Panna was the 2nd tiger reserve after Sariska to loose all it’s resident tigers to poaching specifically, a significant disadvantage of it’s location.
Although tigers were reintroduced in Sariska in 2005, way before Panna, currently the population of tigers in sariska is around 18-20 whereas Panna boasts of more than 35 tigers including the core, buffer and the local landscape which does comprise of Lalitpur & Chitrakoot.
Here is the story of this magical transformation of Panna from a barren land to a crucial tiger habitat.
The unsavoury report of the absolute dissapearence of tigers from Panna would have been ignored and gone unnoticed if it hadn’t been for the wildlife scientist Mr Raghunandan Chundawat who approached pillar and posts to highlight this issue and bring this matter into the books of the NTCA ( National Tiger Conservation Authority ) as well as the local government and central Ministry of Environment & Forests.
Subsequent to the park going dry, a plan to repopulate the reserve was initiated – a pioneering attempt in the state.
The then Field Director of Panna, Mr Sreenivasa Murthy inspired and motivated his team with assistance from scientists, NGO & the government and roped in the locals through activities like “Panna Nature Club”.
On 3rd March ‘2009, a female from Bandhavgarh ( T1 ) and another female from kanha ( T2 ) were relocated to Panna. The intention of bringing 2 females were to stabilize the asymmetrical sex ratio. However, unfortunately, the last male tiger of Panna also mysteriously disappeared. To balance this, a male tiger ( T3 ) from pench was shifted and released in the park on 14th Nov ‘2009.
T3 was a wandering soul and started moving out of the limits of the park towards the southern direction from Panna, distinctively towards Pench, it’s homeground. This was for the first time that the world had witnessed the homing instinct in a wild tiger.T3 was tranquilized, captured and brought back to Panna. He was released in the park & subsequently mated with T1. A unique experiment of sprinkling female tiger urine, procured from Van Vihar, Bhopal, in T1’s area was initiated to confine him to the limits of the park and allure him to mate.
T1 delivered 4 cubs on 16th April ‘2010 of which 2 still survive. This created another history of successful breeding post reintroduction and relocation of tigers.
The park today boasts o 23 adults and 14 cubs as per the Wildlife Institute of India.
Panna Tiger Reserve is a critical tiger habitat located in Vindhya Hill in northern Madhya Pradesh and fragile through dynamic dry deciduous forest. This land is characterized by extensive plateaus and gorges. It is a land of mesmerizing waterfalls, naturals, archaeological splendors, legends & cultural richness. It is also the land of the Ken River, which lends it unparalleled beauty. This land is sounded by natural boundaries like in north, it is surrounded by teak forest & in easte, it is surrounded by Teak-Kardhai mixed forest. The NE-SW running Vindhya Hill ranges links the eastern and western population of wild animals.
Panna National Park has been bifurcated into four Zones, two in the core area ( critical Tiger habitat ) namely Madla & Hinouta and the rest two are in buffer areas of the Tiger Reserve adjoining the core, namely Akola & Jhinna. Boat ride on the Ken river is available for guests availing jungle safari at Madla & Hinouta zone.
Daily there are two rounds of safari’s, the morning one from dawn to around 11.30 am & the noon one from 3 pm till dusk. The timings are rescheduled as per the season. Please be advised that there are no afternoon safari’s on Wednesday evenings & the day of Holi & Diwali, the Park remains restricted for tourists.
4x4 customized gypsies, pre registered with the Forest Department are used for the game drives.
It is mandatory to have a guide, registered with the Forest Department, during the excursions. The guides, although local, are well versed in the flora & fauna of the Park & showcase the Park aesthetically.
The best time to visit the Reserve is from 1st Oct to 30 June.
Panna being situated in Central India is subjected to extreme and tropical weather. Month of January may also witness sub-zero temperatures and frost. Monsoon arrives in the second week of June.
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