Did you know that you don’t have to travel very far to catch a glimpse of majestic elephants, tigers and other wild animals in their natural habitat? Karnataka is home to a number of wildlife sanctuaries and parks. A visit to one of these sanctuaries is a great weekend getaway.
Top Sanctuaries In Karnataka
Some of the most well-known Sanctuaries in Karnataka are:
Located 22km south of the city of Bangalore, this national park is one of the major tourist attractions of Bangalore. The park is spread over 25,000 acres and includes ten reserve forests in the Anekal range.
It was established in 1971. While a safari to spot lions and tigers is the main attraction of this park, it also houses a snake farm, crocodile farm and butterfly park.
This park is about 80km away from Mysore at the foothills of the Nilgiri ranges. It was set up in 1931 by the erstwhile Maharaja of Mysore.
Known as one of India’s most famous sanctuaries, the Bandipur National Park has played an important role in the project Tiger reserve.
Today, it houses over 70 tigers, more than 1000 elephants and many other wild animals including leopards, sloth bears and gaur.
Located between the Kodagu and Mysore district, the Nagarhole National Park is a distance of 95km from the city of Mysore. From being the exclusive hunting reserve of the wodeyar kings, it was converted to a sanctuary in 1955.
The park includes three forest ranges; the Kallahalla, Nagarhole and Thitimathi. Apart from its natural beauty, it is known for tigers, Asian elephants, leopards, cheetal and the barking deer. It is also home to over 270 bird species.
Kali Tiger Reserve Or Anshi National Park
The Kali Tiger Reserve was earlier known as the Anshi National Park. It is spread over 340 sq km in the Uttara Kannada district. The reserve was carved out of the Dandeli wildlife sanctuary in 1956. Apart from tigers, it is home to black panthers, elephants, sloth bears, the Indian bison, several varieties of deer and snakes. Over 200 bird species also live here.
Flanked by the Narasimha Parvatha in the north and the Jamalabad Fort in the south, this park is spread over 600.32 sq km. It is covered by thick forests and surrounded by tea and coffee plantations.
The park is home to the endangered lion-tailed macaque ad several large mammals including leopards, tigers and wild dogs.
This sanctuary gets its name from the 1607m tall Brahmagiri peak. It is spread over 181sq km in the Kodagu district. The sanctuary is home to several species of animals, birds and reptiles.
Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary
This sanctuary is spread over 1027.535 sq km in the Mandya, Chamarajanagar and Ramanagar districts. It is named after the Cauvery river that runs through it. The sanctuary is home to a number of mammals including elephants, bonnet macaques, spotted deer, wild boar, leopards and honey badgers.
The river itself houses several species of snakes as well as Indian mud turtles, mugger crocodiles and the mahseer fish. Apart from its fauna, the sanctuary is known for the Hogenakal falls, the Sangam of the Cauvery and Arkavathi rivers and Muthathi.
Spread over 866.41 sq km, this sanctuary in Uttara Kannada was originally part of the Anshi National Park. It is primarily an elephant reserve. This was the second sanctuary in Karnataka to be declared an elephant reserve.
It is also a bird watcher’s paradise as it is home to over 200 bird species including the Great Hornbill and the Malabar Pied Hornbill. Other animals spotted here include the black panther, tigers, Indian sloth bear, Indian pangolin and the barking deer.
This sanctuary was created exclusively for the preservation of sloth bears. Set in the Bellary district, it is spread of 55.887sq km. The sanctuary is about 15km from Hampi. The bears live in caves on the hillsides and can be spotted in the evenings from a watch tower opposite Karadikallu Gudda.
The Jayamangali blackbuck conservation reserve is located in Tumkur district. This 798 acre reserve has green grasslands and is home to the largest number of blackbucks in Karnataka second only to the Ranibennur Blackbuck Sanctuary.
Melkote Temple Wildlife Sanctuary
This sanctuary spread over 49.82sq km is located in the Mandya District. It was established to protect the Grey Wolf and is named after the Melkote temples. It is divided into two zones; Mudibetta and Narayandurga.
Mookambika Wildlife Sanctuary
This sanctuary in the Udupi district is spread over 247 sq km. it is 125km from Mangalore and divided into a core zone, buffer zone and tourist zone. The sanctuary is home to many different species of fauna and flora including the endangered cane turtle and rare species of the climber Coscinium fenestratum.
Spread over 92.65sq km in the Western Ghats, this sanctuary has grasslands and evergreen forests that are home to a variety of animals, reptiles and birds. It also has a number of impressive waterfalls.
This sanctuary houses the largest number of black bucks in Karnataka. Spread over 119sq km, it has a core zone of 14.87 sq km and a tourist zone of 104.13sq km. Apart from black bucks, the great Indian bustard and wolf can also be spotted here.
The Sharavathi Valley Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over 431.23 sq km. Of this, 123.63sq km is under the water spread area covered by the Sharavathi Reservoir. The sanctuary is known for its diverse flora and fauna. Wildlife spotted here include tigers, panthers, bison and spotted deer.
There are also a number of sanctuaries dedicated to the conservation of different bird species. Some of the best known amongst them are:
This is one of the two peacock sanctuaries in Karnataka. Located in the Haveri district, this is the second sanctuary in India to focus on the conservation of peacocks and their breeding.
It is spread over 139 acres and houses over 1000 peacocks and peahens as well as other bird species such as the great-horned owl, spotted maina, green bee eater, paradise flycatcher and Indian robin. The other peacock sanctuary is located in the Mandya district.
This sanctuary is best known for Painted Storks and Spot Billed Pelicans. The sanctuary is located in a village in the Mandya district. Apart from bird watching, this pace is also noted for the villager’s use of guano or bird droppings as manure for their farms.
Ramanagar Vulture Sanctuary
This is the only vulture sanctuary in Karnataka. The sanctuary is spread over 346.41 hectares in Ramadevara pada. The sanctuary houses around 25 critically-endangered Long-billed vultures. This area is also known as one of the shooting sites for the famous Sholay movie.
At a distance of 19 kms. from Mysore and4 Kms. from Srirangapatna, this bird sanctuary is a popular weekend getaway. It is spread across 6 islands in the Cauvery river.
The sanctuary is considered an important breeding and nesting ground for several migratory birds from North America, Australia and Siberia. Boat tours are arranged for bird watchers.
Other Must Visit Sancturies In Karnataka
- Attiveri Bird Sanctuary
- Bird Watching in Coorg
- Biligirirangan Hills
- Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary
- B R Hills
- Deva Raya Wildlife Sanctuary
- Gudavi Bird Sanctuary
- Kaggaladu Bird Sanctuary
- Magadi Bird Sanctuary
- Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary
- Shettihalli Wildlife Sanctuary, Shimoga
- Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary, Udupi
- Tyavarekoppa Lion and Tiger Reserve, Shimoga