Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary

Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary

Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary (Bandipur Tiger Reserve)

Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the most popular sanctuaries located in the midst of beautiful Western Ghat mountain ranges in Karnataka, India. Its rich biodiversity and verdant landscapes never fail to impress tourists and nature enthusiasts alike.


Sprawled across an area of over 490 sq km, Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the Chikkamagaluru and Shivamogga districts of Karnataka. It is a part of the larger Bhadra river basin region, set against the backdrop of Bababudangiri mountain ranges that are part of the Western Ghats. Surrounded by rugged hills and dense forests, the sanctuary serves as an important watershed and plays a vital role in maintaining the ecological balance of the area.


Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary has an interesting history behind its establishment. The sanctuary derived its name from the Bhadra river which flows through the region. The lush forests in the area were once the private hunting grounds of the Mysore Maharaja. Later, it was declared a protected reserve forest in 1951 due to increasing deforestation activities and poaching concerns. About four decades later in 1974, Bhadra was officially designated as a wildlife sanctuary to conserve its rich biodiversity through dedicated wildlife conservation efforts by the Forest Department.

Flora & Fauna of Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary

Blessed with a thriving ecosystem, Bhadra sanctuary is home to rich and diverse flora and fauna. The forests harbor hundreds of unique species of plants, trees and a wide variety of animals that are native to the Western Ghats region.


The vegetation in the sanctuary mainly consists of different types of deciduous, semi-evergreen and evergreen forests that cover almost 70% of the area. Common flora includes varieties of teak, rosewood, mathi, honne, nandi, tadasalu, bamboo, sandalwood and jamun trees. The moist deciduous forests along the Bhadra river banks also support rare orchids, medicinal plants and herbs.



Bhadra forests are inhabited by large mammals like tigers, leopards, elephants, gaurs, sambars, spotted deer, barking deer, sloth bears, wild dogs and more. The Bhadra river and its tributaries provide vital water source for these animals.


Over 250 species of birds can be spotted around the woods and grasslands. Some commonly seen birds are emerald dove, hill myna, Malabar whistling thrush, various hornbills, bee-eaters and rare black-eared kite during migrations.


Reptile species include king cobra, python, rat snake, flying lizard, chameleon and the critically endangered star tortoise.


Frogs, toads, caecilians and newts comprise rich amphibian diversity flourishing in the wet climate.


Rare species of butterflies, moths, beetles, and bugs are native to these parts.

The sanctuary provides a safe environment for these creatures to breed, nest and thrive. Sighting wildlife undisturbed in their natural habitats is an unforgettable experience for any nature lover.

Tourist Attractions in Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary

Bhadra sanctuary offers nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts, trekkers, and adventure seekers plenty of sightseeing opportunities and activities for an exciting vacation amidst the rich Western Ghats biodiversity.

Trekking Trails

The sanctuary has several scenic trekking trails that pass through the forests and hilly terrain. Some popular routes are the trails from Kallathigiri to Kemmangundi, Bababudangiri trek route and Tunga-Bhadra river trails that offer spectacular valley views.


Major viewpoints like Kallathigiri, Jagara Valley and Bhadra Dam Viewpoint provide panoramic views of the lush green forests, river and monitoring the wildlife near water holes.

Adventure Sports

White water rafting in the Bhadra river and rock climbing at hill slopes cater to adventure freaks. Jungle safari rides are available to explore the interiors and spot wildlife.

Accommodation Options

The sanctuary has government-run guest houses and private resorts at strategic locations like Bhadravathi and Tarikere towns. Luxury resorts, cottages and tents accommodation options are also available for comfortable stays.

Conservation Efforts

While rich in biodiversity, the sanctuary faces various threats affecting the ecological balance that need sustainable conservation.

Threats and Challenges

Major threats are encroachments, illegal grazing, forest fires, poaching activities and loss of habitat due to infrastructure projects. Water scarcity in summers also impacts wildlife populations adversely.

Conservation Initiatives

By Government

The Forest Department has enhanced protection by increasing patrolling measures. Other initiatives include wildlife population census, installing artificial water sources, expanding breeding centers and afforestation drives. They also spread awareness on conservation among locals.


NGOs like Wildlife Conservation Society collaborate with the Department by funding conservation programs. Their initiatives involve sensitizing visitors, providing education to villagers and research studies on endangered species.

Key Highlights of Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary

Bhadra wildlife sanctuary surely offers plenty of memorable experiences for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts with its thriving biodiversity.

Important Sightings

It is not uncommon to spot large herds of wild elephants near the watering holes or groups of langurs foraging in the woods. Spotting elusive predators like leopards and tigers wandering the dense forests is also a prize sighting for visitors on a safari ride.

Unique Species

The sanctuary is one of the few protected areas in India that harbors all flagship species like tigers, leopards, dholes, elephants and gaur. It is also home to extremely rare species such as the endemic squirrel ratna and the mysterious sangai deer that have been recently spotted after years.

Interesting Facts about Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary

Did you know the vegetation at Bhadra forests records one of the highest annual rainfalls in the Western Ghats region? Also, the Bhadra dam built across the river is one of Asia’s oldest masonry dams still functional, catering to irrigation and power needs of the state.