Kanha National Park is a national park and a Tiger Reserve in the Mandla and Balaghat districts of Madhya Pradesh, India. In the 1930s, Kanha area was divided into two sanctuaries, Hallon and Banjar, of 250 and 300 km . Kanha National Park was created on 1 June 1955. Today it stretches over an area of 940 km in the two districts Mandla and Balaghat. Together with a surrounding buffer zone of 1,067 km and the neighboring 110 km Phen Sanctuary it forms the Kanha Tiger Reserve. This makes it the largest National Park in Central India
The park has a significant population of Royal Bengal Tiger, leopards, the sloth bear, Barasingha and Indian wild dog. The lush sal and bamboo forests, grassy meadows and ravines of Kanha provided inspiration to Rudyard Kipling for his famous novel "Jungle Book "
Kanha National Park is home to over 200 species of flowering plants. The lowland forest is a mixture of sal (Shorea robusta) and other mixed forest trees, interspersed with meadows. The highland forests are tropical moist dry deciduous type and of a completely different nature with bamboo on slopes (Dendrocalamus strictus). A very good looking Indian ghost tree (kullu) can also be seen in the dense forest.
Kanha Tiger Reserve abounds in meadows or maidans which are basically open grasslands that have sprung up in fields of abandoned villages, evacuated to make way for the animals. Kanha meadow is one such example. There are many species of grass recorded at Kanha some of which are important for the survival of Barasingha (Cervus duvauceli branderi). Dense forested zones with good crown cover has abundant species of climbers, shrubs and herbs flourishing in the understory. Aquatic plants in numerous "tal" (lakes) are life line for migratory and wetland species of birds.
A male tiger at Kanha National Park At Kanha the majestic tiger is the keystone species. The big cats tigers and leopards are tertiary carnivores in the food chain. Besides the big cats wild dogs, wild cat, fox and the jackal are carnivores commonly seen at Kanha.
Among the deer species Swamp Deer or Hard Ground Barasingha is pride of the place as it is the only sub species of swamp deer in India (Cervus Duavcelli Branderi). The animal is adopted to hard ground unlike swamp deers of the North which live in marshy swamps. Kanha National Park has been instrumental in rescuing the Swamp Deer from extinction. Indian Gaur (Bos guarus)is in reality an ox race it is found in Kanha But seen mostly as winters ends. In summers gaur inhabit meadows and water holes in the park.
Common feature of the park animals are spotted deer, sambar, barking deer, four horned deer. The latter can be seen at Bamni Dadar climb. Recently mouse deer has been discovered in the tiger reserve.
Black buck did not survive here as the habitat was not suitable. Recently Black buck have been reintroduced inside a fenced area in the park. Nilgai can be seen near the Sarahi Gate while Indian Wolf once commonly seen at Mocha is a rare sight now. Hyena and sloth bear are seen with luck. Langurs and wild boars are common but the pugnacious rhesus macaque is less seen.
Nocturnal animals like fox, hyena, jungle cat, civets, porcupine, ratel or honey badger and hares can be seen outside the park confines.
Reptiles Python, Cobra, Krait, Rat Snake, Viper, Keelbacks, Grass snakes etc are nocturnal animals rarely seen. There are many species of turtles as well as amphibians found in or near the water bodies.
Transport & facilities
Jabalpur is the nearest airport (175 km) with limited flight connectivity. Nagpur((260 km)and Raipur(219 km) are other airports which have good connectivity with rest of the country.Mandla (70 km) has a good connection with Kanha and there is a tourist taxi service from Jabalpur to the national park. From jabalpur, travel via mandla and Nainpur - perhaps with an overnight stop - and take the diversion at Bamhni. Mandla, Nainpur and Seoni all have sports clubs, Internet cafes, guides, christian churches and some beautiful temples. There are three gates for entrance into the forest. The Kisli gate is best accessed from Jabalpur and stops at the village Khatia, inside the buffer area. The second gate is Mukki and the last, and most recently opened gate, is Serai.Jabalpur is the most convenient place to get here.
- Area: (core) 940 km
- Terrain: sal and bamboo forests, plateaus, meadows and meandering streams
- Best Season: February to June
- Morning Visiting Hours: 6:30 am to 12:00 noon
- Evening Visiting Hours: 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm
- Closed: 1 July to 15 October
The Nearest Airport are Jabalpur , Raipur & Nagpur ( Distance 175 Km. , 220 Km. & 275 Km. Respectively) File:Cervus duvauceli branderi.jpg|Barasingha at Kanha National Park File:Morning-in-kanha-park.jpg|Morning-in-kanha-park File:Tigeress with cubs in Kanha Tiger reserve.jpg|Tigeress with cubs in Kanha Tiger reserve File:Brown Fish Owl; Ketupa zelolensis.jpg|Brown Fish Owl File:Ciconia episcopus.jpg|Wooly Necked Stork
- K.K.Gurung, Gopal awasthi & Raj Singh: Field Guide to the Mammals of the Indian Subcontinent, Academic Press, San Diego, ISBN 0-12-309350-3
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