The Mundanthurai-Kalakad wildlife sanctuary in Tirunelveli district is developed as a National Tiger Reserve from the year 1988 with a total area of 817 sq. km in the south most western ghat ranges. The nearest stations are Cheranmahadevi, and Ambasamudaram which are 20kms and 15 kms respectively from Tirunelveli. The nearest airports are Madurai and Trivandrum. One can reach this place by road also from Ambasamudaram and Kalakad. Frequent buses are plying from Ambasamudaram and Kalakad to this place. Out of 817 sq. kms.459 sq.kms is in core zone and 358 sq.kms. is in buffer zone.
The mountainous undulating to topography is the characteristic feature leading to tropical dry deciduous forest on the lower slopes and tropical wet evergreen forests on the upper reaches.
The climate is dry humid and hot at plains and pleasant cold in the higher elevations. The reserve is the southernmost habitat of the tiger. Other predators like panthers, jungle cats, civets, dholes, jackals, striped hyenas are also found here.
India is the home of 18 non-human primate species of which five primates occur in this reserve namely lion-tailed macque, slender loris, Nilgiri langur common langur and bonnet macaque. Other endangered species found here are Nilgiri tahr, sloth bear, Indian bison, Indian elephant, Malabar giant squirrel, mouse deer, pangolin etc. In addition to that sambar wild boar, spotted deer, porcupine and mangooses are also found here.
We can also come across reptiles and amphibians like king cobra, common krait, russels, viper, darkpit viper, monitor lizard, garden lizard, tortoise, crocodiles and rare species of frogs. Regarding avifauna there are more than 80 species of birds found in this region. To mention a few spotted frequently here are egrets, herons, jungle fowl, spurfowl, partridge, quails, emerald dove, minivets, bee caters, sparrows, owls, night jars, kites, paradise flay catchers, and parakeets etc.
There are 24 identified nature trails which is spread over the reserve. It gives a thrilling experience to trekkers. This Tiger Reserve is open on all days between 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. throughout the year. However the best season is September to January. Forest Rest Houses and dormitories are available at Mundanthurai and Thalayanai.