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Kudremukh National Park
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Kudremukh (or the horse-faced one) National Park, spread over an area of 600 sq km is one of the largest protected areas in the Western Ghats. Picturesque landscapes of rainforests and shola grasslands with clear flowing rivers, streams and waterfalls form a part of the parks topography. It is located in the districts of Udipi and Chikmagalur in south Karnataka between the longitudes 13o1'3.65"E to 13o29'17.84"E and latitudes 75o0'59.58"N to 75o25'22.69"N. The park receives an annual rainfall of 4,770 mm and elevation in the park ranges between 62-1,880 m. Three important rivers, the Tunga, the Bhadra and the Nethravathi, have their source in this park (Lal et al. 1994).

The vegetation type in this protected area includes shola forests, secondary semi-evergreen, secondary moist deciduous, evergreen and semi-evergreen forests (Pascal et al. 1982). At medium elevations, evergreen trees include species like Palaquium ellipticum, Poeciloneuron indicum and Hopea ponga. At low elevations, the landscape is dominated by the species Poeciloneuron indicum, Dipterocarpus indicus, Kingiodendron pinnatum and Humboldtia brunonis. Other tree species predominant at low elevations include low dipterocarp dominant evergreen forests characterised by the Palaquium- Poeciloneuron-Hopea and the Poeciloneuron-Dipterocarpus-Kingidendro-Humboldtia series. Other tree species seen here are Heligrarna arnottiana, Alstonia scholaris, Canarium strictum, Syzygium cumini, Flacourtia montana, Symplocos spicata, Hopea parviflora, Mesua ferra, Evodia roxburghiana and, species of Artocarpus and Calophyllum. At elevations of 1,400 m montane grasslands and short-stature shola forests with the tree species Schefflera-Gordonia-Meliosma series are also present (Lal et al. 1994, Pascal et al. 1982).

Forty-two species of mammals have been listed (Anon 2001). These include red giant flying squirrels (Petaurista petaurista), the Indian giant squirrel (Ratufa indica), common langur (Semnopithecus entellus) and a significantly large population (between 200-300) of the endangered lion-tailed macaques (Macaca silenus) (Shivanand 2004, MoEF Report 2006). Sloth bears (Melursus ursinus), tigers (Panthera tigris), leopards (Panthera pardus), wild dogs (Cuon alpinus), Indian bison or gaur (Bos gaurus) and jackals (Canis aureus) are also found here. Other mammals present in large numbers include members of the deer family like sambar (Cervus uinicolor), spotted deer or chital (Axis axis) and barking deer (Muntiacus muntjak).The park is one of the only remaining habitats of the most endangered civet and possibly the most endangered mammal in India the Malabar civet (Viverra civettina) and also of the rusty spotted cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus) (MoEF Report 2006).

Recognised as an Important Bird Area over 170 species of birds including 14 of the 16 endemics of the Western Ghats are found here. The globally threatened and 'Vulnerable' species include the wood snipe (Gallinago nemoricola), Nilgiri wood-pigeon (Columba elphinstonii) white-bellied shortwing (Brachypteryx major) and broad-tailed grass warbler (Schoenicola platyara). 'Near-threatened' like the grey-breasted laughingthrush (Garrulax jerdoni) and Nilgiri flycatcher (Eumyias albicaudata) and endemic species like Wynaad laughingthrush (Garrulax delesserti) and white-bellied treepie (Dendrocitta leucogastra) have been recorded here (Shivanand 2004). Biome-10 (Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest) species found here include the Jerdon's nightjar (Caprimulgus atripennis), Ceylon frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger) and Malabar trogon (Harpactes fasciatus) (Islam and Rahmani 2004).

As many as 52 species of reptiles and 35 species of amphibians including three endemic and seven vulnerable species of amphibians live in park (Anon 2001). Draco or gliding lizards (Draco dussumieri), king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah), bamboo pit viper (Trimeresurus gramineus) and several endemic species of frogs, like the recently discovered, rare wrinkled frog (Nyctibatrachus hussaini) are found here. Nearly 149 species of butterflies too have been sighted in this sanctuary (Anon 2001).

The park is bordered by nearly 88 villages with a combined population of more than 280,000 people. Inside the park too there are 98 hamlets that are home to different communities like Bunt, Billava, Vokkaliga, Brahmin, Muslim, Malékudiya and Muggera tribals. Villagers living inside or close to the park extract non-timber forest produce for the commercial markets (MoEF Report 2006).

Threats to the park include hunting, road laying, power projects and setting up of windmills (PA Update 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007). The forests have borne the brunt of a thirty year history of iron ore mining that has caused heavy silting of the water bodies (PA Update 2002, 2004). Fortunately in 2004 the Supreme Court ordered a shutdown of all mining operations inside the park and restoration of forest habitat (PA Update 2004).


Anon. 2001. Report on the impact of iron ore mining on the flora and fauna of Kudremukh National Park. Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Unpublished Report to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, India.

Islam, M. Z and Rahmani, A. R. 2004. Important bird areas in India: Priority sites for conservation. Indian Bird Conservation Network: Bombay Natural History Society and Birdlife International, UK. 1133 pp.

Kazmierczak, K. 2000. A field guide to the birds of India, Sri Lanka, Pakistn, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and the Maldives. OM Book Service, New Delhi, India. 352 pp.

Lal, R., Kothari, A., Pande, P and Singh, S (eds). 1994. Kudremukh National Park In: Directory of national parks and sanctuaries in Karnataka: Management status and profiles . Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi, India. pp 45-49.

Menon, V. 2003. A field guide to Indian mammals. DK (India) Pvt Ltd and Penguin Book India (P) Ltd. 201 pp.

MoEF. 2006. India's Tentative List of Natural Heritage Properties to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. UNESCO, Paris, France.

PA Update. 2000. Highway to pass through Kudremukh. December (27&28).

PA Update. 2001. Rare species of frog found in Kudremukh. June (30&31).

PA Update. 2003. Hunting is the biggest threat to wildlife in protected areas: Study. April (41&42).

PA Update. 2003. Concern over road laying in Kudremukh NP June (43).

PA Update 2004. 68,000 tons of silt load reported in River Bhadra. April (47&48):10-11.

PA Update. 2004. SC upholds order to close Kudremukh mining by 2005. December (52):10.

PA Update. 2007. Windmills proposal for Kudremukh NP .April (68):7.

Pascal, J.P., Shyam Sundar, S and Meher-Homji, V.M. 1982. Forest map of South India: Shimoga. French Institute, Pondicherry, India.

Shivanand, T. 2004. Kudremukh National Park. In: Important Bird Areas in India: Priority sites for conservation. (Islam, M. Z and Rahmani, A. R).Indian Bird Conservation Network: Bombay Natural History Society and Birdlife International, UK. pp 569-570.

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