Dholes in Tea Estate near Chembra peak, Kerala

by Srikanth VK
Srikanth VK

Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'

Even large mammals like leopards, tigers, sloth bear, wild dog and elephants still survive in rainforest fragments, including private tea and coffee plantations, perhaps due to the proximity of surrounding large tracts of reserved forest areas.

Chembra is part of the Wayanad hill ranges in the Western Ghats, adjoining the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu and Vellarimala in Kozhikode district in Kerala. Chembra Peak is accessible by foot from Meppady. District Tourism Promotion Council provides guides and trekking equipment on hire charges to tourists. A heart-shaped lake on the way to the top of the peak is a major tourist attraction.

Last month (September 2013), my friends and I were trekking to Chembra peak. We had to cross a tea estate to join the trekking track. The track was a tedious one – we started off at 10 AM and reached down at around 3PM.

On our way back through the tea estates we spotted a pack of 12 wild dogs inside the tea estate, which completely took us by surprise. The sighting lasted for 15 minutes. They were marching from one end of the estate to the other and towards the forests near Chembra.

Wildlife — even large mammals like leopards, tigers, sloth bear, wild dog and elephants — still survive in rainforest fragments including private tea and coffee plantations. This may be due to the proximity of surrounding large tracts of reserved forest areas as well as recent conservation efforts, including reduction of hunting, restoration and protection of fragments.



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