Conservation in Kanha

Quite often in Kanha it seems as though you are staring into an abstract painting. The raw and ever changing beauty in Kanha makes for one of the most humbling places on earth. Every time i visit Kanha I come away with a new perspective on why I travel to this region. First time I travelled to Kanha I did not feel as a foreigner in this forest, I felt I belonged here, as if my soul had lived here.

Now what could be the reasons for Kanha being called the last bastion for the Royal Bengal Tigers in India? Despite the fact that when one thinks of Tiger sightings, one generally thinks of Bandhavgarh, Tadoba or Ranthambhore.

Some reasons for Kanha being one of the best proetcted areas as per me are:

1. The people of this entire landscape are very simple, god fearing, away from modernity, and conservators at heart. Yes, they would use the forest for their daily livelihood very selectively but not for commerce, unlike many forests where there is greed involved beyond the daily dependence on the forest. Their needs are fulfilled, and they are happy about it, thus not plundering Kanha. I do not even remember any large cat being poisoned in Kanha since last two decades. Not that the Tigers and Leopards are not picking on their cattle, but the people here are happy with the compensation they get from the forest department whenever such an incident happens thus not harming the Tigers or the Leopards.

2. Kanha as a habitat is very ideal for the prey and the predator. For the predator there is enough prey. Apart from the occasional cattle being killed in the neighboring villages, there are hardly any cases of Tigers straying outside the forest for food. They find that enough inside the forest. For prey base there is enough hide, enough meadows, enough wooded land, enough food, enough water, and what else would they need.

3. A healthy corridor with Pench on one side and with Achanakmar via Phen, Supkhar, Chilpi, on the other. Hence there is movement of Tigers happening very safely. This also improves the gene pool in the area, no wonder the Tigers of Kanha are the largest in India.

4. Forest Management of Kanha is very entrepreneurial, proactive, willing to take risks, and set examples for others to follow. Hard ground Barasingha’s story is the first successful conservation story in India, from 50 to 500 in number is not a fluke. Shifting of Indian Gaur to Bandhavgarh from Kanha was another feather in their cap. Then shifting some Tigers to other parks, and Barasinghas to Satpura, and lately some Cheetal (spotted deer) to Phen to increase the prey base there goes to say that Kanha has a very active, thinking, planning, and executing kind of management. The entire team of officers and guards of Kanha are highly dedicated. Not only in their conservation efforts but even in regulating tourism. This is one park where you still find silence, solitude, and stillness.

5. Shifting of Villages from the core to buffer has been done very scientifically, and satisfactorily. It not only provides them an alternate home, or land, but also at the right price. The Foerst department has taken the initiative to develop the area for the them by creating water bodies for them, teaching them rain harvesting etc. This has earned respect for the forest management, and garnered support in their conservation efforts.

Seeking to get initiated into nature..visit Kanha. a forest for beginners, amateurs, and serious seekers.

Best Wishes

Sharad Vats