Kanha National Park, located in India, is a nature reserve where inhabit tigers and a variety of wild species.
In central India, a mountainous area extends 500 kilometres across the province of Madhya Pradesh. The mountains and the accompanying forest belt still contain approximately half of the forests and habitats of the country’s wildlife.
These are the jungles that inspired Kipling in his book on the Virgin Lands and even today, they are still the most intact in the whole of India.
Kanha National Park is considered the Ngorongoro of India. The physical similarity is relative because, although it is not a crater, the surrounding hills are the result of ancient volcanic activity.
What really gives substance to the comparison, in fact, is the variety of animal species that live within it. Because in Kanha, one can still enjoy what the marvellous natural heritage of India must have been only a century or so ago.
Kanha encloses a great variety of habitats, There are different types of forest that range from dense bamboo thickets to mixed (caducifolia)*** forest and extensive grasslands, growing lush grasses that form the staple diet of the majority of the Park’s herbivores. The different species of ungulates living in Kanha are the staple diet of the carnivores, among which tigers, which is why they are indispensable to the reserve’s ecological balance.
One of the Parks’ main zoological jewels are the barasinghas, or marsh deer. Their food source are the grasses that grow in the pastures of the nalas or muddy plains. The tall and compact grasses grow on the muddy plains even in summer, given the high humidity level, and they provide a hideout for the herbivores and their young.
At the end of the XIX, the barasingha abounded throughout central India. Fifty years later, in the middle of this century, only 3,000 were left and in 1970, only 66 barasinghas survived here, being the only representatives of their subspecies remaining in the world.
The urgency measures taken to protect the last barasinghas succeeded in raising the population to 550 by 1988 and since this date, their number has been increasing slowly.
The key to the recovery and survival of these deer is based on the preservation of their habitat: tall grasses. In order to do this, grazing had to be prohibited in specific areas and certain villages had to be relocated outside the Park boundaries. If more tall grasslands were obtained, there would be more food for the barasinghas but, in particular, breeding of the species would be encouraged, since these deer do not reproduce without a sea of grasses where they can hide their young from predators.