The Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over approximately 345 sq km and cuts into Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. It includes four ranges – Muthanga, Sultanbatheri, Kurichiyat and Tholpatti. There is a sort of corridor for wild animals from these sanctuaries to Bandipur and Mudumalai. These are the forests that make the Niligiris biosphere what it is – almost pristine.
Our final halt was at Tholpatti. We arrived at the gates a little after 9am, that was the earliest we could manage. But it wasn’t early enough. The counters were closed. If you wish to go for the safari, you have to arrive by 9am. So, we lost out on a good opportunity, but made up for it by having a group discussion just outside the sanctuary gates, and cool drinks as well.
The Niligiris has the largest population of elephants in Asia, and there are many, many of them in Wayanad. Sadly, we did not see an elephant in the wild. The Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is now closed until March 31, because there is little water and a fear of forest fires.
Pictures show the hoardings outside the gates of the Tholpatti sanctuary; and a view of the road leading to Bandipur and onward to Bangalore.