Nagarhole National Park, also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park is spread between Kodagu and Mysore district of Karnataka State in India. Bandipur National Park is located to the south of this park and picturesque Kabini reservoir separates these two. Together with Bandipur National Park, Mudumalai National Park and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, the park forms the largest protected forest in southern India. This national park falls under Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and one of the bio-diversity hotspot of the country. This 643 Sq. Km. National park was established as Wildlife Sanctuary in the year 1955 and later in the year 1988 it converted into National Park. Originally the forest was the hunting reserve of the Maharajas of Mysore. The park got its name from the combination of two Kannada words, ‘Nagar’ means snake and ‘Hole’ means stream. The landscape of the park comprises of gentle slopes and shallow valleys with thick forest cover. Some rivers like Kabini & Lakshmmantirtha, numerous reservoir and other perennial streams crisscrossing the park area are the source of water for wildlife and is one of the reasons for developing rich ecological heritage within the park. The area receives more than 1400 mm of rainfall annually which shaped its natural forest in very vibrant way. Due to its presence within Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and proximity of Western Ghats hills, numerous endemic mammalian and avifaunal species flourished in the area.
Flora and Fauna:
The vegetation of Nagarhole National Park consists of mainly Mixed Deciduous Forest, Dry Tropical Forest and Swamp Forest. The forest ranges the foothills of the Western Ghats spreading over to the hillside and south towards Kerala. Main trees found in the park area are Rosewood, Teak, Sandalwood and Silver Oak. More than 30 species of Mammals are found in the park. Tiger is the main carnivores species of the park and attracts thousands of people every year to this area. Wild Dog or Dhole is found in good numbers in pack. Elusive Leopard is also not very difficult to spot. Other big carnivores found here are Jackals and Stripped Hyena. Wild Boar is plenty in the park. The park has got large number of Gaur and Asian Elephant which are found in abundance. Herbivores species like Spotted Deer or Chital, Sambar, Barking Deer, Four-horned Antelope and Mouse Deer present in the park makes a good pray base for carnivores species. Other notable mammalian species found in the park are Common Palm Civet, Brown Mongoose, Black-napped Hare, Indian Pangolin, Red Giant Flying Squirrel, Porcupine, Common Langur, Bonnet Macaque, Jungle Cat, Leopard Cat, Slender Loris, Common Otter etc.
The park is a important bird area of the region which shelters more than 270 species of birds including some endemic species like Malabar Parakeet, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Malabar Grey Hornbill etc. Other notable avifaunal species recorded from the area are White-rumped Vulture, Lesser Adjutant, Greater Spotted Eagle, Red-headed Vulture, White-bellied Treepie, White-cheeked Barbet, Indian Scimitar Babbler, Malabar Whistling Thrush, Painted Bush Quail, Sirkeer Malkoha, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Black and Orange Flycatcher etc.
Western Ghats are famous for its reptilian species. Some of the interesting snake species found here are Common vine Snake, Common Wolf Snake, Bamboo Pit Viper, Russell's Viper, King Cobra, Indian rock python etc.