Bandipur National ParkBandipur National Park is one of India's best known sanctuaries, and is an important Project Tiger reserve. It is located in the Chamarajanagar district of southern Karnataka in south India, and is contiguous with the Mudumalai National Park in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu, the Wynad Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala, and the Nagarhole National Park to the northwest. It is home to around seventy tigers and over three thousand Asian elephants , along with leopards, dholes, gaur and sloth bears. Bandipur is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The Western Ghats, Nilgiri Sub-Cluster (6,000+ km˛), including all of Bandipur National Park, is under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for selection as a World Heritage Site.
HistoryA sanctuary of 90 km˛ was created at this site in the Bandipur Reserve Forest in 1931. As it was realised that this was too small for effective wildlife conservation, leading to the instituting of the Venugopala Wildlife Park at this site, extending over 800 km˛. The Bandipur Tiger Reserve was constituted in 1973 by carving out 880 km˛ from the Wildlife Park. Recognised under Project Tiger in 1973 this park has boasted constant rise in Tiger population. Also famous for Sandalwood trees and rare species of Flora.
Major faunaTiger, Leopard, Elephant, Gaur, Sambar (deer), Chital, Sloth bear, Mouse deer, Wild dog, Wild boar, Barking deer, Four horned Antelope, Hyena.
Endangered species : Tiger, Four horned Antelope, Gaur, Elephant, Panther, Sloth bear, Crocodiles, Mouse deer, Python, Osprey, Indian Peafowl.
Birds: Grey Junglefowl, Pompadour Green Pigeon, Honey Buzzard, Red-headed Vulture, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Brown Hawk Owl, Bay Owl, Malabar Trogon, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Little Spiderhunter, Plain Flowerpecker.
Reptiles: King Cobra, Common Cobra, Python, Adder, Viper, Rat Snake, Water Snake, Marsh Crocodile, Lizard, Chameleon, Monitor Lizard, Frog, Tree frog, Toad and Tortoise.
GeographyBandipur National Park's altitude between 680-1454 metres and is situated south of the Kabini river at the foothills of the Western Ghats.The rivers of Kabini, Nagur and Moyar flow through the reserve. Climate - Winter minimum 10, Summer maximum 28 degrees, Monsoon from June to September and best time to visit is open throughout the year but preferably in monsoon when wildlife is plenty and forest is green. Greenery is quite lean when viewed from road but gets thicker as we proceed into the forest.
Accommodation In BandipurThe government of Karnataka provides spacious and comfortable accommodation at Bandipur National Park. The rates charged are quite reasonable, but frequently all rooms are booked well in advance. There are many resorts near Bandipur including the Country Club, Tusker trials, and Jungle Lodges etc. These are luxurious resorts with relatively high prices. Mudumalai is the Tamilnadu part of the forest where accommodation is available at lower prices. Mudumalai is 20 km from Bandipur, and there are many resorts at Mudumalai. To name a few; Jungle Hut, Green Park, Jungle Retreat, Bear Mountain, Casa Deepwoods etc. Jungle home is near Bandipur on Mudumalai to Gudalur road in the crucial elephant habitat zone. It is a cottage near the forest which offers comfortable, clean accomdation at low rates. Elephant spottings are very common in this area. Leopards are also seen frequently; almost once a week. Jungle home also has a river attached campus surrounded by forest on three sides, making it especially suited for activities such as fishing and bird watching.
Conflicts and threatsFor farmers in the 200 villages along the Bandipur forest periphery, the National Park is a vast pasture for grazing cattle and for collection of firewood and other forest produce. The reserve holds nearly 1.50 lakh cattle. The Nugu wildlife sanctuary and Himavad Gopalaswamy range located in the north-west of the park are the most cattle infested. There are fears of possible transmission of diseases from cattle to wildlife. In 1968, large numbers of gaur were killed in an outbreak of rinderpest. Lantana bush introduced by British in 19th century in tea gardens has spread rapidly at the cost of other valuable herbs and saplings. This bush is thorny, attracts mosquitoes, is not eaten by any herbivores and rapid spread has caused other species of fauna to vanish which is staple food for wild life. Rapid spread of Parthenium (Parthenium hysterophorus) has severely damaged bio-diversity and typical landscapes of this beautiful jungle is making way for this invasive weed.
Elephants which traditionally migrate from dry to moist zones now increasingly come into contact with human habitations and farms are often damaged. Sugarcane crops are particularly attractive to them. Off-lately road has been a major concern as speeding vehicles have killed many wild animals in spite of frequent warnings to travellers from forest department officials.
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