Bandipur National Park and Tiger Reserve, Karnataka, India

Bandipur National Park and Tiger Reserve in Karnataka, India is home to 200 avian species and a large number of mammals of all shapes and sizes. It covers an area of about 874 square kilometers (337 squre miles), protecting several endangered species.

Bandipur National Park and Tiger Reserve was a part of the erstwhile Venugopal Wildlife Park which once stretched over nearly 800 square kilometer of tracts of magnificent forests in the South Indian states of Karnataka (Bandipur and Nagarhole), Tamil Nadu (Madumalai) and Kerala (Wayanad) and was used as a shooting preserve for the rulers of Mysore.

Established under the watchful eyes of the Maharajahs of Mysore, The Bandipur National Park was formally opened in the 1930s covering a small area of just 60 square kilometers in the shadow of the Western Ghats in Karnataka. With its inclusion in the Tiger Project in 1974 and formal establishment of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve the national park expanded to nearly 700 square kilometers.

Terrain, Climate and Vegetation

The undulating terrain consists of rocky hills and valleys composed of hard igneous and metamorphic rocks. Kabini, a major tributary of the Kaveri (Cauvery), is the most important river flowing through this region. The dam built over the Kabini in 1974 separates the Bandipur National Park and Tiger Reserve from the Nagarhole National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary. Bandipur National Park's extreme eastern fringe which receives the lowest rainfall consists of dry deciduous forests interspersed with tracts of open grassland. Thanks to heavier rainfall its southern part supports the growth of denser, greener forests of teak, sandalwood, rosewood and blackberry.

Nearly a third of the Bandipur National Park and Tiger Reserve (335 square kilometers) has been declared as a Wilderness Zone prohibiting tourism and forestry.

In the dry season including the months of March-April and October-November animals often move about in the belt of forests which once formed the Venugopal Wildlife Park in search of food and water.

The Fauna at Bandipur National Park

The Bandipur National Park and Tiger reserve along with the Nagarhole Wildlife Sanctuary is home to nearly 1000 elephants which are pretty evenly distributed in the monsoon once but tend to cluster around the Mulehole River and the Mastgudi region on the banks of the Kabini during the dry season. Another major wildlife attraction in the Bandipur National Park is the Gaur or Indian bison.

The Bandipur National Park is home to five species of dear the largest of them being the Sambhar which can be spotted in herds of 10 to 20 in monsoon in the evening time. A large number of Chital (India's most common deer species) also inhabit the Park. Other deer species include the faun colored Muntjac, the tiny, nocturnal, rabbit like mouse dear (Indian Chevrotain) and the Chausingha.

Other wildlife species include the striped hyena, black-naped hare, and Dhole (Indian wild). The Common Indian Monitor is the largest reptile to be found in the park while Common Langur and Bonnet Macaque are the two most common apes inhabiting Bandipur National Park.

Presence of over 200 avian species including Rock Pigeon, Alexandrine Parakeet, Doves and White-breasted kingfisher provides an added incentive for bird lovers and ornithologists from around the country.


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