be visited throughout the year.
The place is ideal for nature walks, bird watching, jungle safaris, trekking and to enjoy the serene ambience of the woods.Tourists can avail accommodation at the Forest Guest House at Mudungiar, Pudupatti and Mudaliaroothu or at the PWD Rest House at Srivilliputhur. Transportation and guides are also provided by the forest officials.
Flora and Fauna
The sanctuary has some of the rare and endemic species. In addition to grizzled giant squirrels, other animals spotted here are elephants, Bengal tiger, Nilgiri langur, Nilgiri Tahrs, gaur etc. Some of the rare migratory birds, over more than 275 species of birds, numerous reptiles and over 220 species of butterflies can be seen in the sanctuary. The Grizzled Squirrel (Ratufa Macroura) is the crown jewel of this verdant retreat.
Several water sources help the sustenance of ecology by feeding the dense vegetation and flora in the sanctuary. The sanctuary is inhabited by rich and varied fauna owing to the diverse forest formations. The forest that comprises of the sanctuary is a terrestrial combination of tropical evergreen forest, semi evergreen forest, dry deciduous forest, moist mixed deciduous forest, grasslands and cultivated land.
Useful Information for Tourists
The Sanctuary is open on all days from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM. The fee details are as below:
- Entry Fee (below the age of 5 years) : Free
- Entry fee (from the age of 5 to 12 years) : Rs. 10/-
- Entry Fee (for adults) : Rs.15/-
- Parking Fee : Rs. 15/-
- Still Camera Fee : Rs. 25/-
- Video Camera Fee : Rs. 150/-
How to reach Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary
The sanctuary can be reached via road, the outskirts of the sanctuary are connected by national Highways NH 41, 44 and 186. The sanctuary is located at a distance of 45 kilometres from Virudhunagar town from where TNSRTC buses can be availed. Srivilliputhur Railway Station (5 kilometres away) and Virudhunagar Railway Station (15 kilometres away) are the nearest railway stations to the sanctuary. Madurai houses the closest airport to the sanctuary (around 100 kilometres away).