After Bandhavgarh National Park, another very popular National Park cum Tiger Reserve in the state of Madhya Pradesh in Central India is that of the Kanga Tiger Reserve or the Kanha-Kisli National Park that is a renowned tourism destination in central India visited by thousands of visitors every year who come to sight the Bengal Tigers species and the Barasingha species of the place. Kanga Tiger Reserve is the largest National Park in Madhya Pradesh and this is known especially for the presence of various fauna species like the Bengal Tigers, Indian Leopards, Sloth Bear, Barasingha and the Dhole. The Barasingha that is found inhabiting the Kanga Tiger Reserve is also the state animal of Madhya Pradesh and this deer species was earlier at the verge of extinction and at Kanga Tiger Reserve, it not only has seen a rise of the population of the Barasingha but also the Bengal Tiger species as well. The vast natural forests of Kanga Tiger Reserve comprise of the Sal trees in majority along with other mixed forests and this is what supports the growth of rich and varied flora and fauna. The forests of Kanga Tiger Reserve comprise of a total area of 2051 sq. km. with a core area of 417 sq. km. and a buffer area of 1134 sq. km. and Kanga Tiger Reserve is best known for its species of evergreen forests of Sal and the forests are home to around 43 species of mammals, 300 species of birds, 26 species of reptiles and more than 500 species of insects.
Kanga Tiger Reserve is known for one oldest living tiger in the wild named as Munna and Munna roamed fearlessly across the jungles of Kanga Tiger Reserve and his legend is now carried on by his son Chota Munna who exhibits much similar characteristics to his father and visitors from across the World come to Kanga Tiger Reserve to catch a glimpse of Chota Munna. The vast forest reserves of Kanga Tiger Reserve was the inspiration behind the famous ‘Jungle Book’ written by Rudyard Kipling and Kanha’s success story remains to be that of the being able to conserve the species of the Barasingha (hard ground swamp deers) from the brink of extinction (around 70 members in 1970) to about more than 400 in the present day. Kanga Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh is to Barasingha is that Kaziranga National Park in Assam is to the One Horned Rhinoceros but successful stories of conservation. The forest reserves where Kanga Tiger Reserve is present is located in the central highlands of India and earlier these were vast unending stretch of forests that formed a significant part of the country’s wilderness and wildlife habitat and today these forests form fragmented parts such as Panna, Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Pench and Sanjay.
Kanga Tiger Reserve has a climate that is a tropical climate and during the peak summer season, the mercury level can reach up to 43 degrees and the respite comes in the form of monsoon showers and the place is known to record around 1800mm of rainfall each year that promotes the growth of varied flora in the surroundings of Kanga Tiger Reserve. Winter season on the other hand can get exactly the opposite with the mercury dipping below to almost -2 degrees. Kanga Tiger Reserve is believed to be having around 1000 species of flowering plants and while the lowland is a mix of Sal and other mixed forests, the highlands are mostly comprised of dry deciduous forests. Apart from the prominent fauna of Kanga Tiger Reserve that comprise of Bengal Tigers, Indian Leopards, Wild Dogs, Jackal, Foxes, Barasingha, Sloth Bear, etc., the place is also home to around 300 bird species and some of these are of the likes of black ibis bill, egrets, bee-eaters, pond herons, Drongos, Indian peafowls, white breasted kingfishers, etc. The nearest airport to access Kanga Tiger Reserve is the Jabalpur airport that is located at 175 km from Kanga Tiger Reserve and the airport has connectivity with major Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, etc. and the nearest rail head again is that of Jabalpur from where one has to travel to Mandla.