The Athirappilly Falls is situated 1000 ft above sea level on the Chalakudy river, at the entrance to the Sholayar ranges of the Western Ghats, Athirappalli is a scenic combination of forests and little streams. Falling from a height of 80 feet, this is one of the largest waterfalls in the state. Many endangered and endemic species of flora and fauna are found in the forests of the Athirapilly-Vazhachal area. This area is the only place in the Western Ghats where four endangered hornbill species are seen. The Western Ghats is one of the most important biodiversity hot spot in the world. This valuable natural world is already degraded by mining and hydro electric projects. Environmentalists claim that Athirapally is a one-of its-kind riparian ecosystem in Kerala. V.S. Vijayan, Chairman of the Kerala State Biodiversity Board and former Director of the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON), Coimbatore, has been quoted in Down to Earth magazine as affirming that the Vazhachal forest division is the second most biodiverse area in the State. The International Bird Association has declared it an “Important Bird Area” and the Asian Nature Conservation Foundation has recommended that the area should be declared a sanctuary or a national park, he points out.