Kanha National Park: The best run protected area in India

Tuesday, March 13, 2018posted by Bruce 10:07 AM

A tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh

‘Jamun Tola Male’ or T-24 drinking at a small natural waterhole early in the morning…!

If someone ever has an urge to visit one of the best ‘tiger reserves/national parks’ in India, pick Kanha in the southeast of Madhya Pradesh State. The forest department is commended for improving the visitation to the park by both local and international tourists, and my hat is off to them for implementing some great new measures.

‘Naina Female’ or T-76 coming straight at us…!

They have made it a regulation that all forest guides be equipped with a GPS (actually a smart phone with a GPS App.) The authorities can now check the speed limit which is 20 kms per hour and is strictly enforced. If a jeep goes off track or goes too fast, a tough lesson will be learned by both the driver and the guide. It is now very well organized and they pay attention as some have already been red-carded for excessive speed and other infringements. That means anywhere from a seven to fifteen-day suspension, or even longer. The drivers/guides now pretty well toe the line which keeps the dust down, and is much safer and more enjoyable then previously…!

T-24 crossing the road…!

While I was there this past February, sightings were down a bit but the department is creating fire lines by burning fallen leaves on the side of the road that somehow effects tiger sightings. I experienced this same thing in Pench National Park last year where they were doing the same thing burning leaves but now I realized for a good reason. I did not really think about it at the time and did not get any tiger sightings, but did hear several tigers roaring in the dense forest. The big cat just moved away from the road temporally. March is when they expedite this safety program to keep forest fire down to a minimum.

T-76 in the late afternoon just before closing time..!

However, I did get two tigers this time shown here; a female known as T-76 or ‘Naina’ in the afternoon as we were heading back to the gate. We stopped at a T-junction for few minutes and she popped out of the grasslands in front of us for some really great head-on shots. Then the next morning as we were motoring around, we bumped into a bunch of jeeps parked along one side of the road. We slipped into a space and were there for 10 minutes when a male tiger was seen rustling in the bushes directly across from us. He then sauntered down to a natural spring and stayed at the waterhole for more than 10 minutes slurping up a needed drink. I kept on shooting until he moved and in a few minutes, he popped out on the road and as he crossed, I got some good flanking shots of ‘T-24’ known locally as the ’Jamun Tola Male’…I was elated to say the least…!

So, my recommendation is: if you want a great visit with the possibility of seeing a tiger, go to Kanha as it is well worth the trip. Again, well done Forest Department Director and staff, and I look forward to future visits to India’s best run tiger reserve and national park. Every park in the country should now take note and follow suit, as most of the other ones continue to have serious problems with jeeps racing for position, and absolute mayhem when tigers are spotted. This will be tough to implement but given time, I’m hoping things will get better in the other tiger reserves scattered throughout India.





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