Tiger heads the food chain in the ecosystem. But, the beastly craze of the erstwhile rulers and the commercial madness of the poachers, posed great threats, even to the very survival of tigers. Therefore the importance and need of preservation of wild life dawned on the government of India who in 1952 enunciated the new government policy for affording protection to wild life by its proper management for scientific study and for recreational purposes.
In November 1972, the Indian Wildlife Board chose ‘Tiger’ as the national animal of India. A national scheme called the ‘Project Tiger’ was launched to protect the tiger population in seven specially selected reserves for scientific, economic, aesthetic, cultural and ecological purposes. These seven reserves are Manas in Assam, Palamau in Bihar, Similipal in Odisha, Jim Corbet Nationl Park in U.P, Melghat in Maharashtra, Sunderbans in West Bengal and ‘Bandipur’ in Karnataka.
Bandipur National Park, located in the Chmarajanagar district of Karnatak is sprawled over an area of 890 square km, in the Western Ghats. It is linked up with Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary in the south and Wayanad Sanctuary in the southwest and Nagarhole Sanctuary in the north. Located in the Nilgiris, Bandipur is flanked by three rivers namely the Kabini, the Moyar and the Nugu.
The region has a warm climate with temperatures range within 24 to 28 degree Celsius. The best period to visit Bandipur is during October to March when the temperature remains within 25 to 11 degree celcius. Monsoon months should be avoided for torrential rain and summer months need to be avoided for threat of forest fire.Bandipur could be reached at a distance of 85 km from Mysore and 215 km from Bangaluru.
Because of its national recognition, Bandipur National Park draws tourists from India and abroad who get the opportunities of sighting the ‘king of the forest’, tiger from a closer distance. A predator cannot survive without prey. Thererfore,a visit to Bandipur National Park gives opportunities to visitors for availing the elephant or jeep safari and sight animals such as elephants, sambar, wild dog, cittal, sambar, giant squirrel, beer, python and a wide range of birds, reptiles and insects.
The mist or fog and the mystic of gods are the two rare features that the tourist could get, in visiting a hill peak named Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta, 15 km away from Bandipur. Himavad means fogin Kannada. This peak is always covered with fog and is therefore a very rare natural phenomenon to be experienced. Tourists can offer their prayers at the 700 yearsold temple of Lord Venugopala Swamy. There are about 200 villages adjoining the reserve areas that can be visited for witnessing the rural life of the people.
The gradual thinning away of flora and fauna is a great threat to the very survival of human beings. The restoration of bio-diversity is the need of the hour for ensuring a habitable environment for the posterity. Bandipur National Park is a remarkable milestone towards achieving this concerted human effort. Every global citizen conscious about bio-diversity, posterity and serenity of nature will never fail to pay visit to the first bio-diversity reserve of India, the Bandipur National Park.