Rudyard Kipling's "Jungle Book" published way back in 1894 has Kanha as its backdrop. So here I am with the awesome Nature India Group to explore this unique forest to meet all creatures great and small! And getting me all pepped up was the book "Kanha Tiger Reserve - Portrait of an Indian National Park" by Caroll Moulton & Ernie Hulsey who have spent over two decades visiting and exploring every facet of this unique area.
Kanha is part of the Project Tiger initiative of the Govt of India started in 1972 and is undoubtedly one of the best managed wildlife parks in the country. A huge area covering 1950 sq kms out of which 940 sq kms forms the core area. It lies in the Mandla and Balaghat regions of Madhya Pradesh in Central India. It is a wonderful drive through the thick forests of mainly Sal trees interspersed with Flame of the Forest, Crocodile Bark tree, Arjuna etc., What caught my attention was the beautiful creeper Bauhinia vahlii locally known as Mahul the stem of which is so strong that it is used for making ropes. Part of the habitat consists of open meadows at places as Sonf & Kanha. These were once villages which have since been relocated outside the park. This has helped in no small measure to ensure that the animals move freely in the areas and have avoided man-animal conflicts that are common in many other parks. The resettled villages have been provided land and housing in the nearby areas. This is definitely a model which other parks should follow.
It was in Kanha where the world renowned field biologist, mammologist and conservationist, Dr, George Schaller did his research in the sixties. For more on the unique work done throughout the world by Dr. Schaller, check out the wiki page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Schaller.