Bandhavgarh is justifiably famous for its Tigers, but it has a wide range of other animals. The undergrowth is not as dense as in some northern Terai forests, or as in Kanha which happens to be only 5 hour drive away. The best time to see the park inhabitants is still the summer months when water becomes more scarce and the undergrowth dies back. The most effective way to search for Tigers is in the safari vehicles.
Indian Gaur were successfully relocated in Bandhavgarh about 10 years back. They were commonly seen till mid-90s. I saw the last solitary male in 1997 in the Chakradhara meadow, but for some unknown reason they all disappeared. After reintroduction from Kanha and successful breeding in Bandhavgarh the Gaur now roam their former territory confidently.
Leopard sightings had dipped over last few years, but lately in last two years, the Leopard sightings have improved considerably. Muntjac and sambhar prefer denser vegetation. The main prey animal, however, for the Tigers and the park’s leopards are the chital (spotted deer, Axis Axis), which now number a few thousand.
There are two types of monkeys common in the park, the rhesus macaque and the black-faced langur. Drives can also reveal jungle cats, hyenas, porcupines, ratels, and a variety of other mammals. Bandhavgarh attracts many migratory birds in the winter months, including the birds of prey like the steppe eagle and a variety of wildfowl.
But the most interesting news from Bandhavgarh has been the arrival of wild Asian Elephants from the neighbouring state of Chattisgarh. A herd of about 50 elephants arrive in 2018 and have since made Bandhavgarh their home. They had briefly moved out in 2019 but are now back and have more or less settled in the Khitauli zone. Once in a while they also move towards Magdhi zone. Bandhavgarah has what they require in a habitat, enough of food, water, and safety.