Karnataka is abundant in flora and fauna. Apart from hill stations around Bangalore, the wild life parks in Karnataka provide a break and an exhilarating experience for wildlife conservationists and wildlife photography aficionados.
Located in Uttara Karnataka and along the river Kali, Dandeli and its adjoining national park are home to about 40 tigers. But the lush green forests of Dandeli are not just about tigers. Some of the inhabitants of this sanctuary are elephants, wild pigs, rare black panthers, wild dogs, monkeys, mongoose, and deer. Some of the other unusual mammals here are sloth bear, barking deer, the Indian Pangolin which is a giant ant-eater and the Malabar Giant Squirrel. It is also a bird watcher’s paradise with over 200 species of birds that create quite a spectacle between March and October. You can also get your adrenaline pumping with white water rafting here.
Ranganthittu – Just two hours and about 135 kilometres away from Bangalore, this place is a haven for birds from across the world. It is located on the banks of River Cauvery and is Asia’s most significant nesting ground for several species of birds – Painted Stork, Spoonbill, Whistling Duck, Egrets, Black Headed Ibis, Cormorants, Kingfishers, Herons, Darters, etc. Apart from birds, the sanctuary is home to animals like the Flying Fox, Bonnet Macaque, Indian Mongoose and Mugger Crocodiles. A good time to visit this place is between June and November. Most of the birds can be seen from December onwards. The bird sanctuary is very well maintained and a boat ride takes you around the place. The oarsmen double up as guides and are very knowledgeable.
The Bannerghatta Biological Park is 22 kilometres from Bangalore city. The national park is divided into different zones like the zoo, safari, Butterfly Park, a jungle retreat where you can stay and a Rescue Center to take care of animals. The duration of the safari is almost two hours and while the tourists are in an enclosed jeep, the animals are in their natural surrounding and you can almost always sight tigers, white tigers and lions. There is also a bear safari and herbivore safari where you can see barking deer, sambar, nil gay, and bison. There are 48 species of butterflies in the Butterfly Park and it’s an incredible experience to see the colours and hues of these ‘Flying Jewels.’
Bandipur was the private hunting ground of the Maharajas of Mysore. Bandipur, along with Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala and Nagarhole National Park in the North, creates India’s biggest biosphere reserve popularly known as the ‘Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve’. It is located near Mysore and is home to tigers, gaur (a type of bull), sambar, chital, mouse deer, four-horned antelope, wild dogs, wild boar, jackal, sloth bear, panther, Malabar squirrel, porcupines and the black-knapped hare. Birds like jungle fowl and green pigeon are also found here. You can take jeeps or cantors for the safari. Elephants with their herd are sighted on the road. You can go atop the watch tower and just enjoy the serenity of the jungle.