The Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary is regarded as one of the most beautiful and the better-managed national parks of India. Located amidst the picturesque surroundings of the towering Western Ghat Mountains on the Mysore-Ooty highway in Karnataka, the Bandipur National Park is at a distance of about 80 Km from Mysore and Ooty and 215 km from Bangalore, the Capital city of Karnataka. Created in 1930's from the hunting lands of maharaja Voodiyar, the Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary covers an area of about 874.2 sq km. The Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary was expanded in 1941 to adjoin the Madumalai Wildlife Sanctuary of Tamil Nadu in the South, the Wayanad Sanctuary of Kerala in the Southwest and the Nagarhole National Park in the North to create the India's biggest biosphere reserve popularly known as the 'Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve'. In 1973, the Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary was declared as one of the nine tiger reserves of India under the famous Project Tiger Plan. And soon in 1974, under the Wildlife Protection Act, the sanctuary attained the status of a National Park. The Bandipur National Park occupies a special place in India's efforts towards Eco-conservation.
Endowed with a moderate climate and diverse geographical features, the Bandipur National Park supports a wide variety of flora and fauna. The vegetation of the Bandipur National Park ranges from deciduous and evergreen forest covers to open grassy woodlands. Two of the most valuable timber trees of India- the rosewood and teak- grow abundantly in the park. For your ease the wildlife in the Bandipur National Park can be divided into the following categories.
The Mammals: The Bandipur National Park supports and shelters a variety of wildlife. The park is one of the finest and most accessible habitats of the Asiatic elephant and also one of the best remaining habitats of the Asian elephant in the world. The most prominent wildlife in the Bandipur National Park include the Asian elephant, Bonner Macaque, Jungle Cat, Wild Boar, Indian Palm Squirrel, Golden Jackal, Indian Grey Mongoose, Bengal Fox, Ruddy Mongoose, Indian Elephant, Indian Pangolin, Langur, Tiger, Chital, Grizzled Indian Squirrel, Dhole, Sloth Bear, Leopard Cat, Stripe-necked Mongoose, Gaur, Lion-tailed Macaque, Leopard and Four-horned Antelope.
The Birds: The Bandipur National Park also has a sizable population of birds. Over 200 species of birds have already been spotted and identified in the park, enough to attract thousands of ornithologists and bird lovers to the park. The Kabini Dam and backwaters of the Kabini River, which flows north of the Bandipur National Park, attracts huge flocks of birds. The most commonly noticed birds in the Bandipur National Park are Peafowl and the game birds like the Grey Jungle Fowl, Red Spur Fowl etc. Among the woodland birds category the Hawk Eagle, Serpent Eagle, Scops Owl, the yellow-legged Green Pigeon, Parakeets, Woodpeckers, Barbets, Hornbills, Drongos, Scarlet Minivets, and Warblers are the easily seen birds in the Bandipur National Park.
Other major bird species seen in the Bandipur National Park include Black Woodpeckers, Blue-bearded Bee-Eaters, Cormorants, Crested Hawk Eagles, Ducks, Gray Partridges, Gray Headed Firhings, Honey Buzzards, Malabar Pied Hornbills, Hill Mynas, King Vultures, Malabar Trogon, Ospreys, Indian Pittas, Park Malabar Trogon, Parakeets, Paradise Flycatchers, Teals, Herons, Waders, Red Spur Fowl, Shaheen Falcons, Scarlet Minivets, Scimitar Babbler, Fairy Blue Birds, Scimitar Babblers, Malabar Whistling Thrushes, Green Imperial Pigeons, Nightjars and Owls.
The Reptiles: The reptile population in the Bandipur National Park includes the Marsh Crocodile, Monitor Lizard, Rock Python, Bamboo Pit Snake, Rat Snake, Wolf Snake, Vine Snake, Common Krait, and Russell's Viper. The park also houses few variety of turtles, frogs are and amphibians.
Wildlife safaris available at the park are other major attractions at the Bandipur National Park. The visitors can enjoy an elephant or jeep safari to explore the natural wealth of the park. The open grassy woodland with enchanting scenery of mountains, gorges and undisturbed forests, makes Bandipur National Park an exotic paradise for wildlife lovers, a unique and pleasant place to holiday in.