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By The Leela

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5 wildlife sanctuaries that you must not miss when in Chennai

Chennai is amongst the largest municipal economies in India. The city is teeming with industries, business parks and deluxe business hotels. Home to headquarters of some of the biggest multi-national companies and international businesses, associating such a metropolis with wildlife is unimaginable. However, owing to its geographical location, it is close to some of the best sanctuaries and wildlife reserves. If you prefer seeing wildlife up close, make sure to include these places in your Chennai itinerary.

Srivilliputhur

The Srivilliputhur sanctuary is particularly known for an indigenous species of giant squirrel. Quite rare, these squirrels call the beautiful lush green forests in Tamil Nadu their home. The wildlife sanctuary is speckled with watchtowers that you can climb to witness these squirrels in their natural habitat. Other animals that you may come across when visiting this sanctuary are sloth bears, black leopards, and Macaques.

Kalakkad Mundanthurai

This wildlife sanctuary is one of the largest tiger reserves in the country. Home to more than 73 tigers, it is one of the largest sanctuaries in India spanning across 895 square kilometres. You can also witness sloth bears, leopards and hyenas in this reserve, apart from the tigers. It also houses a biodiversity centre, which is one amongst the very few in India.

Sri Lankamalleswara

Though located in Andhra Pradesh, it is well within reach from Chennai. Consisting of lush green trees, streams, and waterfalls, the wildlife sanctuary is a sight to witness. It is home to Jerden’s Courser, an endangered species of bird. You also come across sloth bears, panthers, wild boars, gazelles, antelopes and foxes when going through the sanctuary.

Rollapadu

Located in Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh, the sanctuary is dry, and the climate is erratic. The rainfall received is also uneven. The sanctuary is bordered by cotton, sunflower and tobacco farms. It is a known wildlife reserve and home to jackals, foxes, jungle cats, blackbucks, sloth bears, snake eagles, Indian Cobra and Russel’s viper amongst others. 

Mudumulai wildlife sanctuary

This sanctuary is bordered by the tall Nilgiri ranges. The sanctuary is home to many wildlife species that are considered vulnerable and endangered, you can spot Indian elephants, Bengal tigers, Gaur and Indian leopards in the sanctuary. There are more than 250 species of birds in this sanctuary, including the critically endangered long-billed vulture and white-rumped vulture. Considering the number of endangered species found here, UNESCO is considering declaring the sanctuary a World Heritage Site.