Located in Karnataka´s Kodagu and Mysore districts, the Nagarhole Tiger Reserve is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.
Examples of animal species that live in the park are the Bengal tiger, Asian elephant, Indian leopard, and Indian bison.
The park has a thriving forest, and undulating topography with hills and valleys bisected by small streams.
Previously, the protected area was known as the Rajiv Gandhi (Nagarhole) National Park. It was declared the 37th Tiger Reserve of India in 1999. In the past, the area was a hunting reserve for the members of the Wodeyar dynasty, which ruled the Kingdom of Mysore from 1399 to 1950 (except for a brief interruption in the 1700s).
The name Nagarhole comes from “naga” which means snake and “hole” which refers to the streams.
How large is the reserve?
The Nagarhole Tiger Reserve is 642.39 km2 (248.03 sq mi).
Coordinates: 12°3′36″N 76°9′4″E
The Nagarhole Tiger Reserve is 50 km from Mysore.
It was a private hunting ground for the Kings of Mysore until 1950. In 1955, it became a wildlife sanctuary covering 643.39 sq km. In 1988, the sanctuary was upgraded to National Park. In 1999, it became the 37th Tiger Reserve of India.
The Nagarhole Tiger Reserve is located north-west of Bandipur National Park, with the Kabini reservoir (a river dam) between them. It is also close to Bandipur National Park, Mudumalai National Park and the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary.
Geography & Climate
The Nagarhole Tiger Reserve includes part of the foothills of the Western Ghats. The lowest part of the reserve is 687 metres above sea level, while the highest point is at an altitude of 960 metres.
The average annual rainfall is 1,400 mm.
Examples of important water sources are the Lakshmmantirtha River, Sarati Hole, Nagar Hole, Balle Halla, and Kabini River. Many of the streams in the reserve are only seasonal, but there are four perennial streams and four small perennial lakes here, plus man-made structures such as the Taraka Dam and the Kabini Reservoir. Over 40 artificial tanks have been placed in the reserve.
The moist decidous forest characteristic of North Western Ghat dominates in the reserve, but not everywhere. The souther parts have a lot of teak and rosewood, while the easternmost areas have more pala indigo and thorny wattle; two species strongly associated with the Central Deccan Plateau´s decidous forest. The sub-montane valley swamp forest habitat is also represented.
Examples of mammal carnivores in this reserve:
- Bengal tiger
- Indian leopard
- Sloth bear
- Dhole (wild dog)
- Golden jackal
- Jungle cat
- Leopard cat
- Small Indian civet
- Asian palm civet
- Indian grey mongoose
- Indian brown mongoose
- Stripe-necked mongoose
The Nagarhole Tiger Reserve is home to Indian elephants (Elephas maximus indicus). This is one of three extant recognised subspecies of the Asian elephant.
Gray langur, bonnet macaque and slender loris live here.
Gaur, chital, sambar deer, barking deer, four-horned antelope are just a few examples of grazing animals in this reseve.
Over 270 species of bird have been identified in the reserve, and the location is recognized as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International. It is one of the few places where the Oriental
white-backed vulture still exists in the wild. (This species is listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List.)
Examples of snakes living in the reserve are bamboo pit viper, blue krait, Russell´s viper, Indian rock python, common wolf snake, and common vine snake.
The mugger crocodile, which can reach a lenght of 5 metres, lives in this reserve. The mugger crocodile is also known as the marsh crocodile, due to its fondness for marshes. It also inhabits lakes, rivers and even artifical ponds.
The Bengal monitor is a large lizard that mainly lives on the ground, but it can climb trees and young specimens are quite arboreal. It can grow up to 175 cm in lenght.
- Nearly a hundred different species of dung beetle have been identified in the reserve, includnig India´s largest beetle, the Heliocopris dominus which requires elephant dung to reproduce.
- 60 species of ant live here, including the jumping ants of the species Harpegnathos saltator which can jump up to a metre from the ground.
The 2012 wildfire
In January 2012, a massive wildfire engulfed over 6,000 acres of forest.
Elephants living in the reserve sometimes leave to eat crops grown by nearby villagers. In 2001, the Karnataka state government paid for the creation of elephant-proof trenches and installed solar fencing around the park to safeguard the farmers´s fields.