Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Madhya Pradesh -------- Destination Wildlife

1. Kanha Tiger Reserve -- Kipling Country :

Kanha is truly the "Jewel" of Madhya Pradesh as far as Tiger Reserves in India are concerned. It is a rich Sal Forest which is home to the hardground Barasingha also known as "Swamp Deer" and also home to Majestic and Magnificent Royal Bengal Tigers for a number of decades.

Kanha is the largest wildlife sanctuary in Asia. It is one of the first Project Tiger Reserves in India. The Natural Splendour of Kanha was created in 1974 under Project Tiger. The Park is one of the few remaining habitats in India of the rare hardground barasingha.

It is spread over 950 Square Kilometres and is outstanding for its natural beauty. It is renowned worldwide for its extensive bamboo forests and rolling savannah like grasslands.

Kanha is often called "Kipling Country" as the natural splendour of Kanha had bewitched Rudyard Kipling to write his now famous "Jungle Book" in the 19th Century.

Kanha Tiger Reserve was also the location for a famous "BBC Natural World" Wildlife Documentary which was shot at Kanha a number of years ago.

It is called the "Tiger" and it is narrated by David Attenborough and it takes you through Families of Tigers that have grown up in Kanha for a number of years.

Kanha is also famous for being the first wildlife sanctuary in India where a famous American Wildlife Biologist, namely Dr. George Schaller conducted a scientific study on Tigers and on Tiger Habitat in the 1960's.

There were 100 Tigers in Kanha as per the census conducted in 2014-2015.

2. Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve -- Big Cat Paradise :

Bandhavgarh is a small national park where the density of tigers is the highest in Central India, so sighting the Big Cat in the wild is almost certain.

Bandhavgarh covers an area of 448 square kilometres and is situated in Shahdol District among the outlying hills of the Vindhya Ranges.

At the Centre of the Park, is Bandhavgarh Hill rising 811 metres above sea level.

Surrounding it,  are a large number of smaller hills separated by gently sloping valleys. These Valleys end in small swampy meadows locally known as "Bohera".

The Tiger Reserve in Bandhavgarh is graced with an ineffable quality, a vast purity about it. Sal - dominated Forests blessed by fragile to tough topography hold pristine bamboo groves, life giving grasslands.

Golden Green Foliage drapes tropical valleys and meadows along the Charanganga River. Quietly lapping streams -- the Tiger's precious watering holes ripple forth serene circles.

Unique, Humbling, this is sacred space. One is fully alive here. Bandhavgarh was home to famous tigers such as Charger and Sita in the 1990's. The Deciduous Landscape which encompasses Bandhavgarh is home to numerous species of deer, sloth bears, jackals, and foxes.

Bandhavgarh's 276 Bird Species, 39 Species of Mammals, and 515 Species of Plants make it a carbon sink to beat back climate change.

According to the 2014-2015 Census, there were more than 40 Tigers in Bandhavgarh.

3. Pench Tiger Reserve -- Land of Mowgli :

Pench Tiger Reserve located in Seoni District in Madhya Pradesh is 80 Kilometres from Nagpur City. It was the setting of Rudyard Kipling's famous book "Jungle Book".

Rudyard Kipling based Mowgli on William Henry Sleeman's pamphlet "An Account of Wolves nurturing children in their dens" which describes a wolf - boy captured in Sant Baori village of Seoni in 1831.

Many places mentioned in Jungle Book have been identified as actual locations in Seoni-- River Wainganga with its gorge, Kanhiwara village, and the Seoni Hills.

One can see groups of spotted deer whose present population is over 20,000, Sambhar Deer, Wild Boars, Jackals, and Owls when visiting Pench.

Pench Tiger Reserve consists of tropical dry deciduous teak forests interspersed with bamboo trees which provide perfect camouflage for Majestic Bengal Tigers.

In the Book "Tiger Fire" by Valmik Thapar, there is an outstanding photo of a Tigress walking with 5 Sub -Adult Tiger Cubs in a Forest Range in Pench. That Picture will remain forever etched in my memory.

As per the Tiger Census in 2014-2015, there were 40 Tigers in Pench.

Credits and References :

The King and I
By Prerna Singh Bindra
Published by Rupa Books

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