Established in 1973, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary was brought under the Project Elephant in the year 1991-92. The sanctuary is bordered with Nagarhole WLS & Bandipur WLS in Karnataka and Mudumalai WLS in Tamilnadu. Occupying an area of 345 sq km, Wayanad WLS is the second largest WLS in Kerala and is now an integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The sanctuary was set up with an objective of conserving the biological heritage of the region with due consideration to the general life style of tribes and others whose lives are dependent on the forest. The sanctuary is divided into two separate parts, known as Upper Wayanad WLS and Lower Wayanad WLS.
Lower Wayanad WLS at Muthanga is known as Muthanga Wildlife Range, it is 38 Km from Kalpetta and 15 Km from Sulthan Bathery. The Western Ghats, Nilgiri Sub-Cluster, including all of the sanctuary, is under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for selection as a World Heritage Site.
The Reserve is home to a small population of tigers, Elephants, Jungle Cats, Panthers, Civet Cat, Monkeys, Wild dogs, Deers, Spotted Bears, Bisons, Gaurs, Cheetah, Wild Bears, Peacock, Owls, Jungle fowls, Woodpeckers, Babblers, Cuckoos. The Sanctuary is covered with moist deciduous teak forests and semi evergreen tree pastures. The floral variety of the park range from Teak, Bamboo, Maruthu, Karimarithi, Rosewood, Venteak, Vengal, Chadachi, Mazukanjirarn to Veteria indica, Lagerstroemia, Lanceolta, Terminalia Paniculata.
Entry to the sanctuary is only permitted as part of a jeep safari. The forest department has arranged one hour jeep safari into the sanctuary from the entrance at Muthanga. This is an excellent option to remain safe as well as increase the chances of animal sighting. The tickets for Safari are issued at Forest office situated on main road. There is no advance booking for safari and the tickets are issued on first come first serve basis. Ensure you reach booking counter at least 30 minutes in advance.
The safaris are arranged in the morning and evening and only limited number of approved jeeps are allowed into the park. Only 40 jeeps in the morning and 20 jeeps in the evening are allowed for safari. After taking the entry fee for the sanctuary, jeep cost has to be paid outside while starting the safari. The jeeps run through a fixed trail in the forest and exit into the main road at different points. Elephants, Deers, Sambar, Mangoose & Peacocks are common wildlife spotted in the sanctuary while rare animals like Tiger are frequently sighted in the early morning safari.
The forest department maintains rest houses in the vicinity of the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary. Sulthan Bathey is considered as the base for Muthanga Sanctuary and several accommodation options are available here.
The best time to visit the Sanctuary is from March to May.
Entry Fee (for Safari): Rs. 110 for Adults, Rs.40 for Children, Rs.38 for Camera, Rs.225 for Video Cam, Rs.300 for Foreigners
Jeep Cost (1 hour): Rs. 600 for a maximum of 7 persons.
Safari Timings: 7 AM - 10 AM (40 Jeeps) and 3 PM - 5 PM (20 Jeeps)