The Charismatic Mammals of Kanha

For most visitors to Kanha, the aim is to see a tiger in the wild; and for many, this may be their first sighting of a wild Tiger. Of-course Tiger sighting is always a marvel and who would not like to leave this forest without seeing the King of the Jungle - despite my many sightings, I look forward to meeting this mighty denizen of the forest; unfortunately in this vast area, the 90 odd tigers are spread out and in the  thickets, and one has to be lucky to spot them. Alarm calls of animals like the Hanuman Langur, Chital or Sambar, identifying pugmarks or scats along the road can help track down the animal, often with mixed results. It is very likely that we have been spotted by a tiger instead! In many forests, experienced  mahouts on elephants also scout every morning for the presence of this species and try to bring them out in the open for the many jeeps to spot and photograph them. This is how we managed to spot this tigress. Also seen a tiger in a distance which made a quick retreat. So here I have Panthera tigris for you!

Besides the Tiger, there are a good variety of other mammals
Spotted Deer in combat mode


Swamp Deer on high alert

Sambar - male cooling off & below fleeing at the sight of us

One of the most charismatic species of Kanha is the special hard-ground Swamp Deer Cervus duavcelli branderii found only in this park. The local name is Barasingha. Please see my Dudhwa blog for more about the other two sub-species found in Assam and Northern India. From a low of just 60 in the 1980s, their number has risen significantly to about 450 today. It is to the credit of the Park management that through careful conservation measures, they have been able to save this species form the brink of extinction albeit at the cost of another beautiful species - the Blackbuck which has all but disappeared from the park. Unfortunately, nature is an exacting master!

Gaur Bos gaurus is another very interesting bovine found in the jungles of Central and Southern India

Waterholes in the park provide good sustenance to life forms as this female Sambar

Gaur in the Mukki range

Gaur with its young feeding peacefully

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