Tamil Nadu abounds in Biosphere Reserves, National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Elephant and Tiger Reserves and Bird Sanctuaries. 187 species of animals – of which 40 are red listed– include elephants, tigers, leopards, sloth bears, boar, bison blackbucks, lion-tailed macaques, chital, flying squirrels, striped hyenas and otters, among others. 454 bird species include trogons, hornbills, wood-pigeons, plovers, nilgiri pipits, bonelli’s eagles, gray headed fish eagles, open-billed storks and vernal hanging parrots and more. Add to these 177 species of reptiles, a mind-boggling variety of amphibians, insects and marine species and you have Tamil Nadu’s exotic fauna in all its wild abundance.
Especially at the Mudumalai National Park in the Nilgiri hills at the junction of the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka (under consideration as a World Heritage site) for its astounding cache of flora and fauna; and, among others, at the Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary in Chingelpet District. The oldest water bird sanctuary in the country – locals here understood the relationship between the birds and the productivity of their crops long before conservation came into vogue! – the sanctuary’s scant thirty hectares plays host to around 300, 000 birds that come here specifically during the nesting season between October and January when visitors can watch at close range the nesting habits of hundreds and thousands of birds among the many small lakes in the area.