nagarhole national park

Image source: Jayanand Govindaraj

Region I- Coastal region

The district of Uttara Kannada and parts of Belgaum constitute the northern most sector of the hill tracts of Karnataka. In this region, as per observed data, the gaur are scattered, sambar are much more widely distributed. Wild pig is most abundant and spotted deer is seen in majority of areas.

Elephants are found scattered over a wide region. The Carnivores-tigers, panthers and wild dogs occur in low populations. This region was extremely rich in wild life in the past especially tiger and gaur.

Region II- Crestline of Western Ghats

This region lies south of Uttar Kannada. There is a narrow belt of forests following this crestline of Ghats. The vegetation ranges from evergreen to moist deciduous. Most of the major animals occur in this region but their population on the whole is very poor. Only a few isolated herds of elephants are found here.

The gaur and sambar are frequently seen while the spotted deer occurs sporadically. Barking deer and sloth bear are also reported to be present. Wild pig is omni present. The Carnivores- tigers, panthers and wild dogs are present but their occurrence rating is very low. This region is a poor habitat for most large herbivores and consequently for carnivores.

Region III – Malnad

This is characterised by dry and moist deciduous vegetation. The area is marked by conspicuous hills like the Bababudangiri range. This region has one of the best wildlife concentrations only second to Mysore plateau in the State, harbouring populations of elephants, gaur, sambar, spotted deer, wild pig etc.

The anthropogenic pressures over this area are much less and hence the wildlife is somewhat less molested. The presence of perennial rivers, reservoirs and plenty of bamboos, grass and other fodder species with a moderate rainfall makes this region an ideal habitat for elephants.

Region IV – Mysore plateau

The western edge of Mysore Plateau, flanked on three sides by the southern most ranges of the Sahyadris, Nilgiris and eastern spur of hills towards the Biligirirangan hills, is an undulating plain and is covered by moist and dry deciduous forests.This area has the richest wildlife concentrations in South India, harbouring large herds of elephants, spotted deer, wild pig, wild dog, sloth bear, gaur, sambar and occasionaly tigers and cats.

Region V- Kollegal Hills

This hilly area is an eastern spur of the Western Ghats. Apart from the moist deciduous or semi-evergreen forests on these hills, the rest of the region is covered by dry deciduous forest mostly degraded into scrub.Elephant, sambar, spotted deer, wild pig occur throughout this region. The wild dogs have fairly extensive distribution, though tiger, gaur and panther are much more restricted. Almost all the wild life species occur in this region in small numbers except elephants.

Region VI – Maidan

There is very little forest in the Maidan areas on the Deccan Plateau and whatever is left is in highly degraded form. Ranebennur is notable for the occurrence of good herds of black bucks. Wolves are becoming rare but have been reported from several places in these plains.

Bangalore has a plethora of imposing sights, and one place that’s perpetually awash with tourists are the verdant Lalbagh Gardens. Acres of sprawling well – manicured lawns and exotic trees, Lal Bagh happens to be largest botanical garden in Bangalore. Yet, the general public is practically ignorant about the rare plants and trees grown here. Next to the library stands a gargantuan peepul tree. Known for its antiquity and veneration, the tree was planted in 228 BC and is still thriving .

Legend has it, that Prince Siddartha sat in meditation under the Bo tree for penance and enlightment . The “King of all Trees”, Peepul trees represent three major Gods – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. A Sanskrit sloka states that the root represents Vishnu and the top Shiva. To plant a peepul tree and build a platform is a sacred deed. The dry twigs of the tree are used in Homam. Its botanical name Ficus Religiosa signifies its religious importance .

Another fascinating tree named Krishna is given the botanical name “Ficus Krishnane”.  A tree of small habitat, it provides shade and has leaves that are folded and appear like small cones or cups known as Krishna’s buttercup. A few yards away is the exotic ‘ flame of the forest or Parrot tree’. This tree is sacred to the moon and Bhrama is said to have originated from the wings of a falcon impregnated with soma . That is why only the leaves of the tree are used to offer rice or ghee to the gods. The bright flowers have probably earned its name the “flame of the forest”.

Another tree in the shape of a human hand is a silk cotton tree called the “Bombax Ceiba”, whose habitat is the java forest. The monkey puzzled tree has a trunk full of big thorns . Neither birds nests nor monkeys can climb them.