Bandipur National Park is one of India's best known protected areas and is an important Project Tiger reserve. It is located in the Chamarajanagar district of southern Karnataka in South India,
The park stretches over 874 square kilometres (337 sq mi), protecting the wildlife of Karnataka. Together with the adjoining Nagarhole National Park (643 km2 (248 sq mi)), Mudumalai National Park (320 km2 (120 sq mi)) and Wynad Wildlife Sanctuary (344 km2 (133 sq mi)), it forms the largest protected area in Southern India, totaling 2,183 km2 (843 sq mi). It is notable as the home to around seventy Bengal tigers and over three thousand Indian elephants (in 1997) Bandipur National Park is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.
The Western Ghats, Nilgiri Sub-Cluster (6,000+ km²), including all of Bandipur National Park, is under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for selection as a World Heritage Site.
A sanctuary of 90 km2 (35 sq mi) 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 km2 (310 sq mi). The Bandipur Tiger Reserve was established under Project Tiger in 1973 by carving out 880 km2 (340 sq mi) from the Wildlife Park. This park has boasted a constant rise in Tiger population since then. It is also famous for Sandalwood trees and rare species of Flora.
Bandipur National Park is located between 75° 12’ 17” E to 76° 51’ 32” E and 11° 35’ 34” N to 11° 57’ 02” N. Altitude of BNP is between 680 meters (2,231 ft) - 1,454 meters (4,770 ft) and is situated south of the Kabini river at the foothills of the Western Ghats.The rivers Kabini, Nagur and Moyar flow through the reserve. Winter minimum temperature is 10 degrees C., Summer maximum 28 degrees. The park is open throughout the year but the best time to visit is in monsoon from June to September 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.
Bandipur National Park is situated south of the Kabini river at the foothills of the Western Ghats.The rivers Kabini, Nagur and Moyar flow through the reserve. Winter minimum temperature is 10 degrees C., Summer maximum 28 degrees. The park is open throughout the year but the best time to visit is in monsoon from June to September 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.
There is a large population of Elephants in BNP. Significant numbers of Predator species of Mammals live in BNP including: Tiger, Leopard, Sloth Bear, Chevrotain, Dhole and Hyena. Prey species of grazing Ungulates including Gaur, Sambar (deer), Chital, Wild boar, Barking deer and Four-horned Antelope are common in B.N.P.
For 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. The National Highway 212 ( NH-212 ) passes through Bandipur national park . This road has been a major concern as speeding vehicles have killed many wild animals in spite of frequent warnings to travelers from the forest department officials and restriction on movement of vehicles in some stretches between 9 P.M to 6 A.M. This has raised fears of extinction of habitat of wild animals exclusively found in this national park.