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Bannerghatta National Park, about 22 km south of Bangalore along the Bangalore-Anekal Road, was declared a National Park in 1974 mainly for recreation purpose. The area has mostly dry deciduous forest and thorny scrub, with patches of moist deciduous Forest along the streams. A small portion in the north of the Park has been developed for tourism. This portion has a lion and tiger safari, herbivore safari, mini zoo, reptile park, museum and a picnic spot. Bamboo Dendrocalamus strictus brakes are common in the Park. A small area of the Park has plantations of Eucalyptus sp., Bauhinia purpurea, Samanea saman and Peltophorum pterocarpum.
AVIFAUNA: Bannerghatta NP has most of the representative birds of the Tropical Dry Deciduous forests of Biome-11. It also has some birds of Biome-10 (Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest). Among the threatened species are the Yellow-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus xantholaemus and two species of vultures Gyps bengalensis and Gyps indicus, which have now become extremely rare. No detailed study on bird life of Bannerghatta has been conducted, but Karthikeyan (2003) lists 195 species, including the Vulnerable Nilgiri Wood-Pigeon Columba elphinstonii. Earlier, George (1994) has also listed it from this site in his checklist of the birds of Bangalore. This large dark forest-haunting fruit pigeon is generally a bird of the Western Ghats from Kerala in the south to just beyond Mumbai in the north (Ali and Ripley 1987), but it also occurs in outliers chain of mountains wherever suitable fruiting trees are found. For example, BirdLife International (2001) has reported it from Nandi hills in Karnataka, and Shevaroy hills in Tamil Nadu, both quite far from the main Western Ghats. Birdlife International (undated) has identified 15 species in Biome-10 (Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest), out which five are found at this site. Similarly, 33 out of 59 species listed in Biome-11 (Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone) have been found till now. There are not many sites where so many species of tropical dry zone occur. Presence of five species of tropical moist forest (Small Green-billed Malkoha Phaenicophaeus viridirostris, Jerdon’s Nightjar Caprimulgus atripennis, White-cheeked Barbet Megalaima viridis, Yellow-browed Bulbul Iole indica and Indian Scimitar-babbler Pomatorhinus horsfieldii) is not unexpected as all of them have wide distribution in peninsular India and not strictly confined to the Western Ghats. Many migratory species occurring in other biomes are found here in winter. This site is designated as an IBA based on the presence of a good population of Yellow-throated bulbul and biome species.
OTHER KEY FAUNA: The Park is only 10,427 ha but it has wild Asian Elephants Elephas maximus. Bannerghatta is too small to hold elephants throughout the year. They generally come in to the Park in larger numbers during September-October and stay till March or so. In recent years, some elephants have been staying longer because the habitat has become more attractive (regeneration of the forest and waterholes) (R. Sukumar in litt. 2003). During winter, the maximum number reaches to about 100 elephants, may be about one fourth of this during other times. Other large mammals still found are Gaur Bos frontalis and Leopard Panthera pardus is the main predator. There is no sighting of Tiger Panthera tigris in recent years. Sambar Cervus unicolor, Spotted Deer Axis axis, Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak, Wild Boar Sus scrofa and Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus, along with other smaller mammals, are present.
Key contributors: S. Subramanya and the IBA team.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Bannerghatta National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 17/01/2022.