A component of the Thenmala Eco-tourism Project, the Shenthuruni Wildlife reserve harbours 248 species of birds, 409 animals, including 35 types of reptiles and 34 mammals, 42 fishes and uncountable varieties of butterflies and moths. It is also the home of 951 varieties of plants, 219 of them yielding medicines. The deep tropical evergreen forests got the name of Shenthuruni from a tree that grows only within the forest-the chenkurunji (Gluta travancorica) that flowers only once in 12 years and whose rose-tinted timber shines of like a mirror when polished.
A tributary of the Parappar River within the sanctuary has been dammed at Thenmala. The forests have also yielded evidence of human habitation during the Stone Age.
The Warblers and Waders' Club, which conducted an extensive expedition in the forest three years ago, counted 255 varieties of birds, including a variety of eagle (Praparunthu in Malayalam) that had not been presumed extinct as it had not been spotted after 1877 according to the famed ornithologist, Dr Salim Ali.
Thenmala society 0475-2344660, 2344002;
police - Thenmala 0475-2344550,
Tourist spots close by- Palaruvi 10 k.m.; Kuttalam 30 k.m.; Ponmudi 70 k.m.
How to Reach:
The sanctuary is 75 k.m. from Thiruvananthapuram by road and 69 k.m. from Kollam. The nearest railhead is Thenmala on the metre-gauge section (2k.m. away) and at Kottarakkara on the broad-gauge section (35 k.m.away).