Bhadra sanctuary has a wide range of flora and fauna and is a popular place for day outings.
he area was first declared as 'Jagara Valley Wildlife Sanctuary' in 1951 by the then government of Mysore covering an area of 77.45 km2 (29.90 sq mi). After a systematic survey of the flora and the fauna of the area and its surroundings, the area was extended to its present extent and renamed to Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary in 1974.
The Wildlife Sanctuary was declared as a Project Tiger Tiger Reserve in 1998. Bhadra is the first tiger reserve in the country to complete a successful village relocation program. The original relocation plan was introduced in 1974 and was implemented completely by 2002 when the 26 villages in the sanctuary were successfully relocated to M C Halli which is about 50 km (31 mi) from the Sanctuary.
Bhadra supports more than 120 plant species. One typical 2 ha (4.9 acres) of tropical dry deciduous forest had 46 species, 37 genera and 24 families. Combretaceae was the most abundant family in the forest. Indigoberry (Randia dumetorum) was the dominant species.
Throughout the sanctuary the common species include crepe myrtle (lanceolata), kadam, thaasal(tiliaefolia), simpoh (pentagyna), teak, kindal, Indian-laurel, rosewood, Indian kino tree, white teak, fig tree, mangosteen, Kydia calycina, indigo, toddy palm, Ceylon oak, jalari, jamba tree, axlewood, slow match tree, thorny bamboo and clumping bamboo.
It is the habitat of valuable teak and rosewood. Other commercial timber in the sanctuary includes: mathi, honne, Nandi, tadasalu and kindal. There is also bamboo and several types of medicinal plants.
Mammals: An estimated 33 tigers are found in Bhadra. Other mammals in the sanctuary include elephant, gaur, sloth bear, wild boar, black leopard, jungle cat, jackal, wild dog, sambar, spotted deer, barking deer, mouse deer, common langur, bonnet macaque, slender loris, small Indian civet, common palm civet, pangolin, porcupine, flying squirrel and the Malabar giant squirrel.
Small carnivores found in the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary include leopard cat, rusty-spotted cat, ruddy mongoose, stripe-necked mongoose and otters.
Reptiles: Some of the reptiles commonly sighted in this park are common vine snake, king cobra, common cobra, Russell's viper, bamboo pit viper, rat snake, olive keelback, common wolf snake, common Indian monitor, Draco or gliding lizards and marsh crocodiles.
Birds: Bhadra sanctuary has more than 300 species of birds, some endemic to this region and some migratory. Some of the species are grey junglefowl, red spurfowl, painted bush quail, emerald dove, southern green imperial pigeon, great black woodpecker, Malabar parakeet, hill myna, ruby-throated bulbul, shama, Malabar trogon, Malabar whistling thrush, four species of hornbill and racquet-tailed drongo.
Butterflies: Some of the butterflies in Bhadra sanctuary are yamfly, baronet, crimson rose butterfly, southern birdwing, tailed jay, great orange tip, bamboo tree brown, and blue pansy.