Karnataka, a state in southern India, is known for its rich biodiversity and diverse ecosystems, which support a wide variety of wildlife species. Here are some of the prominent wildlife found in Karnataka:
- Indian Elephant (Elephas maximus): Karnataka is home to a significant population of Indian elephants. These majestic creatures can be found in several wildlife reserves and national parks in the state, such as Bandipur National Park, Nagarhole National Park, and Bannerghatta National Park.
- Tiger (Panthera tigris): Karnataka has a considerable tiger population, and it is one of the key states for tiger conservation in India. Bandipur National Park, Nagarahole National Park, and Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary are known for their tiger habitats. These big cats are a major attraction for wildlife enthusiasts.
- Leopard (Panthera pardus): Leopards are another prominent big cat species found in Karnataka. They are adaptable and can thrive in various habitats, including forests and scrublands. Kabini Wildlife Sanctuary, Sharavathi Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, and Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary are some of the places where leopards can be spotted.
- Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus): Karnataka is home to a significant population of sloth bears. These shaggy-coated bears are found in forests like Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary, Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary, and Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Indian Gaur (Bos gaurus): Indian Gaur, also known as the Indian bison, is the largest bovine species found in South Asia. Karnataka is one of the states where gaur can be spotted in protected areas like Bandipur National Park, Nagarahole National Park, and Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Sambar Deer (Rusa unicolor): Sambar deer, the largest deer species in India, are widespread in Karnataka’s forests. They can be found in various national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, including Bandipur National Park, Nagarahole National Park, and Anshi National Park.
- Lion-tailed Macaque (Macaca silenus): The lion-tailed macaque is an endangered primate species found in the Western Ghats of Karnataka. These unique-looking monkeys can be observed in forests like Sharavathi Valley Wildlife Sanctuary and Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Malabar Giant Squirrel (Ratufa indica): The Malabar Giant Squirrel is an eye-catching species known for its vibrant fur colors. It can be spotted in the forests of the Western Ghats, including protected areas like Nagarhole National Park and Bandipur National Park.
- Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata): The Indian Pangolin is a scaly mammal found in Karnataka. It is a critically endangered species and faces threats due to habitat loss and illegal hunting. Protected areas like Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and Bandipur National Park provide some refuge to these unique creatures.
- Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris): Karnataka is home to several crocodile habitats, and the Mugger crocodile can be found in rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. Places like Kabini River and Kali River are known for crocodile sightings.
These are just a few examples of the diverse wildlife found in Karnataka. The state’s varied ecosystems, including tropical forests, grasslands, and wetlands, provide habitats for a wide range of flora and fauna, making it a significant biodiversity hotspot in India.
Almost 22 percent of the total area of the state is covered in lush green forests. Karnataka is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. In fact, the highest density of tigers in the country can be found here. Also, a quarter of the world’s population of Asiatic elephants is present in this state. The Bandipur National Park is a playground for various wildlife with elephants taking the lead. One must visit the Rajiv Gandhi National Park in Nagarhole, which too is famous for elephants.
Other wildlife spots in the state are Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary, Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary, BRT Wildlife Sanctuary, Kokkrebellur Pelicanry, Kaggaladu Heronry, Bannerghatta National Park, Anshi National Park, Kudremukh National Park, Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, Ranibennur Blackbuck Sanctuary and Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary. The sanctuaries contain diverse mammals, birds and amphibians.
The wildlife tours of the state stretch from the evergreen forests of the Western Ghats to the scrub jungle of the plains. The Western Ghats are one of the planet’s bio-diversity hot spots and run approximately 1,600 kilometers through the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala. The largest proportion, about 45 percent, of the protected habitats in the Western Ghats are located within Karnataka.