Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary was established in the year 1984. The extent is 55 Sq km and lies between 110 540 and 110 590-north latitude and 750 470 and 750 570 East Longitude. This is the northern most protected area of Kerala state situated in the South East part of Kannur district, bordering Karnataka (Bhramaghiri Wildlife Sanctuary) in the north, North Wayanad Division in the East, Kottiyoor Reserve and Kelakam village in the south and Central State Farm Aralam in the West.
Till 30.06.98 the sanctuary was part of Wayanad Wildlife Division. The Aralam Wildlife Division started functioning since 01.07.98. Out of 55 sq. Km of sanctuary area, an area of 32. 64 Sq Km of the sanctuary was vested forest, and balance portion is part of Kottiyoor Reserved Forest.
Nearest town Iritty is 20 Km away and nearest rail heads Kannur and Thalassery 70 Km away.
Climate of this sanctuary is somewhat moderate with temperature ranging from 110 C to 400 C. Hottest months are April and May and December to February is relatively cool.
Mean annual rainfall is 4000 mm, bulk of the showers are from southwest monsoon. The terrain is rugged and undulating altitude ranges from 60 m to 1589 m.
The forest of the sanctuary and the adjacent areas represent the only compact protected patch belonging to the unique vegetation type viz Dipterocarpus – MessuaPalaquim subtype. The forests are also contiguous with the Brahmagiri Sanctuary and forest of Koorg. Cheenkannipuzha, the major tributary of Valapattanam River originates from the forest of the sanctuary. This river is very crucial in controlling the Agro-economy and Fishery-economy of Kannur district and is the main source of drinking water to Kannur town.
Due to climatic altitudinal and edaphic factors the vegetation of the sanctuary is unique. The major vegetation types met with are: -
1. West coast tropical evergreen forest
2. West coast tropical semi-evergreen forest
3. South Indian moist deciduous forests, and
4. Southern Hilltop evergreen forests
Fauna is also very characteristic and is represented by both vertebrates and non-vertebrates.
(i) Mammals: - 46 species of mammals recorded which include elephant, Sambar, Barking deer and Mouse deer, Wild boar and Gaur. Tiger and Leopard are the predators. All the 5 primates and other arboreal animals such as Malabar Giant Squirrel (Ratufa indica) and Flying Squirrel (Petaurista petaurista) are present.
(ii) Amphibians: - 23 species are identified out of which 4 are endemic to Western Ghats
(iii) Reptiles: - Out of the 51 species of 12 families recorded, 11 are endemic to Western Ghats and 9 species are snakes. King Cobra is also found in the area.
(iv) Ave: - 207 species of birds are recorded out of which 14 species are endemic to Western Ghats and 21 are included in Sch I of WL (P) Act and 8 species are globally threatened.
(v) Fishes: - 39 species are recorded of which 2 species are new records to rivers of Kerala.
Out of the 172 species of Butterflies 12 are endemic to Western Ghats