The Bandipur National Park (Also known as 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 Mountain ranges on the Mysore-Ooty highway in Karnataka, the Bandipur National Park was one among the nine originally constituted Project Tiger Reserves in India. The Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary covers an area of about 874.2 sq km and together with the adjoining 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 forms the 'Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve'- India's biggest biosphere reserve. In 1973, the Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary was declared a 'Tiger reserve' 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 sanctuary is counted among one of the best remaining habitats of the Asian elephants in the world. The visitors can enjoy an enchanting sight of large herds of elephant in the open forests of Bandipur in the wet season when water and forage are in plenty everywhere. Other major attractions of the Bandipur National Park are Tigers, whose number has risen significantly since 1973 (when the park was declared a tiger reserve).
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, Smooth-coated Otter, Common Palm Civet, Jungle Cat, Indian Palm Squirrel, Golden Jackal, Striped Hyena, Rusty-spotted Cat, Nilgiri Tahr (adjoining areas), Indian Porcupine, Golden Jackal, Indian Grey Mongoose, Bengal Fox, Ruddy Mongoose, Indian Elephant, Indian Pangolin, Nilgiri Langur, Tiger, Chital, Grizzled Indian Squirrel, Dhole- Asiatic Wild Dog, 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, 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 a little variety of turtles, frogs and amphibians.