Description of the Tiger Conservation Unit/Landscape
The Bandipur, Nagarahole, Wayanad, Mudumalai and Sathyamangalam Tiger Landscape is spread across the states of Karnataka (Bandipur-Nagarahole), Tamil Nadu (Mudumalai-Sathyamangalam) and Kerala (Wayanad). Is a fine example of managing inter-state Tiger Reserves for the long term Conservation of Tiger Source Population. During 2010-11, Camera trap exercise along the Segur plateau-Moyar Gorge-Sathyamangalam region of Tamil Nadu gave evidence of resident Tiger population as well as the possible movement of individuals between this region and the BRT Tiger Reserve and onward to M.M. Hills & Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuaries. This landscape showed an overall increase in the Tiger occupancy in 2010 as compared to 2006 All India Tiger Estimation Exercise. The Tiger population on the Karnataka side (Nagarahole, Bandipur, BRT Tiger Reserves, M.M. Hills & Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary and adjoining forest) was estimated at 231 Tigers (214-249) covering an area of 4,460 Sq. Km. Since, this Tiger population is contiguous with Mudumalai in Tamil Nadu and Wayanad in Kerala, and move across the state boundaries, this Tiger number is not unique to Karnataka, but are indicative for the state. The Bandipur Tiger Reserve along with Nagarahole, Mudumalai, Sathyamangalam & Wayanad Landscape is the source population in the Western Ghats landscape complex with an estimated Tiger population of about 382 (354-411), constitutes the single largest Wild population of Tigers in the world (Jhala et al, 2011). Currently, with the occupancy of Tigers over an area of 21,435 km2, comprising 21% of the total forested area of the Western Ghats this landscape complex holds 1/8th of world’s Tiger population (1/4th of India’s Tiger population) i.e. around 534 Tigers (500-568), an increase of 29.6% over the 2006 estimates of 412 Tigers (India: Tiger Estimate 2010, Ministry of Environment and Forests).
The Bandipur Tiger Reserve forms a very important component of 5520.00 Sq. Km. landscape, the first Biosphere Reserve in the country i.e. Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (Notified on 01-09-1986 vide order No. J.22010/6/86.CSC, Government of India under the Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme of the IUCN). This Landscape of Bandipur, Nagarahole, Mudumalai & Wayanad complex is home to single largest Asian Elephant population in the world (Varma et al. 2005) and is part of the Mysore Elephant Reserve (MER) notified vide notification No. FEE 231 FWL 2000, Dated 25-11-2002. The Reserve is endowed with rich floral and faunal diversity and is recognized as one of the Mega Biodiversity Areas in the country. The Tiger and the Elephants are the flagship and umbrella species for the conservation of all the Biota that this ecosystem represents. The viable population of these two species is indicative of a healthy Ecosystem.
Biogeographically, Bandipur Tiger Reserve lies in one of the richest biodiversity areas of our country representing “5 B Western Ghats Mountains Biogeography Zone” (Rodgers & Panwar, 1988), surrounded by Mudumalai Tiger Reserve in the South, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in the South West & on the North West Side the Kabini Reservoir separates the Bandipur and Nagarahole Tiger Reserve. The Northern side of the Tiger Reserve is surrounded by human dominated landscape with villages and agricultural lands.