Sunday, 21 February 2016 11:29

Bandipur National Park (Chamarajanagar District, Karnataka)

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Changeable Hawk-Eagles, Bandipur National Park Changeable Hawk-Eagles, Bandipur National Park

Bandipur National Park established in 1974 as a tiger reserve under Project Tiger, is a national park located in the south Indian state of Karnataka. It was once a private hunting reserve for the Maharaja of the Kingdom of Mysore but has now been upgraded to Bandipur Tiger Reserve. Bandipur is known for its wildlife and has many types of biomes, but dry deciduous forest is dominant.

The park spans an area of 874 square kilometers (337 sq mi), protecting several species of India's endangered wildlife. Together with the adjoining Nagarhole National Park (643 km2 (248 sq mi)), Mudumalai National Park (320 km2 (120 sq mi)) and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (344 km2 (133 sq mi)), it is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve totaling 2,183 km2 (843 sq mi) making it the largest protected area in southern India and largest habitate of wild elephants in south Asia.

Bandipur is located in Gundlupet taluq of Chamarajanagar district. It is about 80 kilometers (50 mi) from the city of Mysore on the route to a major tourist destination of Ooty. As a result, Bandipur sees a lot of tourist traffic and there are many wildlife fatalities caused by speeding vehicles that are reported each year. There is a ban on traffic from 9 pm to 6 am of dusk to dawn to help bring down the death rate of wildlife.

Fauna: Bandipur supports a good population of endangered and vulnerable species like Indian elephants, gaurs, tigers, sloth bears, muggers, Indian rock pythons, four-horned antelopes, jackals and dholes.

Mammals: The commonly seen mammals along the public access roads in the park include chital, gray langurs, Indian giant squirrels and elephants. 

Birds: Peafowl are among the most commonly seen birds in Bandipur along with grey junglefowl, crows and drongos. Bandipur is home to over 200 species of birds including honey buzzards, red-headed vultures, Indian vultures, flowerpeckers, hoopoes, Indian rollers, brown fish owls, crested serpent eagles, changeable hawk-eagles, bee-eaters and a whole lot of kingfishers and Ospreyss are a common sight in winter.

Reptile species include spectacled cobra, Indian rock python, vipers, rat snake, muggers, monitor lizards, Indian chameleon, Indian pond terrapin, agamids and flying lizards.

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