Wild India – Andhra Pradesh, India

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(Photo from: http://www.sanctuariesindia.com/coringa-wildlife-sanctuary/)

Due to its geographic location, the state of Andhra Pradesh is considered one of the rich biodiversity states in India. Krishna and Godavari are the two largest rivers flowing through the state. The Andhra Pradesh Forest Department deals with protection, conservation and management of forests.

Andhra Pradesh being located strategically in the central region of the Indian sub-continent has representatives of the magnificent Indian plant and animal life. Its varied topography ranging from the hills of Eastern Ghats and Nallamallas to the shores of Bay of Bengal supports varied ecotypes, which in turn support a rich diversity of flora & fauna.


Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve

(Photo from: http://www.indianaturewatch.net/displayimage.php?id=377365)

Location: The reserve is located at a distance of 60 kilometres from Nagarjuna Sagar, 30 kilometres from Srisailam and 140 kilometres from Hyderabad. It is spread between Nagarjuna Sagar reservoir & Srisailam reservoir. It was declared a sanctuary in 1973 and was incorporated under Project Tiger a decade later.

Attractions: This is the largest tiger reserve in India. The reserve spreads over five districts, Nalgonda, Mahbubnagar, Kurnool, Prakasam and Guntur. The total area of the tiger reserve is 3,568 square kilometres.

The reserve is home to a variety of animals including the Bengal Tiger, Indian Leopard, Sloth Bear, Dhol, Indian Pangolin, Chital, Sambar Deer, Chevrotain, Blackbuck, Chinkara and Chowsingha. Mugger Crocodile, Indian Python and the King Cobra are some of the reptiles found here.

Best Time to Visit: October to June.

Things to do: Mannanur (104 Kilometres from Mahbubnagar), Kandla Kunta (30 Kilometres from Macherla), Vatwarla Palle (30 Kilometres from Srisailam) are different gateways into the sanctuary. No forest department safaris are available. Accommodation is available at Srisailam, Macherla & Mannanur and private tour operators can arrange trip into the forest from here.


Gundla Brahmeswaram Wildlife Sanctuary

(Photo from: http://www.sanctuariesindia.com/gundla-brahmeswaram-sanctuary/)

Location: The sanctuary is located at a distance of 100 kilometres from Kurnool district.

Attractions: Spread across an area of 1194 square kilometres, the sanctuary is located on the Gundla Brahmeswaram plateau which runs from South to North along the Nallamala Hills. The sanctuary is covered by mixed deciduous forest. The perennial Gundlakamma River flows through the eastern parts of the sanctuary. These forests are known to be the last surviving pristine forests of Nallamala tract.

The flora found in the sanctuary includes different plants that have immense ethno-botanical value. The fauna found in the sanctuary includes Wild Dogs, Bonnet Monkey, Jungle Cat, Hyena, Tiger, Panther, Sloth Bear, Langur, Pangolin, Chinkara, Nilgai, Chowsingha, Mouse Deer, Python, Sambar, Crocodile and the Monitor Lizard.

Best Time to Visit: October to May

Things to do: Safaris, Bird watching and nature walks.


Sri Penusila Narasimha Wildlife Sanctuary

(Photo from: http://www.conservationindia.org/articles/report-a-species-recovery-plan-for-jerdons-courser)

Location: Sri Penusila Narasimha Wildlife Sanctuary, earlier known as the Veliconda Wildlife Sanctuary, spreads over the districts of Cuddapah and Nellore.

Attractions: This area encompasses Turupukonda hills, part of the Velikonda Hill range, Somasila Dam and Kandaleru Reservoir. Panther, Cheetal, Nilgai, Chowsingha, Sloth Bear, Jackal, Wild Boar, and large numbers of reptile and bird species are found in the wildlife sanctuary.

The sanctuary is home to the Jerdon's Courser which is on the list of critically endangered species.

Best Time to Visit: October to May.

Things to do: Wild life safaris, bird watching and nature trails.


Papikonda Wildlife Sanctuary

(Photo from: http://www.sanctuariesindia.com/papikonda-wildlife-sanctuary/)

Location: Papikonda National Park is spread over East Godavari district, West Godavari district and the Khammam district. It is located about 50 kilometres from Rajahmundry.

Attractions: Papikonda National Park was established in the year 1978. The Park lies in the River Godavari basin. The forests of the Park cut through the Papikonda hill range. Papikonda National Park is one of the main tourist destinations of the state of Andhra Pradesh.

The animals found in the Park are Tiger, Panther, Gaur, Chital, Chowsingha, Sambar, Black Buck, Mouse Deer, Barking Deer, Sloth Bear, Wild Dog, Hyena, Jackal, Wild Boar, Antelope, Golden Gecko and Marsh Crocodiles.

Best Time to Visit: October to May

Things to do: Wild life safaris, bird watching, nature trails and boat rides through the river.


Sri Venkateswara National Park

(Photo from: http://www.indian-travel-places.com/listings/sri-venkateswara-national-park-andhra-pradesh-india/)

Location: Sri Venkateswara National Park is a Deer Sanctuary located in the forests spread over Cuddapah and Chittoor districts. It is approximately 120 kilometres from Cuddapah and 100 kilometres from Chittoor.

Attractions: This national park was established by government of Andhra Pradesh in the month of September 1989. Later the government of India declared the region covered by Seshachalam Hills as one of the biosphere reserves of India in the year 2010. This park is now a part of the biosphere reserve declared in the year 2010.

About 178 species of birds from this national park have been identified. The globally threatened Yellow-Throated Bulbul is seen here. Pompadour Green Pigeon, a bird of the Himalayas and the Western Ghats is quite common in these forests. The critically endangered Oriental White-Backed Vulture is found in the national park. Large Hawk-Cuckoo, Blue-Faced Malkoha, Yellow-Browed Bulbul, Indian Scimitar-Babbler and Loten's Sunbird are some of the other birds found here.

Among predators the Leopard is quite common, along with the Wild Dogs. Other predators include Hyena, Golden Jackal, Indian Fox, Small Indian Civet and Jungle Cat. Sloth Bear is frequently encountered. Sambar, Spotted Deer, Mouse Deer, Barking Deer, Four-Horned Antelope and Wild Boars are common as well. The nocturnal Slender Loris is common but seldom seen. The Indian Giant Squirrel and Tree Shrew are other interesting species.

Best Time to Visit: November to February

Things to do: Wild life safaris, bird watching, nature trails.


Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary

(Photo from: http://www.conservationindia.org/campaigns/pulicat)

Location: Pulicat Sanctuary is located near the lagoon spread between Nellore and Chittoor districts. It is approximately 107 kilometres from Nellore and 160 kilometres from Chittoor. It was established by the government of Andhra Pradesh in the year 1976 to protect different species of migrating and resident birds in India.

Attractions: These wetlands eco system are considered to be among the richest areas of bio diversity. Pulicat, by virtue of the salt and sea waters mixing is found to be an ideal habitat for diverse life-forms.

Among the most spectacular is the flamingo- those tall gaunt, white-coloured birds with a touch of pink on their wings, seen feeding in shallow water. The squat, large-billed grey pelican with gular pouch and a number of ducks are commonly seen. Flocks of sea gulls and terns circling in the sky or bobbing up and down on the water are an added attraction at Pulicat. Besides, there are a number of waterside birds and waders such as curlews, stilts, plovers, sand pipers, lapwings, Egrets, herons and kites. The lake is also home to crabs, clams, mussels, oysters, snails, fish worms, insects, spiders, sponges, anemone, prawns and plankton.

Best Time to Visit: October to March

Things to do: The Sanctuary supports eco-tourism on the lake by allowing traditional punting or sailing in a flat-bottom boat and not by a motorized boat. Bird watching in the Sanctuary is an enriching experience especially just before the sunsets when the birds fly away to perch, to observe their varied hues against the evening sky is the epitome of nature’s beauty.


Sri Lanka Malleswara Wildlife Sanctuary

(Photo from: http://www.sanctuariesindia.com/?attachment_id=1715)

Location: Spread over an area of 464 square kilometres, Lanka Malleswara Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the best-maintained reserves in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Located at a distance of 15 km from Cuddapah, this sanctuary is best known for its population of rare Jordan's Courser, which is on the verge of extinction.

Attractions: The sanctuary is basically distinguished by its thick cover of shade trees, steep inclines and slopes, deep gorges and mesmerizing valleys and picturesque waterfalls. The scenic beauty of the region is all the more enhanced with its lush flora and the presence of Red Sanders that’s an endemic type of timber growing in the region. The natural habitat of the reserve is a conglomeration of dry deciduous mixed forests and evergreen scrubs.

Some of the main species of animals and birds spotted in the Sanctuary are Spotted Deer, Sloth Bear, Chowsingha, Wild Boars, Chital, Panthers, Chinkara, Sambars, Nilgai and Fox. The rich vegetation and extravaganza of birds, reptiles, animals and aquatic creatures have made this sanctuary a haven for visitors looking for close interactions with natural surroundings.

Best Time to Visit: October to March.

Things to do: Wild life safaris, birdwatching and nature trails. Numerous watch towers have been built at strategic places in the reserve to provide tourists and nature enthusiasts with unrestricted views of its flora and fauna.


Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary

(Photo from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koundinya_Wildlife_Sanctuary)

Location: Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary is located approximately 70 kilometres from Chittoor. Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary is geographically situated in the forest region where the Deccan Plateau ends and slopes down into the plains of Tamil Nadu creating many valleys and Ghats. Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary covers an area of 357.6 square kilometres.

Attractions: The sanctuary is primarily an elephant reserve.  Apart from Indian Elephant, few of the wild animals found in the sanctuary include Sloth Bear, Panther, Cheetal, Chowsingha, Sambar, Porcupine, Wild Boar, Jungle Cat, Jackal, Jungle Fowl, Starred Tortoise and Slender Loris.

Best Time to Visit: October to April

Things to do: Wild life safaris, bird watching and nature trails.


Kolleru Bird Sanctuary

(Photo from: http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/winged-visitors-turn-new-iron-bunds-their-winter-home/article6745736.ece)

Location: Kolleru Lake is one of the largest freshwater lakes in India located in state of Andhra Pradesh 20 kilometres away from the city of Eluru. Kolleru is located between Krishna and Godavari delta. The lake is fed directly by water from the seasonal Budameru and Tammileru streams, and is connected to the Krishna and Godavari systems by over 68 in-flowing drains and channels

Attractions: Ornithologists recorded occurrence of different species of birds migrating from northern Asia and Eastern Europe during the months of October and March. The Sanctuary is an important habitat for an estimated 20 million resident and migratory birds.

The resident bird species spotted in the sanctuary include Grey pelicans, Asian Open-billed Storks, Painted Storks, Glossy Ibises, White Ibises, Teals, Pintails, and Shovellers.

The seasonal visitors to the park include Red-Crested Pochards, Black Winged Stilts, Avocets, Common Red Shanks, Wigeons, Gadwalls, Cormorants, Garganys, Herons and Flamingos.

Best Time to Visit: October to May

Things to do: Bird watching and boat safaris.


Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary

(Photo from: http://dramarnathgiri.blogspot.in/2013/02/coringa-wild-life-sanctuary-coringa.html)

Location: Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary is 18 km from the port city of Kakinada, on the Kakinada-Yanam state highway, nestling on the deltaic branches of Gouthami and Godavari Rivers at Kakinada Bay. The sanctuary is a part of the Godavari estuary and has extensive mangrove and dry deciduous tropical forest. The rivers Coringa and Gaderu and their deltaic branches intersect the region, along with other water channels. This forms about 335.7 square km of marsh vegetation.

Attractions: The sanctuary possesses a wide variety of birds, because of the feed available in the backwaters of the mangrove forest. During low tide, some of the areas are exposed (elevated mud flats) having small fishes, shrimps and molluscs. These attract avifauna for feeding.

Some critically endangered species like the White-Backed Vulture and the Long Billed Vulture are present in the sanctuary. The Painted Stork, Oriental White Ibis, Ferruginous Pochard found in the sanctuary are near threatened species, and Spot-Billed Pelican is a vulnerable species.

Significant populations of waders and mangrove birds are also present. More than 120 species of birds have been recorded in the sanctuary.

Apart from the avian fauna, the sanctuary has a fair population of Golden Jackal, Sea Turtle and Fishing Cat, and a healthy breeding population of Smooth-Coated Otter. The sanctuary has an 18 kilometre long sand pit where Olive Ridley Sea Turtles nest from January to March every year.

Best Time to Visit: November and December.

Things to do: bird watching and boat rides.


Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary

(Photo from: http://www.happytrips.com/andhra-pradesh/krishna-wildlife-sanctuary/ps29704820.cms)

Location: Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary is located in East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh. It is approximately 20 kilometres away from Kakinada, Headquarters of East Godavari District. It is part of the coastal plain in Krishna River delta. It is located in the mangrove wetland in state of Andhra Pradesh.

Attractions: Deltaic branches of Gouthami and Godavari Rivers flows through this sanctuary. Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary is a part of the Godavari estuary comprising extensive mangroves and dry deciduous tropical forest.

It is one of the rarest eco-regions of the world owing to the fact that it harbours vast tracts of pristine mangrove forests. It is believed among conservationists as one of the last remaining tracts of thick primary mangrove forests of South India.

The estuary of Krishna River passes through the sanctuary, and the mangroves line the estuary. It is believed that this region potentially holds one of the most significant populations of fishing cats in the world.

The Garden Lizard, tortoise, Snakes and Wall Lizard call the sanctuary as home. The Spotted Deer, Black Buck and Sambar are some of the herbivores. The Hyena, Jungle Cat, Fox, Fishing Cat and Bear are the other animals found here. The Crested Serpent Eagle, Wagtails, Indian Roller and Pipits are part of Avifauna.

Best Time to Visit: October to February

Things to do: Wild life safaris, bird watching, nature trails and boat rides.


Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary

(Photo from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kambalakonda_Wildlife_Sanctuary)

Location: This wild life sanctuary is located by the side of National Highway 5 just outside the Visakhapatnam city on the way towards Vijaynagaram – Srikakulam.

Attractions: It has been carved out of the staggering 7000 hectares of dry evergreen forests. The Indian leopard is a signature species of these scrub meadows.

Faunal group found in the sanctuary include Russell ’s Viper, Indian Cobra, Chameleon, Asian Paradise-Flycatcher, Treepie, Quails, Partridges, Indian Leopard, Indian Muntjac, Indian Pangolin, Chital and Indian Jackal.

The Indian Leopard is the signature species of these scrub meadows. The sanctuary is also home to a few panthers.

Best Time to Visit: Throughout the year.

Things to do: Bird watching, Trekking and nature trails.


Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary

(Photo from: http://www.indianholiday.com/india-photo-gallery/andhra-pradesh/nelapattu-bird-sanctuary.html)

Location: Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary is geographically situated near the Nelapattu Village in Doravarisatram Mandal of Nellore district in Andhra Pradesh. It is an important breeding site for spot-billed pelicans. The Barringtonia trees spread in the sanctuary are the favourite nesting spots for Spot-billed Pelicans.

Attractions: Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary is a home and a haven for different species of resident and migrating birds. Ornithologists recorded occurrence of 187 bird species in the sanctuary, including 50 migrating bird species.

The sanctuary is an important breeding site for Spot-Billed Pelican, White Ibis, Open-Billed Stork, Night Heron, and Little Cormorant. Other migratory water birds spotted in the sanctuary include Pintail, Common Teal, Dabchick, Shoveler, Coot, Spot Bill Duck, Grey Heron, Darter, Black-winged Stilt and Garganey Gadwall.

Best Time to Visit: October to March

Things to do: Bird watching and nature trails.