The sanctuary area falls in Aralam, Kelakam and Kottiyoor revenue villages and is located in the Northwest slopes of Western Ghats contiguous with the forests of Coorg (Kodagu) district of Karnataka state.
The PA (Protected Area) is comprised of Aralam Range, the only Range of Aralam wildlife division, which is part of Northern Wildlife Circle (Northern Region) Palakkad. The extent of the sanctuary is 55 km2. Aralam wildlife sanctuary is the northernmost protected area of Kerala state, situated in the southeast part of Kannur District. It lies between 11? 54 and 11? 59 North latitude and 75? 47 and 75? 57 East longitude.
The sanctuary was constituted in the year 1984 as per GO (P) 300/84/AD dated 15-10-84.
It was formed by carving out areas from the Odanthode Malavaram of Thalassery special division which was an erstwhile private forest, subsequently taken over by Govt. as per the provisions of the Kerala Private Forests (Vesting and assignment) Act 1971 and from the Kottiyoor RF of Wayanad Forest Division.
The Vested Forest portion of the sanctuary is 32.64 km2 and the 22.36 km2 is part of Kottiyoor RF (Reserved Forest).
Till 30.6.98 this sanctuary was a Range in Wayanad Wildlife Division. It started functioning as an independent wildlife division since 1.7.98 as per GO (MS) 36/98 dated 27.5.98.
In the First Management Plan the entire area was divided in to two zones viz: the Core Zone and the Buffer Zone.