Know your park
The Pench National Park is having 292.85 sqkms area under Project Tiger Reserve located in the Seoni and Chhindwara districts of southern Madhya Pradesh in Central India. It is contiguous on the south with 257.23 sqkms Pench Tiger Reserve (Maharashtra). The National Park gets its name from the Pench river that flows 74 kms north to south through the reserve. Pench river bisects the national park into nearly two equal halves. The 147.61 sqkms of western block falls in the Jamatara range of the Chhindwara forest division and the 145.24 sqkms of the eastern block falls in the Karmajhiri range of the Seoni forest division.
Administratively the tiger reserve is divided in three forest ranges- Karmajhiri, Gumtara and Kurai. This park is accessible from two famous entry gates, Turiya and Karmajhiri.
This area was described as extremely rich and diverse in wildlife from the records available on Deogarh Kingdom, 16th centuary. The scenic beauty with the floral and faunal diversity of the central Indian highlands have been well documented by the British since the late 17th century, example- James Forsyth – The Highlands of Central India (1871) thereafter, Stern Dale (1887) and Brander (1923) have added to the knowledge on the distribution of flora, fauna and tribal culture.
The popular fictional work of Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book and the second Jungle Book also has their stories set around this region. This area is popularly referred as the Mowgli land. Pench tiger reserve is a dry deciduous forest of predominantly teak trees and as such supports a rich and diverse array of wildlife. These hills were once known as the Seoni forest and it was hear that Rudyard Kipling chose to locate his story of the wolf boy Mowgli.
Pench belongs to the Indo Malayan phyto-geographical region. Ecologically, Pench is categorized as a tropical, moist, deciduous tiger habitat. Floristically National park can be classified into tropical moist deciduous forest and tropical dry deciduous forest. Teak- tectona grandis is a ubiquitous species in the region, with a presence ranging from a sporadic distribution in most parts of the forest to localized teak dominated patches. Other associated species such as mahua, tendu, saja, chironji, bija, dhara, jamun, lendia, haldu, magan, harra are reported in abundance. Bamboo forest occurs in the hill slopes and along streams. Some of the open patches of the park are covered with tall grasses interspersed with Palash – tesu and Zizyphus- ber. Evergreen tree species like arjun, jamun and ixora found along nullahs and river banks.
Zoo-geographically, the reserve falls in Oriental region. The carnivore fauna is represented by the tiger, leopard, dhole, jungle cat and small Indian civet etc. Wolves occur on the fringes and outside of the reserve’s limits. Striped hyena, sloth bear, jackal and common palm civet make up the rest of the carnivore fauna of the reserve. Its tiger population continues to climb and with the success of single tigress called collor wali, who has had twenty cubs in only four years, the park is full of tigers. The one great thing about pench, it is full of prey species enabling it to hold a good number of tigers without the issues of cattle conflict. Pench offers good wild dog sightings with a number of packs, always the most exciting creature to watch.
Cheetal, sambar, gaur, neelgaai, wild pig, barking deer, chausingha etc are the wild ungulate species reported all over the park. Gaurs migrate down from the hills during the dry season and occupy the forest along the Pench river and other water bodies. The common langoor and rhesus macaque represent the primate fauna of the area. The Indian porcupine mongoose and black naped hare also occur in the park. There are more than 170 species of birds including several migratory ones are reported in the park. Some of them are pea fowl, jungle fowl, crow pheasant, crimson breasted barbet, black hooded oriole, red vented bulbul, racket tail drongo, magpie robbin, lesser whisteling teel, pintail, shoveler egret and herons.