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Kanha Tiger Reserve, comprising parts of the Mandla & Balaghat districts of Madhya Pradesh, and located in the "Maikal" hills of the Satpuras, is internationally renowned for its rich floral and faunal attributes.

The Reserve is an excellent interspersion of the Dadars (flat hill tops), grassy expanses, dense forests and riverine forests. It is very rich in flora, largely due to the combination of landforms and soil types, apart from the moist character of the region

The rich habitat diversity of the Reserve supports a wide range of wildlife species along with innumerable lesser life forms, and is the sanctum sanctorum of many typical Central Indian fauna.

Besides harbouring a viable population of the tiger, Kanha has distinguished itself in saving the endangered hard ground barasingha from extinction, and supporting the last world population of this deer species

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Conservation History     

Kanha Tiger Reserve is constituted on a "core-buffer" strategy. The entire National Park area of 940 sq. km. is visualised as a "core zone", free from all biotic disturbances. A buffer zone of 1009 sq. km. surrounding the core is treated as a "multiple use area". The buffer zone comprises almost 40 per cent of forest area and the rest is constituted by revenue and private land. This zone is characterized by an interspersion of revenue and forest lands, pock-marked with numerous villages. Besides, the Phen Wildlife Sanctuary, a satellitic micro-core of 110 sq. km., is also under the administration of the Reserve Management.  The significance of this micro-core lies in the exchange of gene-pool and dispersal of wildlife populations between the two conservation units.  The buffer zone has been notified by the state Government as a separate division and is under the unified control of the
Reserve Management. Wildlife conservation practices and ecodevelopment in the National Park, Buffer Zone and Phen Wildlife Sanctuary are carried out under the Management Plan for the year 2001-2002 to 2010-2011.


The Reserve is a part of the Gondwana tract inhabited traditionally and chiefly by the Gond and Baiga tribes, the latter confining themselves largely to the upper valleys and dadars near the main Maikal range. Information concerning the early history of these forests prior to 1860 is extremely scanty. The villagers had free access to cut and burn forest at will. The system of shifting cultivation, locally called "Bewar" - prevailed almost unhindered until 1870 on the hill slopes.  

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Census  

Animal
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
 
KNP
Phen
KNP
Phen
KNP
Phen
KNP
Phen
KNP
Phen
                     
Chital 21717 99 18102 107 9724 117 19800 177 20250 187
Sambar 4346 21 3313 24 3516 23 3518 23 3598 25
Barking deer 228 25 1117 30 977 49 1081 49 1130 51
Nilgai - 62 - 54 - 62 - 63 - 66
Barasingha 366 - 389 - 322 - 324 - 332 -
Nilgai 62 - 54 - 62 - 63 - 66 -
Chausingha 114 2 99 - 68 - 69 - 70 -
Blackbuck 13 - 9 - 3 - 2 - 2 -
Gaur 1230 15 1372 18 1090 13 1108 13 1190 13
Wild boar 9292 295 9314 312 8293 244 8300 244 8448 244
Sloth bear 53 13 59 12 59 19 59 21 68 21
Langur 6550 443 6375 450 5652 752 5800 752 5844 752
Wild dog 149 57 266 50 304 36 306 40 322 42
Jackal 263 25 250 46 169 28 172 30 220 36
Tiger 100 5 97 4 97 4 105 2 106 2
Panther 72 9 62 8 62 8 70 8 71 10

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Forest Types 

Technically the following forest types are found in the Tiger Reserve:

Moist Peninsular Sal Forests (3 C/C2)

Southern Tropical Moist Mixed Deciduous Forest (3 A/C 2a)

Southern Tropical Dry Deciduous Mixed Forest(5 A/C-3)


Major Flora

Main Species

Sal, Saja, Lendia, Dhawa, Tendu, Palas, Bija, Mahua, Aonla, Achar and Bamboo etc. Besides, there are many species of climbers, forbs and grass.

Major Fauna

Main Species

Mammals:

Chital , Sambar , Barasingha , Barking deer , Chousingha , Gaur , Langur , Wild pig , Jackal, Sloth bear, Wild dog, Panther, Tiger .

Reptiles:

Python, Indian Cobra, Russellís Viper, Indian Krait, Common Rat Snake, Common Skink, Indian Monitor, Fan Throated Lizard and Indian Garden Lizard etc.

Fishes:

Giant Danio, Common Rasbora, Mud Perches, Brown Snakehead and Green Snakehead etc.

Birds:

The Reserve supports around 300 species of birds.

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Management 

Practices, Achievements and Shortfalls

Si

nce the core zone of a Project Tiger area should have the least human interference, the Management envisages exclusion of human interference in the form of human settlements, domestic livestock, agriculture and other land use practices, by the gradual relocation of existing habitations. This is required to safeguard the endangered gene-pool of flora and fauna. In the past, 27 forest villages have been relocated at Government expense in a phased manner from the core area of Kanha Tiger Reserve.

Although some extremist engineered activities were reported outside the protected area in the adjoining districts during 1990, the park area remained undisturbed subsequently due to constant and strict vigil and the managerial activities were not hampered. Intensive patrolling is now regularly carried out and various stringent protective measures (coupled with strengthening of wireless network) have been taken, apart from ecodevelopment inputs in the specially constituted buffer zone division.

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Special Projects 

Under research and monitoring activities, field data collection is carried out in the specially laid out plots, as per guidelines of Project Tiger.

Daily monitoring of the endangered barasingha population is also ensured in the prescribe format.

Cattle immunization programme in core and buffer zones is carried out periodically.

Special Initiatives

Ecodevelopment

Integrated community development inputs have been provided in the buffer zone under the MP Forestry Project. Ecodevelopmental inputs have been provided to some peripheral villages. The important components have been:

1.
Protection, regeneration and increased productivity of the forest resources of the peripheral area for fodder, fuel wood, timber and MFP, apart from a greater security of access to these resources for the villagers through the development of participatory management
2.
Fostering activities related to the use of non-forest resources for income generation.
3.
Promoting activities to cover the interface between forest and other sectors.

Ecodevelopment Committees

There are 106 EDCs in the buffer and 25 in the core zone involved in various ecodevelopmental initiatives with the Reserve Management.


Protection Squads / Patrolling

Apart from regular patrolling by different level of field staff and officers, two strike forces have been created with vehicular mobility to reinforce protection of the Reserve.

Education and Awareness

The spearhead team has been imparting the necessary skill to other frontline staff of the buffer zone division for site-specific micro-planning. Further, the team frequently convenes village level meetings for promoting awareness amongst the local inhabitants, apart from carrying out meaningful interpretation of PA values.


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Constraints

Human population

There are 18 forest villages in the core and 29 forest villages and 149 revenue villages in the buffer collectively having a human population of around 1 lakh.

Livestock population

There are about 30,000 cattle heads in the forest villages of the core zone. The total pressure is of around 80,000 cattle heads in the Reserve.

Grazing

There is complete control over grazing by cattle in the core i.e. National Park. In the Buffer specific areas have been earmarked for grazing by the cattle of forest / revenue villages under effective grazing schemes.

Fire

On the basis of an effective fire scheme fire incidence are kept at minimum by preventive and control measures.

Year
No.of Incidents
Area Brunt (H.a)
% of area affected
       
1990-91  
  62
  611.30 
  0.66
1991-92
  106  
  1101.57
  1.18
1992-93
  44
  503.44  
  0.47
1993-94
  55
  391  
  0.37
1994-95
  17
  58.61 
  0.08
1995-96
  29 
  346.41  
  0.36
1996-97
  51 
  436.37  
  0.41
1997-98
  95
  510.44  
  0.48
1998-99
  167  
  925.16
  0.45

Poaching of fauna and flora

There is no poaching on commercial scale in the Reserve, nor is there any timber maffia operating on the periphery of the reserve. Sporadic cases of subsistence poaching and illicit cutting of poles by indigenous people for their use takes place which are dealt with strictly.


Poaching cases detected/seized by the Park Management
(within and outside the jurisdiction)

           
Year
Tiger
Panther
Chital
Sambar
Other
           
1972
-
-
-
-
-
1973
-
-
1
1
3
1974
-
-
3
1
3
1975
1
-
-
-
4
1976
-
3
3
-
3
1977
-
-
-
-
1
1978
-
-
2
-
2
1979
-
-
1
-
3
1980
-
-
1
-
9
1981
-
-
1
-
5
1982
-
-
-
1
-
1983
-
-
3
1
2
1984
-
-
2
-
4
1985
-
-
-
-
-
1986
-
-
-
-
-
1987
-
-
-
-
-
1988
-
-
2
1
-
1989
-
-
-
-
1
1990
-
1
2
3
1
1991
-
2
3
1
1992
3
7
4
2
4
1993
2
1
4
3
-
1994
1
1
10
3
3
1995
2
2
5
1
7
1996
1
2
1
3
5
1997
-
3
2
1
2
1998
-
1
1
-
2

Criminals and Extremists

Though there are no criminals and extremists in the real sense of the terms but there is no dearth of the so-called custodians and social activists opposing government policies for the eco-upliftment of the villagers.

Diseases

During 1976, there was an outbreak of rinderpest. In all 52 Gaur, 8 Sambar and 35 Chital succumbed to the disease. Due to the large population of cattle in the surrounding villages, outbreak of infectious diseases in the Reserve area is always feared.

The sal borer (Hoplocerambyx spinicornis) infestation has been notified in Kanha National Park (Core Zone) in a sporadic manner.

Problems

False propaganda about the newly constituted buffer zone division by self-styled women social activists and eco-illiterate carving for recognition.

Lack of special statutory protection to field staff for acts done in good faith while discharging their duties, and delayed judicial proceedings.

Lack of a special statutory body / authority / legal support for integrated regional community development planning in the buffer zone.

Fragmentation of vegetal connectivity linking the Tiger Reserve to their PAs owing to biotic pressure.

Ground frost at times hampers regeneration of plant species.

Mining

The Hidusthan Copper Ltd. (around 7 km beyond the buffer boundary).

Irrigation

Matiari Project (around 1 km. away from the buffer boundary).

Control of the Buffer

Buffer is under the unified control of the management of the Reserve

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Conflicts    

Man-Animal

There are occasional man-animal conflicts - viz., crop-raiding, cattle lifting, human injury, loss of life etc.

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Action Points

1.
Publicity work through traditional folk dances, skits, workshops are proving quite effective and need to be continued.
2.
Motivating school teachers to elicit support of younger generation.
3.
Self-styled NGIs/NGOs craving for recognition by misleading the masses at the cost of the Kanha need to be black listed.
4.
Dedicated NGIs/NGOs are to be involved in mobile seminars designed for the indigenous people.
5.
Viable strategy for conservating the available forests to ensure vegetal connectivity with the core.
6.
Legislative support is extremely important for avoiding conflict between conservation and economic optimisation of use of resource in the buffer area. This legislation should prevail over other conflicting legislations, ensure sectoral integration and streamline the planning process for public participation.

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