The Bandipur National Park is situated in Karnataka, South India. It is one of the best known reserves in the whole of India and features as a very significant tiger reserve. It is also the largest protected are in the subcontinent, as it joins with Nagarhole National Park, Wynad Wildlife Sanctuary and Mudumalai National Park. As such, it covers a total area of 2183 square kilometres. It is part of a greater area (which includes the Western Ghats and Nilgiri sub-cluster) that is being considered as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

In 1931, the first sanctuary within this area was established. Over the years, it was extended and the Project Tiger initiative included. As a result, it is now an impressive size that is able to cater to the needs of the fauna and flora within its borders. As the park has grown, so has its population of Bengal Tigers, which are currently an endangered species.

The vegetation and animals live off the ample water supply of the Kabini River, Nagur River and Moyar River. The forests are dense, but many of the outskirts of the park have less concentrated plant growth, creating a variety of areas in which different types of animals can live, hunt and sleep.
Image of Chital (Axis Axis) doe in Bandipur National Park, India.
Chital (Axis Axis) doe in Bandipur National Park, India.

Some of the most popular floral species include Teak, Rosewood, Sandalwood and Indian Kino trees, as well as huge bamboo clumps, fruit trees and shrubs. Animals that intrigue young and old alike include Asian Elephants, Bengal Tigers, leopards, Sloth Bears, many snake species, Barking Deer, Gaur, Chital, hyenas, wild boars and Chevrotains. Panthers, crocodiles, pythons, Mouse Deer and osprey can also be found here and are all endangered species. Birdwatchers will no doubt spot some of the many avian species that soar overhead or perch in the boughs, including the Malabar Pied Hornbill, Red-headed Vulture, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Peacock, Woolly-necked Stork and so on. In addition, there are hundreds of butterfly species that are gorgeous to the untrained eye and fascinating to the expert.

One of the major issues faced by the Bandipur National Park is the increasing contact that is occurring between human beings and the Indian Elephants. As these giant wonders move through the area in search of food and along a set route, they are more and more often coming into contact with new human settlements. These settlements are usually farming communities. This means that elephants see them as an easy source of food, often eating much of the produce and destroying a lot more land by simply passing through it. Farmers have grown to fear or hate these elephants, and many animals have lost their lives as a result. Another threat is that of traffic. Wildlife from the park frequently cross major motorways and get killed by speeding vehicles. This has been addressed, but efforts have not yet worked in decreasing the numbers of deaths.

Several safari trips are conducted in the park in the early morning and late afternoon. Exploring the territory at these times allows passengers to have the opportunity to see as many of the different species as possible. These tours can be enjoyed from the comfort of a jeep, or atop an Asian Elephant for a completely new perspective.

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