Situated in the Maikal mountain ranges and spread between Mandla and Balaghat districts of Madhya Pradesh, Kanha is one of the leading protected areas of the world and a dream destination for all the wildlife enthusiasts !
In 1955 it was declared as a National Park and later in 1973 it was included under the umbrella of Project Tiger.
But apart from the Royal Bengal Tiger, what makes Kanha special is a species of deer – the Hard Ground Barasingha ! It is a subspecies of Swamp Deer which is adapted to live on dryer land and is endemic to Kanha.
There are 3 subspecies of swamp deer found in the Indian Subcontinent –
(1) Western swamp deer (Rucervus duvaucelii) found in Nepal,
(2) Southern swamp deer (Rucervus duvaucelii branderi) found in central and north India, and
(3) Eastern swamp deer (Rucervus duvaucelii ranjitsinhi) found in the Kaziranga and Dudhwa National Parks.
The Southern swamp deer has hard hooves and is adapted to hard ground and is found in Kanha. The other two subspecies are adapted to swampy areas.
By 1967, the population of this beautiful deer species had gone as low as 66 – reasons being rampant poaching and habitat disturbance. Survival of this species and revival of the number from the brink of extinction was a herculean task. But thanks to the meticulous planning and execution by the forest department, as of today the estimated population of Hard Ground Barasingha is more than 800 individuals. The Hard Ground Barasingha is also the state animal of Madhya Pradesh.
Kanha is a picturesque forest that boasts of eternal beauty and a wide diversity of wildlife ! The forest with huge strands of Sal, small hills-hillocks and vast meadows popularly called ‘maidaan’, the Kanha landscape is surely the best one in Central India.
Including the core and buffer zones it is spread over an area of over 2051 sq km. which supports more than 30 species of mammals and about 300 species of birds !
How to reach –
- By air – Jabalpur (140 km from Kanha) and Nagpur (270 km from Kanha) are the nearest airports with better air connectivity.
- By rail – Jabalpur and Gondia (150 km from Kanha) are the railway stations.