About - This National Park was formed by including most of the forest areas of the then Venugopala Wildlife Park established under Govt. Notification dated 19th February 1941 and the area was enlarged in 1985 extending over an area of 874.20 Sq.Km and named as Bandipur National Park. This reserve was brought under Project Tiger in 1973. Subsequently some adjacent reserve forest areas were added to the reserve and extending to 880.02 Sq. Km. The present area under the control of Bandipur Tiger Reserve is 912.04 Sq. Km. An area of 39.80 Sq. Km of KFDC plantation area was handed over to this division during 2007-08. During 2010-11 the Nugu Wildlife Sanctuary was handed over to Wildlife Division, Mysore.
This National Park was formed by including most of the forest areas of the then Venugopala Wildlife Park established under Govt. Notification dated 19th February 1941 and the area was enlarged in 1985 extending over an area of 874.20 Sq.Km and named as Bandipur National Park. This reserve was brought under Project Tiger in 1973. Subsequently some adjacent reserve forest areas were added to the reserve and extending to 880.02 Sq. Km. The present area under the control of Bandipur Tiger Reserve is 912.04 Sq. Km. An area of 39.80 Sq. Km of KFDC plantation area was handed over to this division during 2007-08. During 2010-11 the Nugu Wildlife Sanctuary was handed over to Wildlife Division, Mysore.
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.
Bandipur Tiger Reserve formerly known as the Bandipur National Park since 1970’s came into being during the year 2007. The name is derived from a village called Bandipur where the administrative unit of the Tiger Reserve is located.
The Tiger Reserve is situated in the contiguous landscape spread in the two revenue districts of Southern Karnataka namely the Mysore (Nanjangud & H.D. Kote Taluks) and Chamarajanagar (Gundlupet Taluk). It is a distinctive landmass located at the tri-junction area of the States of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Lies between the North Latitudes 110 35’ 34” and 110 55’ 02” and between the East Longitudes 760 12’ 17” and 760 51’ 32” of Karnataka State in Southern India. Is part of the Western Ghats Tiger Landscape consisting of Mudumalai, Nagarahole Tiger Reserves and the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary. The South-Eastern portion of the Tiger Reserve gets connected to the adjoining Tiger landscape of BRT Tiger Reserve, M.M. Hills and Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary through the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve.
Under the Mysore Game and Forest Preservation and Regulation Act, 1931, initially an area of 90 Sq.Km. was declared as “Venugopala Wildlife Park” by the Princely State of Mysore in 1941. The area was increased to an extent of 800.00 Sq. Km by addition of adjoining forest areas in 1942. Of this, in the year 1973, an area of 683.52 Sq.Km., a potential Tiger habitat was brought under the ambitious “Project Tiger” and is one of the first Nine Tiger Reserves in the country.
During 1974, the initial notification of the National Park was issued. Subsequently, some more adjacent Reserve forest areas were added to the Tiger Reserve and was extended to 880.02 Sq. Km. The final notification of the Bandipur National Park was issued vide Government Order No. FEE 211 FWL 98 dated 17-6-2001. Of this, an area of 3.20 Sq.Km. in Begur Reserve Forest and 4.28 Sq.Km. from Katwal Reserve Forest have been excluded which were earlier released for tribal rehabilitation vide Government orders No. AFD 354 FGL 68 dated 31-10-1968 and AFD 372 FGL 69 dated
02-09-1969 respectively. In addition, an area of 0.30 Sq.Km. of forest land was set apart for the existing Sanctum Sanctorum of Gopalaswamy Betta Temple in Kaniyanapura block – II & III Reserved Forest. Thus, the Core/Critical Tiger habitat of the Reserve is 872.24 Sq. Km.
Approach & Access
A very convenient and easy approach to the Tiger Reserve exists through NH 67. Is located midway on NH 67 about 80.00 Km. from the heritage city of Mysore and the Nilgiri Hills Station Ooty. Regular State Transport buses, taxies and other modes of Road transport provide easy access. The nearest Airports are at Mysore (80 Km), Bengaluru (230.00 Km.) & Coimbatore (200 Km. in Tamil Nadu). In addition to the very limited staying facilities provided by the forest department, some additional facilities are available for the general public in the Buffer zone of the Tiger Reserve. The Reserve is well connected by the Wireless Network, Telephone and the Postal Services. The nearest townships are Gundlupet in Karnataka, Masinagudi and Gudalur in Tamil Nadu and Sulthan Bathery in Kerala with adequate availability of civic amenities.
Geology, Rock and Soil
The foot hill plains of Nilgiri hills abutting smaller hill ranges along with the main chain of Nilgiri Mountain range bordering Bandipur Tiger Reserve comprises of Achaean metamorphic rock which include Charnockite, Biotitic, Magnetite, Quartzite, Hornblende, Granulite, Pegmatite, and Dolerite and Quartz veins. Intensive bands of Charnockite forms bulk of the rock units in bordering Mudumalai Tiger Reserve area, extending in to the Bandipur Tiger Reserve. This hypersthenes-bearing bluish grey rock forms the basement in high-grade metamorphic terrain. The Charnockite has granolithic texture and contains quartz, feldspar, hypersthenes garnet and hornblende, Biotite, apatite and zircon as accessory minerals. Hornblende Granulite is found along the areas bordering Wayanad, extending into the Bandipur Tiger Reserve.
The underlying rocks belong mainly to the metamorphic formations of which Gneiss, Quartzite, Mica, Hornblende and Schists are found generally all over. The Igneous rocks, Granite and Charnockite are found intruding through the metamorphic rocks appear as out crops at higher levels and in the beds of water course. Quartz is a major component of the rock formations in the south east extreme of the Reserve in Kaniyanapura Block-II and III, Moyar Area and the fissile character of the Granite near Yelchatti is largely due to the banding of Quartz veins. A variety of Pinkish Grey Granite is seen in the beds of Heballa, Honnurhatti and Arekadu halla (Dr. Kadambi).
Two Principal types of Soil are –
- Clay soil, generally deep, mixed with nodular lime stone on undulating ground.
- Grey or Red Sandy loam on slopes and other well drained areas.
The soils are shallow on the hill tops and deep in valleys.
The substratum of clayey soils is generally a variety of white, soft, easily disintegrating rock in which feldspar predominates. The clayey soils are confined to low lying localities in patches. The substratum of loamy soils consists generally of metamorphic formations which are highly ferruginous. The reddish loam soils are the product of the process of weathering of these underlying ferruginous rocks. The best forest growth is found on deep well drained loamy soils.
There are patches of shale mixed with powdered quartz containing some minerals and salts which form the Natural Salt Licks for the Wild Animals. The one at Upneerhalla and some on Chammanalla road are good examples of this type.
Hydrology and Water Sources
The Reserve is located in Wayanad plateau, characterized by the presence of several Swamps and Vayals of varying size. These Vayals and Swamps serve as wallowing grounds for the herbivores like Sambar and Wild Boar and Tiger. The central part of the Reserve is slightly elevated with intermittent hills of moderate height, interspersed with several seasonal streams and a few perennial water sources, the prominent ones being the Moyar River originating from the Nilgiri Mountain Range near Pykara, meandering through the Reserve over a length of more than 20 Km. Moyar River is the major water source for the wildlife and people living in and around the Reserve. On the western part of the Reserve bordering Wayanad of Kerala, a river by name Noolpuza enters Karnataka State, known as Nugu hole. This traverses through the Reserve for more than 30 Km, ends up in the backwaters of Nugu dam. There are several other seasonal streams and rivulets viz. Mavinahalla, Shikkatihalla, Bidarahalla, Hebballa, Kekkanahalla, Vaddattihole, Waranchihole and Mukkattihole. However, water is available in the form of puddles to the wildlife throughout the year.
Three seasons are markedly noticed in the Reserve, the dry, the wet and the cold. The cold season starts in November and lasts up to mid February; later on the hot season commences and lasts up to middle of June. The coldest months are December and January and the hottest are March and April. The wet season starts in the middle of June with heavy pre-monsoon showers in April and May. The wet season lasts up to September. The North-East Monsoon starts from the mid of October lasting up to the mid November.
The climate is generally hot and dry in summer; with occasional pre-monsoon showers. The climate, on the whole, is generally healthy except in the South-Western portions of Beerambadi, Ainurmarigudi and Begur area.
Principal Forest Types- The forests of the Tiger Reserve are varied and rich. To the eastern most portions lie the scrub forests of Moyar. While the vegetation in the central portion of the Tiger Reserve viz., Kaniyanapura, Bandipur part of Beerambadi is dry deciduous, the vegetation in the western part of the reserve viz., Ainurmarigudi, Begur and Beerambadi is moist deciduous. The vegetation, therefore, changes from scrub type to moist deciduous type from east to west. These forests are classified as under:
- The Scrub type – (Group 5 – Sub-Group 5B- DSF-I-Dry deciduous scrub of Champion and Seth classification).
- Southern Tropical Dry and Deciduous type – (Group 5 – Sub-Group 5A Ci of Champion and Seth classification).
- South Tropical Moist Deciduous type – (Group-3-Sub-Group-3-B-Ci of Champion and Seth classification).
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The State Government under Section 38V of the Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Act, 2006 vide its order No. FEE 136 FWL 2008 dated 31-08-2010, notified an area of 584.06 Sq.Km. to be the Buffer Zone of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve. This consists of 118 villages in the taluks of Nanjangud, H.D. Kote and Gundlupet, Chamarajanagar of Mysore and Chamarajanagar District respectively spread over an area of 465.79 Sq.Km, 118.27 Sq.Km. of notified Reserved Forests and about 7850 Acres of revenue lands notified under Section 4 of Karnataka Forest Act, 1963 during February 2012.
The Buffer Zone of the Reserve starts from the North West corner of Keravadi village of H.D. Kote Taluk traversing along the Northern boundary of various villages in H.D. Kote Taluk ending in tri-junction point of Mullur, Chennegowdanahalli villages of H.D. Kote Taluk and Hediyala of Nanjangud taluk. From there on, traversing along the village boundaries of Gundlupet Taluk such as Hundipura, Shivapura, Belavadi, Kebbepura finally reaching Vaddaralli of Chamarajanagar Taluk and finally ends in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka State boundary.
The buffer zone chiefly consists of the forest areas spread over 118.27 Sq.Km.
Notified Forest Areas – 118.27 Sq. Kms.
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The Central Government vide notification SO 2364(E) dated 4th October, 2012 under the provisions of the Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986 (29 of 1986) subsection (1) read with clause (v) and clause (xiv) of sub-section (2) of section (3) and sub-rule (3) of rule 5 of the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986 have notified the Eco-Sensitive Zone of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve covering a geographical area of 597.45 Sq.Km. which includes 123 villages.
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