Kanha National Park: 940 sq. km.
Kanha National Park is one of the largest national parks and tiger reserves in Madhya Pradesh, India. Totaling 940 sq. km., the park is located in the Mandla and Balaghat districts of Madhya Pradesh.
Kanha National Park consists of:
- Hallon sanctuary, 250 sq. km.
- Banjar sanctuary, 300 sq. km.
- Buffer zone, 1,067 sq. km.
- Phen sanctuary, 110 sq. km.
Combined, this makes Kanha the largest national park in Central India.
Area: (core) 940 sq. 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.
Flora: Kanha National Park is home to over 1,000 species of flowering plants spread across its highland and lowland forests and meadows. The highland forests are of a tropical, moist dry deciduous type and boast unique bamboo species on its slopes (Dendrocalamus strictus) as well as an Indian ghost tree (kullu) in the dense parts of the forests.
Kanha Tiger Reserve abounds in meadows or maidans, essentially open grasslands that have sprung up in fields of abandoned villages evacuated to make way for grazing animals. Aquatic plants in numerous lakes attract many migratory and wetland species of birds.
Fauna: Species of leopards, wild dogs, wild cats, foxes and jackals make the Kanha their home. The swamp deer or hard ground barasingha is the only sub species of swamp deer in India (Cervus duavcelli branderi), although it is not the only species of deer found here. The deer has adapted to hard ground, unlike the swamp deer of the north, which live in marshy swamps, hence their name. Kanha National Park has been instrumental in rescuing the swamp deer from extinction. Indian Gaur (bos guarus), a species of ox, is found in Kanha but seen mostly as winter ends. In summer, the gaur frequent meadows and water holes in the park.
Other commonly seen animals in the park include the spotted deer, sambar, barking deer and the four-horned deer. The latter can be seen at Bamni Dadar climb. Recently, mouse deer were discovered in the tiger reserve.
Black buck were once found in Kanha, but have since became rare for unknown reasons. They nearly vanished completely, but have been reintroduced recently inside a fenced area in the park. Nilgai can still be seen near the Sarahi Gate, while the Indian Wolf once commonly seen at Mocha is a rare sight now. Hyena and sloth bear are occasionally spotted. Langurs and wild boars are common, but the pugnacious rhesus macaque is seen less often.
Nocturnal animals like fox, hyena, jungle cat, civets, porcupine, ratel or honey badger and hares can be seen outside the park confines.
Reptiles like pythons, cobras, krait, rat snakes, vipers, keelbacks and grass snakes are nocturnal and therefore are rarely seen. There are many species of turtles as well as amphibians found in or near the water bodies.
Kanha and Satpura forest being a part of Gondwana, now famous as a tiger reserve. In times past, they were home to the Indian elephant. But Kanha is most famous for its tigers.