Sights to See
Tropical moist-deciduous vegetation towards the western parts of the sanctuary gives way to dry-deciduous and thorn-scrub along the east. It is varied with tall grasses called ‘Elephant grass’, bamboo, valuable timber like teak, rosewood, mathi, vengai, venteak and fine flowering trees and shrubs like Indian laburnum, flame of the forest and coral trees. Riverine patches and swamps add to diversity. Among the fruit bearers are jamun, nelli, jujuba and varieties of wild figs.
It is an exciting place to see elephant, gaur, chowsingha, mouse deer and sloth bear. The animals include, tiger, panther, sambar, spotted deer, barking deer, blackbuck, common langur, malabar giant squirrel, flying squirrel, four-horned antelope (chowsingha), wild dog, jackal, mongoose, jungle cat, rusty spotted cat, leopard cat striped hyena, leopard-cat, small Indian civet, striped-necked mongoose, ruddy mongoose, sloth bear, Indian giant squirrel,, sloth bear, wild boar, porcupine, striped hyena, slender lories, etc. Tigers are largely elusive but leopards or a pack of wild dog, on the move are frequently seen.
Some of the rare birds of prey like the Rufous bellied hawk eagle can be occasionally seen in this Sanctuary. Avifauna is varied with changeable hawk eagle, black eagle, oriental honey-buzzard, Jerdon’s baza, Bonelli’s eagle, crested goshawk, besra, mottled wood owl, brown hawk owl minivet, hornbills, golden oriole, chloropsis, paradise flycatcher, golden backed and Malabar great black woodpeckers, blue-winged parakeet, fairy bluebird, jungle fowl racket tailed drongo, peacock grey, jungle fowl, red spur fowl, grey francolin, painted spur fowl, painted bush quail, white bellied woodpecker, lesser yellow nape, golden woodpecker, streak-throated woodpecker, chestnut-headed bee-eater, emerald dove, green imperial pigeon, pompadour green pigeon, grey-bellied cuckoo, Indian cuckoo, alpine swift, black-hooded oriole, greater racket-tailed drongo, black-headed cuckoo shrike, grey-headed bulbul, forest wagtail, crimson-backed sunbird, Loten’s sunbird.
The reptiles present are the python, monitor lizard, flying lizard, cobra, krait, vipers, etc.
Elephant Camp at Theppakkadu
The Theppakkadu Elephant Camp was established in 1972. It serves an important educational purpose, where over a lakh visitors every year, see the management and feeding of pachyderms and thereby increasing public awareness about the species. This also serves an important centre for research and training for capture elephant management. There are 23 elephants at the camp. Visitors are allowed to this camp in the evening during elephant feeding to witness the feeding process. Everyday two elephants perform pooja to Lord Vinayaka inside the camp. The elephants are used for joy riding of tourists early morning and evening on charges.