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The hilly terrain of the Western Ghats, clothed in dense mixed and moist deciduous forest, make Mudumalai a most attractive wildlife reserve.The annual rainfal there exceeds 2000mm(79 in).The sanctuary features mainly three types of vegetation:Tropical moist deciduous forest in its western part where rainfall is higher,tropical dry deciduous forest in the middle part and tropical dry thorn forests in the east.
Tree species in this habitat include:Cassaria ovoides, Litsea mysorensis, Cinnamomum malabatrum and Olea dioca, Natural teak, Terminalia Tomontosa ,Indian rosewood, Anogeissus latifolia, Mangifera indica.Climbers including: Todalia asiatica,Sneeze Wort(Watakaka volubilis),Gnetum ula and Entada scandens are also found in these semi evergreen forests.Plants like Grewia, Pongamia glabra, Syzygium cumini and blooming trees like Indian Labumusum, Aredesia, Solanancea are some of the flora.There are two species of bamboo found in Mudumalai, the giant clumping bamboos:Bambusa(arundinacea) and Dendrocalamus strictus.
In all types of forest, a green strip of riparian forest is seen along the shore of dry seasonal and perennial streams.This type of forest remains green in all seasons.Larger mammals such as elephant,gaur,sambar and tiger use riparian forest patches for feeding and resting.In certain places mixed vegetation types are present.The deciduous trees shed their green leaves during the summer, and adopt a floral garb while the arrival of the monsoons hails fruits and tender greens.
There is a high diversity of animal life in the sanctuary with about 50 species of fishes, 21 species of amphibians, 34 species of reptiles, 227 species of birds and 55 species of mammals.Thirteen percent of all mammal species in India are present in Mudumalai wildlife sanctuary.
Of 15 cat species in India, 4 live in Mudumalai:Bengal tiger, Indian leopard, Jungle cat and Leopard cat.
Mudumalai Tiger Reserve has the highest density of tigers in the country.There are 44-80 Tigers[E] in the Mudumalai forest.The single largest tiger population in India(Mudumalai-Nagarhole-Wynad) includes the Mudumalai tigers.These tigers are a breeding source for populating the Northern and Eastern parts of the Western Ghats.
The Indian leopard(pardus fusca) is most often seen in the Kargudi area.Other Carnivores inclue the Dhole(Cuon alpines), the Striped Hyena(Hyaena), the Golden Jackal(Canis aureus) and the Sloth Bear(Melursus ursinus).
The population of Indian Elephants, Elephas maximus indicus(E), totals several hundred animals.Three Primates found here include the Gray langur(Semnopithecus priam) and the Bonnet Macaque(Macaca radiate).
Important prey animals for tigers and panthers here are the Ungulates including the Gaur(Bos gaurua)(V), the Sambar Deer(Cervus unicolor)(VU), the Chital Deer(Axiz axis), Indian Muntjak(Muntiacus munjak), the Indian Spotter Chevrotain, Moschiola indica, and the Wild Boar(Sus scrofa), all of whom are common here.
Rodents include the Indian Giant Squirrel(Ratufa indica maxima) and the Red Giant Flying Squirrel(Petaurista petaurista).Some reptiles found here are the Crocodile,Python, Flying Lizard, Spectacled Cobra, Krait and Asian Pit Vipers.Monitor Lizard is the most regularly observed species.
Eight percent of bird species in India occurring in Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary.Among the 227 bird species found in Mudumalai, 110 species are insectivores, 62 are carnivores, 23 species are fishivores, 12 species are omnivores and 20 species are grainivores.These include the unique near threatened Black-and-Orange Flycatcher.
Regional endemics include Malabar trogon and Malabar grey hornbill.Some rare birds of prey like Rufous bellied hawk eagle can occasionally be seen in this sanctuary.Other predatory birds include crested hawk-eagle, crested serpent eagle, Changeable Hawk Eagle, Black Eagle.There are also Hornbills, Golden Oriole, Chloropsis, White-bellied Woodpecker, Lesser Yellownape, Forest Wagtail, Apline Swift, Pompadour Green Pigeon, Fairy bluebird Jungle fowl, Grey Francolin, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Emerald Dove and Loten’s Sunbird.