Point Calimere Wildlife Bird Sanctuary Tamilnadu

Posted Date: 19 Dec 2010      Author: Kumaraditya Sarkar Profile photo   Member Level: Gold (Rs 40)

Detailed Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary Tamilnadu Tourist Information Guide.

Point Calimere Wildlife Bird Sanctuary Tamilnadu

Point Calimere, also alternatively known as Kodikkarai, is a cape on the Coromandel Coast. It is located in the Nagapattinam district of Tamilnadu. Being the apex of delta of the River Cauvery, this point marks almost a 90 degrees turn in the coastline. The Chola Lighthouse here was a historic landmark, until it was unfortunately destroyed in the Tsunami in 2004. The Point Calimere forest, traditionally known as the Kodikkarai Vedaranyam, is perhaps the last extant instance of the dry evergreen forests once archetypal to the Eastern coastline of South India. To preserve the remaining forest along with its wild inhabitants, the Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary, measuring 24.17 km², was developed and opened on June 13, 1967. The are of the sanctuary covers the cape along with the three natural habitat types common to this place - dry evergreen forests, mangrove forests, and wetlands. In 1988, the area of the sanctuary was broadended to cover up the Great Vedaranyam Swamp and the Talaignayar Reserve Forest; and the increased area was renamed Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary. The total area now became a massive 377 km².

History of Point Cape Calimere Forest

As old as to secure a reference even in Ptolemy's work in c. 168 CE. The name Calimere was derived in the 16th century with the advent of the Portuguese traders. In Portuguese, calido means warm and mar means sea and thus the name Calimere came. Before 1892, the local forests were managed by local temple trustees and they allowed the inhabitants to collect forest goods. Forest management officially began only in 1892 with the setting up of the Kodaikadu Reserved Forest. In the early 1900s, the British government began to breed some ponies in the forest and emphasised on the cultivation of tobacco. Taking a dip in the sea at the Point Calimere was sacred for the local Hindus and they were allowed to come and do that. In the independent India, in 1950, the administration of the Cape Calimere forest was handed over to the Tiruchirapalli Forest Division and in 1965 to the State Wildlife office in Chennai. In 1962, the celebrated ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali insisted that this place was of high significance for bird watchers as well as for the scientific conservation of birds. Accordingly, the wildlife sanctuary was re-modelled and was given the new nomenclature of Cape Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary. In 1986, the management of the sanctuary was handed over to the Wildlife Division in Nagapattinam.

Wildlife Animals in Cape Calimere Sanctuary

The Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary, also often abbreviated as PCWBS Tamilnadu, is the home of fourteen species of mammals, eighteen of the reptiles and nine amphibians. The flagship animal species of Point Calimere Wildlife Bird Sanctaury is the fast decreasing Black Buck antelope (the only antelope still surviving in India). The good news is that the total number of Black Buck Antelopes in Point Calimere Sanctuary has increased more than 200% in the last three four decades or so. Doing away with the long fostered local superstition by and by, that the meat of the Blackbuck cures leprosy, has also been instrumental in successfully increasing the number of these antelopes here. There are not much predators in the Point Calimere sanctuary, except a few jackals and sometimes village dogs, and that too has helped them growing.

Apart from the Black Buck, other major animals in Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary include Spotted Deer, Jackal, Bonnet Monkey, Wild Boar, Monitor lizard, Short-nosed Fruit Bat, Small Indian Civet, Star Tortoise, Indian Grey Mongoose, Black-naped Hare, Jungle Cat and Feral Pony. Bottlenose Dolphins also often frequent the shore of the sanctuary in the winter mornings. The shorelines of Point Calimere are also the home of the endangered Olive Ridley Turtle. In 2002, a pair of the rare Bryde's Whale were located on the shore close to the sanctuary, and one of them was successfully towed back to the waters. In fact, it was the first successful rescue of a whale washed ashore in the entire Asia.

Birds in Cape Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary

The famous ornithologist Dr. Ali had first recognized the diverse beauty of the birds in Cape Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary Tamilnadu and explored the chances of retuning it to a full fledged bird sanctuary. Today, PCWBS boasts the second largest gathering of migratory water-birds in India, with the zenith of the toll surpassing the count of 100,000. These migratory water birds congregate here around October from various places including the Rann of Kutch, Eastern Siberia, Northern Russia, Central Asia and so on. They stay here till January and then return to their homelands. Some of the rare birds also flock here. These include Spot-billed Pelican, Spotted Greenshank, Spoonbill Sandpiper and Black-necked Stork. Semi-threatened birds include White Ibis, Asian Dowitcher, Lesser Flamingo, Spoonbill, Darter and Painted Stork. Brahminy Kites and Slender billed gulls are some of the migratory land birds in the Point Calimere Wildlife & Bird Sanctuary. On the other hand, the commonest resident birds are the White-browed bulbul, Brahminy kite, Small Green-billed Malkoha, Crow pheasant, Rose-ringed parakeet, Grey partridge, Blue-tailed Bee-eater and the Common Iora.
Spotted dove and Collared dove are also there in the mangroves of Point Calimere.

Cape Calimere Wildlife Bird Sanctuary Tourist Information Guide

The best time to visit Cape Calimere Sanctuary will depend upon the motif of your journey, whether you are going there mainly for watching animals or for watching birds. This is because the best weather here is around November and December when the winter monsoon makes the grasslands the most luxuriant and antelopes happily graze on it. October to January is the best time for bird watching. On the other hand, the best time for viewing animals is March to August. So, plan your itinerary upon your motifs! You can take resort to the packaged tour operators in Tamilnadu. There are a number of Packaged Tours to Cape Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary available as well.

The timing of Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary is from 6 am to 5 pm, all round the year.

Vehicles are not allowed in the core area of the sanctuary. However, Forest Department guides are there to escort you for bird and wildlife watching around the place.

How to Reach Cape Calimere Wildlife Bird Sanctuary

The nearest railway station of the PCWBS is Nagapattinam (60 kilometres or 37 miles) and nearest airport is Tiruchirapalli (150 kilometres or 93 miles). Both these places are well connected by rail and road transports to other places in Tamilnadu and also beyond the state. You can board a bus or hire a cab for the sanctuary from either of these places.

Accommodation in Point Calimere Wildlife Bird Sanctuary

If you are thinking where to stay in Point Calimere Wildlife Bird Sanctuary then let us assure you, accommodation in PCWBS Sanctuary Tamilnadu is not a big deal. There are so many hotels and lodges available both in Nagapattinam and Tiruchirapally. Hotels and restaurants are also there at Vedaranyam. If you want to lodge closer to the sanctuary, you can go for the Forest Department Rest House (Called Flamingo House or Poonarai Illam) in Kodaikarai. However, for that you need a prior permission of the Wildlife Warden. You can contact in the following address for queries:

The Wildlife Warden,
District Collectorate Campus 329, 3rd Floor, Nagapattinam,
Tamilnadu: 611002, India
Tel: 04365-253092,
Email: wlife-kmb@sancharnet.in

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