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Introduction

The reserve named after the highest hill Bandhavgarh (807 m) in the centre of it, falls between the Vindhyan hill range and the eastern flank of Satpura hill range and is located in Shahdol and Jabalpur districts of Madhya Pradesh.

A chain of smaller hills, 32 in all, surrounds this hill, forming a number of valleys and spurs interspersed with low lying areas, such as Chakradhara, Rajbahera, Sehra-Dadra, Bhitri bah, Kolua bah etc. Since the main formation is of sandstone, water percolates through it forming a number of perennial streams and springs. The hills are mainly flat topped. The meadows in certain areas are marshy.

The Sal & bamboo covers plain tract and degenerates in growth and quality as it ascends the hill slopes, further giving place to mixed forest on upper slopes, mainly due to edaphic factors.

Few rare species like insectivorous plants Drocera peltata and medicinal plant like Buch (Acorus calamus) are found in some isolated patches of Tala ranges of the Reserve.

Rivers Johilla and Son flowing on the boundary on the eastern side, river Umrar passing through western fringes and the Bandhavgarh hill, which is visible from as far as 30 km, are some of the landmarks of the Reserve.

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Conservation History
     

The Bandhavgarh Fort, in the centre of the Reserve, atop the Bandhavgarh hill, was the seat of rulers of Rewa State, until they shifted to Rewa town in 1617 A.D. After independence and abolition of the princely States, the process of degradation of forests started due to relaxed control. Maharaja Martand Singh of Rewa, was deeply moved by the destruction of forests. On his proposal an area of 105 sq. km. was declared as National Park in 1965. The area of the park was increased to 448.84 sq. km. in 1982.

Bandhavgarh has been an excellent habitat of tiger and is known for the highest density of tigers in the world. Considering the importance and potentiality of the National park, it was included in the Project Tiger Network in 1993. The adjoining Panpatha Sanctuary too was declared as a part of the Reserve.

The area of 105 sq. km. of old National Park was finally notified in 1968. The remaining part of the National Park i.e. 343.842 sq. km. is yet to be finally declared though State Government had made the initial notification in 1982. Panpatha Sanctuary with an area of 245.847 sq. km. was declared in 1983.

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Animal
Bandhavgarh National park
Panpatha Sanctuary
Total Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve
 
Tiger
  46
  6
  52
Leopard
  27
   
  36
Sambar
  753
  59
  812
Barking deer
  151
  49
  200
Nilgai
  518
  153
  671
Gaur
  1
  0
  1
Chausingha
  19
  0
  19
Wild boar
  1414
  447
  1861
Wild dog
  3
  6
  9
Chinkara
  110
  73
  183


Bandhavgarh National Park - Wildlife Population Estimation - 1989-1997

SPECIES
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
 
Tiger
  59
  60
  45
  40
  41
  44
  46
  43-49
  44-49
Panther
  20
  22
  22
  22
  24
  24
  26
  23-26
  25-29
Bison
  36
  38
  35
  35
  32
  32
  30
  1
  1
Cheetal
  7169
  8659
  6700
  5900
  6000
  6500
  7000
  7400
  7137
Sambar
  4518
  4628
  650
  570
  600
  700
  750
  821
  753
Neelgai
  4377
  4403
  460
  490
  500
  350
  550
  644
  518
Chausinga
  61
  61
  9
  10
  8
  10
  15
  13
  19
Chinkara
  215
  430
  150
  160
  150
  150
  160
  224
  110
Barking Deer
  162
  849
  180
  180
  175
  180
  180
  254
  151
Black Buck
  15
  17
  17
  17
  17
  17
  17
  --
  --
Deer
  --
  --
  --
  --
  --
  --
  --
  --
  --

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Archeology

Mythologically the fort was built by Lord Rama for his brother Laxman, during Ramayan period. There are a number of man made caves (35) in Bandhavgarh with inscriptions and carvings, which date back between about 129-168 A.D. Statues of various incarnations of Lord Vishnu, which were carved out of single rocks are found in the fort. "Sheshshaiya" the statue of lord Vishnu in reclining pose is the biggest of all and attracts every tourist. These statues date back to 10-11th Century A.D.


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Forest Types 

Major Flora

Sal, Saja, Dhauda, Tendu, Arjun, Aonla, Pals, Salai, Bhirra, Khamer, Dhaman, Mango, Jamun, Bamboo, etc.

Major Fauna

Main Species

Mammals:

Spotted deer or Chital, Sambar, Barking deer or Muntjac, Chausinga or Four-horned antilope, Nilgai or Blue bull, Indian Gazel or chinkara and Tiger, Leopard, wild dog or Dhole, Wolf, Scavangers consists of Hyena, jackal, Wild boar, Sloth bear, Common Langur, Rhesus monkey etc.
.

Bird:

242 species of birds have been identified in the Reserve. Commonly seen are Peafowl, Red Jungle fowl, Grey Hornbill, Common Teals, Red Wattled Lapwing, Crested Serpent Eagle, White Breasted Kingfisher, Lesser Adjutant Stork, etc.

Reptile: Cobras, Kraits, Vipers and Python

Fauna listed in the Schedules of WPA, 1972

Tiger (Panthera tigris), Leopard (Panthera pardus), Jungle Cat (Felis chaus), Wolf (Canis lupus), Jackal (Canis aureus), Indian Fox (Vulpes bengalensis), Wild Dog (Cuon alpinus), Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus), Ratel (Mellivora capensis), Hyaena (Hyaena hyaena), Chinkara (Gazella gazella) and Chowsingha (Tetraceros quadicornis). Amongst birds are Malabar Pied Hornbill and amongst reptiles Indian Varanus (Varanus bengalensis) and Python (Python morulus).

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Special Projects 


M.P. Forestry Project has been launched in this area with the help of World Bank. This is helping in infrastructure, in habitat improvement and for training of staff for wildlife protection. This project is also having main thrust in Eco-development works around the reserve, in order to reduce the biotic pressure from surrounding villages

New Initiatives

In order to raise more funds for the conservation of Tiger and its habitat, M.P. Tiger Foundation Society has been constituted, which collects funds from any national/ international NGO or individual

Eco-development

Micro-plans have been prepared for eco-development activities in some villages, namely Salkhania, Bagdara, Kathali, Lakhumar, Badawah, Ranchha, Majhkheta and Gohadi. They are being implemented with the funds available under M.P. Forestry Project.

Village Forest Protection Committees

In all, 40 FPCs have been constituted and cooperation is being given in protection and other works. Two diesel jeeps for patrolling have been provided by WWF and one Gypsy by Global Tiger Patrol. They are used as and when required inside the reserve and the periphery.




Education and Awareness

Wildlife week, quiz competitions, excursion of school children inside the park and Radio and T.V. programmes are the main system of education and awareness which are being followed. Regular wildlife film shows are being conducted alongwith meetings in Eco-centres in villages.

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Constraints

Human population

The National Park is surrounded by 62 villages, which have direct impact on the protected area by way of grazing, M.F.P. collection, fires and poaching.

Grazing

There exists a tremendous grazing pressure on the Reserve.

FIRE

Summer fires are frequent. Although these are ground fires and do not significantly harm the trees. Human settlements in and around is the main cause of these fires.

Poaching of fauna and flora

Animals moving out frequently, get killed occasionally by the villagers

Highways: PWD roads

Umaria-Rewa and Parasi-Katni via Khitauli, pass through the Reserve.


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Conflicts

Man-Animal

Herbivores do move out for raiding the cultivated areas of the adjoining villages. Tigers also move out during monsoon and lift livestock. Crop raiding by wild animals is the main reason for conflicts.

Man-Forest

Grazing is the main area of conflict. Sporadic theft cases of timber, bamboo and M.F.P. are also reported.

Wild Animal-Forest

Grasslands like Bathan, show signs of over grazing by herbivores. Rotational grazing has been started with the help of enclosure of chain-link fencing.

Predator-Livestock

During monsoon, tigers move close to the villages and lift livestock.


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