The grizzled squirrel is a giant species of squirrel that is considered rare. They do have large populations in a few areas in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. However, there is only one sanctuary dedicated to the protection of this species and it is right here in Tamil Nadu. Located 557kms from Chennai, near the Madurai District, the Srivilliputhur Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary has been around since 1988 and is a major tourist attraction.
The Grizzled Squirrel has been named a ‘Threatened Species’ by the IUCN redlist. They weigh around 1.3kgs and are atleast four times larger than a regular squirrel. The Srivilliputhur Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary has been putting in efforts to conserve the species and create awareness of its population decrease. They have watchtowers in specific parts of the sanctuary where these squirrels can be spotted. Bill boards with information about the squirrel can be found throughout the 480 square kilometer area the sanctuary lies in. They restrict the use of plastic products within the sanctuary and are very strict about littering.
Due to its proximity to the Periyar Tiger Reserve, the Srivilliputhur Grizzled Squirrel Sanctuary is also home to other threatened species like black leopards, lion-tailed Macaques and sloth bears. They have trails that you hike on for a thorough jungle experience and even offer safaris for INR 300 per person.