At a distance of 32 km from Ponmudi and 40 km from Trivandrum, Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary located near Ponmudi in the Trivandrum district of Kerala. It is one of the popular wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala, and among the must-visit sightseeing places in Ponmudi.
The Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary derives its name from Peppara Dam which is commissioned in 1983 to augment the drinking water supply to Thiruvananthapuram city and suburban areas. The area was formerly a part of the Paruthippally range of the Thiruvananthapuram territorial division. Considering the ecological significance of the area, it was declared a sanctuary in 1983. The terrain is undulating with elevation ranging from 100 m to 1717 m. The area of the sanctuary is 75 sq. km with tropical moist evergreen forests and myristica swamps. It consists of part of the Palode reserve (24 sq. km) and part of the Kottoor reserve (29 sq. km).
Open all year round, the sanctuary rich in flora and fauna offers a natural habitat to around 43 species of mammals, 233 species of birds, 46 species of reptiles, 13 species of amphibians, and 27 species of fishes. Tiger, leopard, sloth bear, elephant, sambar (deer), bonnet macaque, Nilgiri langur, Nilgiri tahr are the main mammals found in the sanctuary. One can found birdlife like small sunbird, Malabar grey hornbill, white-bellied treepie, three-toed kingfisher, painted bush quail, orange & black flycatcher, tiger bittern, forest eagle owl, Kerala laughing thrush, etc. in the sanctuary. Apart from these, numerous variety of snakes including the King Cobra and Python are frequently spotted in the park.
Constructed across the Karamana River, the Peppara dam is the major tourist attraction of the sanctuary due to its picturesque location. As part of Ponmudi tour, one can also go for a cruise ride to explore the hidden beauty of the surrounding forests. Tourists can also enjoy trekking in the sanctuary with the prior permission of the forest department. Trek to Vazhvanthol falls is one of the best trekking options that the sanctuary offers. This 5 km trek is an amazing experience and the trek route starts from Kaanithara, near Vithura. The trek, through eucalyptus plantations, could be easy.
The best time to visit the sanctuary is from October to March when the weather is pleasant and suitable for sightseeing and trekking.