The Maharaja of the Kingdom of Mysore created a sanctuary of 90 km2 (35 sq mi) in 1931 and named it the Venugopala Wildlife Park. The Bandipur Tiger Reserve was established under Project Tiger in 1973 by adding nearly 800 km2 (310 sq mi) to the Venugopala Wildlife park.
Bandipur National Park located between 75° 12’ 17” E to 76° 51’ 32” E and 11° 35’ 34” N to 11° 57’ 02” N where the Deccan Plateau meets the Western Ghats and the altitude of the park ranges from 680 meters (2,230 ft) to 1,454 meters (4,770 ft). As a result, the park has a variety of biomes including dry deciduous forests, moist deciduous forests and shrublands. The wide range of habitats help support a diverse range of organisms. The park is flanked by the Kabini river in the north and the Moyar river in the south. The Nugu river runs through the park. The highest point in the park is on a hill called Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta, where there is a Hindu temple at the summit. Bandipur has typical tropical climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. The dry and hot period usually begins in early March and can last till the arrival of the monsoon rains in June.
Bandipur National Park helps protect several species of India's endangered wildlife and also provides refuge to other threatened and vulnerable species of flora and fauna.
Bandipur supports a wide range of timber trees including: teak (Tectona grandis), rosewood (Dalbergia latifolia), sandalwood (Santalum album V), Indian-laurel (Terminalia tomentosa), Indian kino tree (Pterocarpus marsupium), giant clumping bamboo (Dendrocalamus strictus), clumping bamboo (Bambusa arundinacea) and Grewia tiliaefolia.
There are also several notable flowering and fruiting trees and shrubs including: kadam tree (Adina cordifolia), Indian gooseberry (Emblica officinalis), crape-myrtle (Lagerstroemia lanceolata), axlewood (Anogeissus latifolia), black myrobalan (Terminalia chebula), Schleichera trijuga, Odina wodiar, flame of the forest (Butea monosperma), golden shower tree (Cassia fistula), satinwood (Chloroxylon swietenia), black cutch (Acacia catechu), Shorea talura (E), indigoberry (Randia uliginosa)
Bandipur supports a good population of endangered and vulnerable species like Indian elephants, gaurs, tigers, sloth bears, muggers, Indian rock pythons, four-horned antelopes, jackals and dholes.
The commonly seen mammals along the public access roads in the park include chital, gray langurs, Indian giant squirrels and elephants. A list of medium to large-sized mammals in the park is given in the following census table published in 1997:
Peafowl are among the most commonly seen birds in Bandipur along with grey junglefowl, crows and drongos. Bandipur is home to over 200 species of birds including honey buzzards, red-headed vultures, Indian vultures, flowerpeckers, hoopoes, Indian rollers, brown fish owls, crested serpent eagles, changeable hawk-eagles, bee-eaters and a whole lot of kingfishers and ospreyss are a common sight in winter.
Reptile species include spectacled cobra, Indian rock python, vipers, rat snake, muggers, monitor lizards, Indian chameleon, Indian pond terrapin, agamids and flying lizards.
Butterflies include common rose, crimson rose, common jay, tailed, lime butterfly, Malabar raven, common Mormon, red Helen, blue Mormon, southern birdwing, common wanderer, mottled emigrant, common grass yellow, spotless grass yellow, one spot grass yellow, Nilgiri clouded yellow, common Jezebel, Psyche, common gull, caper white or pioneer, small orange tip or lesser orange tip, white orange tip, large salmon Arab, common evening brown, great evening brown, common palmfly, common bushbrown, glad eye bushbrowm, red disk bushbrown, red eye bushbrown, Lepcha bushbrown, nigger, common threering, common fourring, common fivering, tawny coster, rustic, common leopard, Indian fritillary, common sailer, colour sergeant, chestnutstreaked sailer, grey count, red baron or baronet, angled castor, common castor, yellow pansy, lemon pansy, peacock pansy, chocolate pansy, orange pansy, blue pansy, grey pansy, blue admiral, glassy blue tiger, blue tiger, dark blue tiger, plain tiger, striped tiger/ common tiger, Danaid eggfly, great eggfly, common crow, brown king crow, common Pierrot, angled Pierrot, banded blue Pierrot, striped Pierrot, dark Pierrot, red Pierrot, lime blue, zebra blue, gram blue, common cerulean, tiny grass blue, dark grass blue, Indian cupid, large four-line blue, common silverline, plum Judy, plain scupid, pea blue, metallic cerulean, chestnut Bob, dark palm dart, brown awl
Ant species include Anenictus sp1, Anoplolepis longipes,Camponotus parius, Crematogaster biroi, Crematogaster sp 1*, Crematogaster sp 2*, Diacamma rugosum, Lepisiota capensis,Leptogenys chinesis, Leptogenys coonorensis, Leptogenys diminuta, Lophomyrmex quadripinosus, Meranoplus bicolor, Monomorium indicum, Myrmicaria striata, Myrmicaria brunnea, Oligomyrmex wroughtonii, Pachycondyla sp1*, Paratrechina sp1*, Pheidole sharpi, Pheidole sp1*, Pheidole sp2*, Pheidologeton diverus, Polyrhachis exercita, Solenopsis geminate, Tetraponera rufonigra, Tetraponera sp1* (* New species yet to be identified.)
Dung beetles include Catharsius granulatus *, Copris indicus *, Oniticellus cinctus*, Onitis singhalensis *, Onthophagus beesoni*, Onthophagus ensifer *, Onthophagus rana *, Onthophagus sp.107* #, Onthophagus tarandus*, Picnopanaleus rotundus, Caccobius diminutives, Caccobius ultor, Copris furciceps, Copris sp.1#, Heliocopris dominus, Pseudonthophagus sp.2#, Sisyphus neglectus, Caccobius inermis, Caccobius meridionalis., Caccobius torticornis, Caccobius sp.1#, Copris sodalist, Onthophagus socialis, Onthophagus sp.301#, Onitis phelemon, Onthophagus furcillifer, Caccobius gallinus, Onthophagus rufulgens, Onthophagus sp.302#, Copris repertus, Pseudonthophagus sp.1#, Copris davisoni, Onitis falcatus, Onthophagus turbatus, Copris imitans, Onthophagus quadridentatus, Caccobius vulcanus, Liatongus affinis, Oniticellus spinipes, Sisyphus longipus, Onthophagus dama (* extremely rare (Represented by a single specimen in the collection), # New species yet to be identified.
For farmers in the 200 villages along the Bandipur forest periphery, the national park is a vast pasture for grazing cattle and for collection of firewood and other forest produce. The reserve holds nearly 150,000 cattle. The Nugu wildlife sanctuary and Himavad Gopalaswamy range located in the north-west of the park are the most used by cattle.
There are fears of possible transmission of diseases from cattle to wildlife. In 1968, large numbers of gaur were killed in an outbreak of rinderpest. Lantana bush introduced by British in the 19th century in tea gardens has spread rapidly at the cost of other valuable herbs and saplings. This bush is thorny, attracts mosquitoes, is not eaten by any herbivores and rapid spread has caused other species of fauna to vanish which is staple food for wild life. Rapid spread of Parthenium (Parthenium hysterophorus) has severely damaged bio-diversity and typical landscapes of this beautiful jungle is making way for this invasive weed.
Elephants which traditionally migrate from dry to moist zones now increasingly come into contact with human habitations and farms are often damaged. Sugarcane crops are particularly attractive to them.
The National Highway (NH-67) &( NH-212 ) passes through Bandipur national park . This road has been a major concern as speeding vehicles have killed many wild animals in spite of frequent warnings to travelers from the forest department officials and restriction on movement of vehicles in some stretches between 6 P.M to 6 A.M. This has raised fears of extinction of habitat of wild animals exclusively found in this national park..