Year of compilation: 2004
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.
Bannerghatta, like other protected areas of India, is besieged with problems, all anthropogenic. Its small population of 100 Asian Elephants (in peak period) is in constant conflict with neighbouring human habitations. Irate farmers electrocute elephants by illegally tapping power from the nearby Karnataka Power Transmission Lines. Elephant proof trenches have been laid around the 140 km long periphery of the Park, besides rubble walls and solar powered wire fences. But these have proved to be ineffective, so there is a proposal to erect a physical barrier of iron rods. Various animal rights organizations have come together to deal with the issue and have formed a group called the Protection of Elephants and Care of the Environment (PEACE). Illegal quarrying around the Park is another problem, causing irreplaceable damage to the ecosystem, and adversely affecting elephants, other wildlife and farmers. There are nearly 40 such illegal quarries. Based on petitions of local conservation NGOs, the Karnataka High Court directed the Central and state governments to take action against the illegal quarrying. Another problem that has come up recently is acquisition of 253 acres of land by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) adjoining Bannerghatta, for a firing range. The Wildlife Trust of India has petitioned the Karnataka High Court to stop setting up of this firing range.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Bannerghatta National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/05/2022.