Spread in a vast area, encompassing 874 square kilometers, Bandipur National Park is a great example of Project Tiger’s conservation efforts. This tiger reserve was utilized as a private hunting reserve by the Maharaja of Mysore in the earlier times. Along with Nagarhole National Park, Mudumalai National Park and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary; it forms a part of the highly renowned Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.
This whole reserve has earned acclaim due to its reputation as Southern India’s largest preserved area. A great example of Eco- conservation, the serene Bandipur National Park is situated along Karnataka’s Mysore-Ooty highway. The year 1973 heralded establishment of the beautiful Bandipur Tiger Reserve. Exquisitely managed, numerous biomes consisting of moist deciduous forests, dry deciduous forests and shrub lands flourish in the park. Home to a perfect tropical climate, its beauty is enhanced on account of the presence of many rivers. The northern end is witness to the Kabini River and the Moyar flows through the south of the park. In addition, the enchanting Nugu River flows through it. Many endangered and vulnerable species have garnered refuge here. Stringent efforts followed regarding conservation are extremely helpful in keeping the future of various species secure. A majestic sight awaits wildlife enthusiasts when they witness mighty elephants strolling in the park or the elusive tiger hunting its prey.
The lush environs of Bandipur are home to countless varieties of vegetation. Timber trees dot the surroundings and the common ones include Teak, Rosewood, Sandalwood, Indian – laurel, Indian Kino Tree, giant clumping bamboo, clumping bamboo, etc.
Several other sorts of fruit trees and shrubs also proliferate here such as Kadam tree, Indian Gooseberry, Indigo berry, Satinwood, Flame of the Forest and Black Cutch.
A favorite haunt of wildlife conservationists and photographers, Bandipur National Park contains a vast pool of highly endangered species. A rich diversity of mammals include large and medium sized mammals such as Indian elephants, gaurs, tigers, muggers, Indian rock-cut pythons, leopards, four-horned antelopes, sloth bears, gray langurs, wild boar and muntjac.
A bird watcher’s delight, nearly 200 species have been recorded here till date. Peafowl, grey jungle fowl, crows, drongos, honey buzzards, red-headed vultures, crested serpent eagles, changeable hawk-eagles, etc. have made the park their home. Numerous other sorts of fauna include reptile species such as monitor lizards, Indian chameleon, rat snake and butterflies like common rose, crimson rose and common jay.