Parambikulam Tiger Reserve is a well protected ecological portion in the Nelliampathy - Anamalai landscape of the Southern Western Ghats in India. It is located in the Palakkad District of Kerala. It is one of the biodiversity hot spot in the world supports diverse habitat types and endemism. Considering its biological richness, abundance of wildlife and landcape beauty makes Parambikulam Tiger Reserve is one of the most attractive places in the entire stretch of Western Ghats. It was declared as Tiger Reserve during 2009 with total area of 643.66 SqKm, which includes core area of 390.89 and 252.77 Sq Km Buffer area.
Parambikulam Tiger Reserve is the most protected ecological piece of Anamalai sub unit of Western Ghats, surrounded on all sides by protected areas and sanctuaries of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the sanctuary is endowed with a peninsular flora and fauna which are excellently conserved due to total protection and minimal human interferences. The sanctuary being a major ecological continuum from Peechhi to Eravikulam through Anamalai aids the large viable populations of wildlife. It is the home ground for different races of indigenous people who are as well an integral part of the prevailing harmonious ecosystem. The thick, opulent habitat of the sanctuary with ample water supplys make it an abode for wildlife and there by for tourist who can have treasured memories of animal sightings and that of being in the lap of mother nature.
Bamboo handicrafts is an another ecodevelopment initiative launched by Forest Development Agency, Parambikulam to empower the tribal and local communities. The members are trained to make innovative and marketable products from bamboos and are sold through ecoshops. This has helped in improving the status of living of the tribes and local communities. (Note : The bamboo collected as raw materials are from the buffer and fringe areas of Parambikulam Tiger Reserve)
Parambikulam Bee Wax balm is an initiative to support the primitive Malasar tribes of Parambikulam tiger reserve. Parambikulam Bee Wax Balm is made from bees wax collected from the fallen honey combs from the buffer and fringe areas of Parambikulam Tiger Reserve. Bee Wax Balm is used for curing head ache, body pains and for massaging.
It is an innovative measure taken in the Sanctuary to make it free of Plastic mineral water bottles. As the tourists arriving in Parambikulam tend to throw away the mineral water bottles inside the Sanctuary after drinking, the department has introduced an innovative Ecodevelopment initiative – “Parambikulam dhara”. Department has started a Ecodevelopment unit which is now run by Kuriarkutty EDC volunteers. The bottles are now placed at the entrance of the Sanctuary. The bottles are to be returned back invariably and a fine of Rs. 100/- will be charged if the visitors are not producing the bottle back. Thus Parambikulam Dhara helps in keeping the Sanctuary a Plastic free zone and provides pure drinking water to Ecotourists and employment opportunities to the resident people.
Community based ecotourism programmes are providing a major share of employment to the tribals living in the Reserve. Some of the most sort after Ecotourism Programmes are Tented Niche, Tree top hut, Bamboo rafting, Fullmoon census, Machan world, Thellikkal nights, Island Nest, etc. These Ecotourism programmes provides an excellent opportunity to the visitors to enjoy the beauty of the forest and at the same time contributing the livelihood of the local tribals.
Honey, Bees wax, and medicinal spices prepared in a scientific manner are sold through Ecoshops. Other items like T-Shirts, Jackets, Hats, Caps, Pens, Keychains, etc. are also sold through ecoshops. The revenue generated from the Ecoshops helps in the empowerment of local tribes of Parambikulam Tiger Reserve.
A majority of the tribal population of the reserve traditionally depends on the honey collection. But these honey collected by the tribes were used to sell to local traders through Barter system. This used to leave these poor tribal people always in a debt trap. So an Ecodevelopment initiative was taken up to collect honey scientifically and to do the value addition in terms of filtering, bottling, labeling and sealing. Now these Honey is sold at the tribal run Ecoshop as a brand called PARAMBIKULAM HONEY. Now the tribal get almost 30-40 % more income directly from the Ecoshop. This has really improved the economic status of the poor tribal in the sanctuary and also relieved them from the debt trap by the middlemen and traders. The Honey which is collected by the tribes are confined to the buffer and fringe areas of ParambikulamTiger Reserve.
This is an initiative taken under Kadas EDC to check the polythene menace and also to empower tribal women in the Sanctuary. The products known as “Parambikulam Paper Bags” made by the trained tribal women. The Paper Bags are now sold at the entrance and the paper bags are provides to the visitor at the entrance itself. It helped in making Parambikulam a Plastic free zone to a genuine extent.
As a step to make the Reserve plastic free, a Plastic Reduction Unit has been launched. Plastic waste from the waste bins placed at different locations of the Sanctuary acts as primary collection points. Then the plastics are segregated into bottle plastics, bag plastics, etc. These are washed, cleaned and dried. Then it is shredded to small pieces in shredder machine and are transported to a factory in Coimbatore where they are made in to Pugmark keychain souvenirs, which are sold through Ecoshops.