Nagarhole National Park, is a national park located in Kodagu district and Mysore district in Karnataka state in South India. This park was declared the thirty seventh Project Tiger tiger reserve in 1999. It is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The Western Ghats Nilgiri Sub-Cluster of 6,000 km2 (2,300 sq mi), including all of Nagarhole National Park, is under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for selection as a World Heritage Site.
The park has rich forest cover, small streams, hills, valleys and waterfalls. The park has a healthy predator-prey ratio, with many tigers, Indian bison and elephants.
The park derives its name from naga, meaning snake and hole, referring to streams. The park was an exclusive hunting reserve of the kings of the Wodeyar dynasty, the former rulers of the Kingdom of Mysore. It was set up in 1955 as a wildlife sanctuary and later its area increased to 643.39 km (399.78 mi). It was upgraded into a national park in 1988. The park was declared a tiger reserve in 1999.
The vegetation here consists mainly of North Western Ghats moist deciduous forests with (teak and rosewood predominating in the southern parts. There is Central Deccan Plateau dry deciduous forests with Pala indigo and thorny wattle towards the east. There are some sub-montane valley swamp forests with several species of the Eugenia genus.
The main trees found here are the commercially important rosewood, teak, sandalwood and silver oak. Species of trees of the dry deciduous forest include crocodile bark, Lagerstroemia lanceolata (crepe myrtle), Indian kino tree, Grewia tilaefolia, rosewood andaxlewood. Other tree species that are seen in the forests are Lagerstroemia microcarpa (crepe myrtle), kadam, cotton tree, Schleichera trijuga and some species of ficus.
In the understorey, species found growing include Kydia calycina, Indian gooseberry and beechwood, Shrubs like horse nettles, tick clover, Helicteres species and invasive species like lantana and bonesets are found in abundance.
These forests have some conspicuous tree species such as golden shower tree, flame of the forest and clumping bamboo.
The park protects the wildlife of Karnataka. The important predators and carnivores in Nagarhole National Park are the Bengal tiger, Indian leopard, Ussuri dhole (Cuon alpinus alpinus), sloth bear and the striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena). The herbivores are chital, sambar deer, barking deer, four-horned antelope (Tetracercus quadricornis), gaur (Bos gaurus), wild boar (Sus scrofa) and Indian elephant. Nagarhole National Park provides an opportunity to see some of the southern population of gaur (jungle bison). Also, this park in Karnataka is a good place to see elephants in the luxuriant forests and bamboo thickets which they most enjoy. Their total population in southern India is now about 6500, nearly all living in the area where Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala adjoin in the shadow of the Western Ghats. Other mammals includes the gray langur (Presbytes entellus), bonnet macaque (Macaca radiata), jungle cat, slender loris (Loris tadigradus), leopard cat (Felis bengalensis), civet (Viverricula indica and Paradoxurus hermaphroditus), mongoose(Herpestes fuscus and Herpestes vitticollis), European otter (Lutra lutra), Indian giant flying squirrel (Petaurista petaurista), Indian giant squirrel (Ratufa indica), porcupine, golden jackal, chevrotain (Tragulus meminna), hare and pangolin (Manis crassicaudata). Over 250 species of birds are found at Nagarhole National Park. Besides the enormous variety of woodland birds, there are large congregations of waterfowl in the Kabini river. Birds range from blue-bearded bee-eater, scarlet minivet and Malabar whistling thrush to the more common ospreys, herons and ducks.