Tiger

  • Bagh, sher
  • Approx. 15 years
  • Gestation of around 3 months, 2-4 cubs
  • Forests, swamps, occasionally grasslands
  • India, Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Russia and China
  • Threatened
  • Habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, poaching
  • The tiger is the largest member of the cat family. There are about 2226 (2014) tigers in India of which about 100 live in Kanha. A tiger cannot run long distances because of its heavy body. So it stalks its prey to within about twenty feet and then in one swift rush brings it down, usually by catching the prey by its throat. In Kanha the tiger's prey base includes chital, sambar, wild pig and barasingha.

Leopard

  • - Tendua, guldar, gulbagh
  • Approx. 12 - 17 years
  • Gestation of around 3 months, 2-4 cubs
  • Forests, scrub, open country, rocky terrain
  • India, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Africa
  • Chital, langur, wild pig, barasingha.
  • Threatened
  • Habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, poaching
  • Leopards are versatile and superb hunters. They can survive in a wide range of habitats. They hunt by seizing their quarry from ground level or by jumping on it from a height. The leopard is an expert tree climber and often hides its kills on trees. Like the tiger, leopards live singly and thus are able to share the habitat of the tiger. They have, therefore, learnt to be more deft, subtle and swift.

Wild Dog

  • Dhole, son kutta, jangli kutta, ban kutta
  • Approx. 15-16 years in captivity
  • Gestation of around 2 months, 4-6 cubs
  • Forests, thick scurb jungles, open grassland
  • Central and eastern Asia, India, Malayan Penninsula, Sumatra
  • Threatened
  • Wild dogs do not bark like domestic dogs. Instead they communicate by whistles, yaps and whimpers. They have keen eyesight, alert hearing and an acute sense of smell. Wild dogs are superb hunters. They are great runners and can chase their prey tirelessly for prolonged periods of time. The pack hunting technique makes the wild dog one of the most feared in the animal world

Sloth Bear

  • Reechh, bhalu
  • Approx. 20-25 years
  • Gestation of around 7 months, 2-3 cubs
  • Forests
  • India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangldesh
  • Threatened
  • The sloth bear eats honey, fruits, roots, flowers, tubers, berries, insects and carrions. It breaks termite mounds, blows away the dirt and sucks the termites. As sloth bears live in tropical forests they do not hibernate. Sloth bear are heavy sleepers and almost wholly nocturnal. The claws are white and extraordinarily strong, measuring up to 10 cm. long. Sloth bears have a strong maternal instinct. A she-bear with cubs is a dangerous animal to confront.

Jackal

  • Gidad, siyar, srugal
  • Approx. 12-14 years
  • Gestation of around 9 weeks, 3-6 pups
  • Forests, hillsides, scrub, grasslands, desert, near cultivation
  • India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Cambodia
  • Small animals, insects, fruits
  • Tiger, leopard, wolf
  • You have probably heard the jackal more often than you have actually seen it. Jackals have a very familiar, long-drawn, eerie, howl. Jackals scavenge kills of tigers and leopard. At the kill site a jackal will quietly bide its time. The moment the predator leaves the kills, the jackal eats whatever is possible during the predators’ absence. They also raid melon and sugarcane field.

Barasingha

  • Barasingha
  • Approx. 23 years in captivity
  • Gestation around 9 months, one fawn
  • Swamps and tall grass
  • Kanha, India
  • Selected grass species
  • Tiger, Leopard, Wild Dog
  • Threatened
  • Habitat loss
  • The hard-ground or branderi barasingha, a subspecies of the swamp deer was formerly found in restricted habitats throughout central India. Their appearance and carriage make barasingha one of the most handsome deer in the world. The hard-ground barasingha of Kanha is regarded as a distinct subspecies. The majestic antlers give this deer its name. Barasingha means twelve-tined. Though the tines are not always twelve in number, but could be 10 to 14 and sometimes even upto 20.

Chital

  • Chital
  • Approx. 9-11 years
  • Gestation of around 6 months, 1 fawn
  • Forests, forest meadows
  • India, Sri Lanka, Australia
  • Grass, leaves, wild fruits
  • Tiger, leopard, wild dog, jackal
  • Of all the species of deer found in Kanha, chital are the most numerous. Chital have a pronounced sense of smell and a good sense of hearing. They are perhaps the most easily alarmed animals and often raise an alarm at the first inkling of danger. The chital has scent glands below each eye and between the hooves.

Sambar

  • Sambar
  • Approx. 16-20 years
  • Gestation of around 9 months, 1 fawn
  • Forests, hillsides, near cultivation
  • India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Southeast Asian countries
  • Grass, leaves, wild fruits, barks
  • Tiger, leopard, wild dog
  • The sambar is the largest deer of India. Despite its size it has amazing ability of moving silently through the forest. Sambar have well developed senses of hearing and scent. They are good swimmers. They are one of the favourite prey species of the tiger. One sambar can feed a tiger for 4 days. Sambar in Kanha are essentially forest dwellers, more wary and less confiding than other ungulates.

Gaur

  • Gaur
  • Approx. 30 years in captivity
  • Usually one calf at a time
  • Forests, forested hills
  • India, Myanmar, Malayan peninsula
  • Tigers
  • Habitat loss, disease, poaching
  • The gaur is the largest wild cattle in the world. Full grown males can weigh around 1000 kg. For their massive size they are very agile and can ascend steep slopes with ease. The gaur, often wrongly called bison, lives in groups and defends itself and the young calves ferociously against predators.

Wild Pig

  • Suar, ban suar, varah
  • Approx. 15-20 years
  • Gestation of around 4 months, 4-6 piglets
  • Forests, scrubs, grassland, near cultivation
  • Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, North and South America.
  • Tiger, leopard, wild dog
  • Wild pig display great courage, determination and intelligence. They are prolific breeders. Pigs are related to the peccary of America and hippopotamus of Africa. They usually live in large sounders numbering anything from 10-50 individuals. Water nearby is also an absolute must. They eat roots, tubers, insects, snakes, offal and carrion. Fallen mahua (Madhuca Indica) flowers and fruits are a favourite.

Avifauna

Kanha's birdlife is rich, the tally of birds being close to around 325 species. Mornings are full of bird calls. Calls of the tree pie, coppersmith, barbet, cuckoo, crested serpent-eagle, racket-tailed drongo and red jungle fowl are commonly heard. Globally threatened species include the lesser adjutant stork and lesser florican.

The main ground-nesting birds are peafowl, red jungle fowl and painted spur fowl. Among the commonly seen birds are Indian roller, racket-tailed drongo, red and yellow wattled lapwing, green bee-eater, grey hornbill, paradise flycatcher and golden back woodpecker.

Black ibis, white-necked and lesser adjutant storks, and occasionally cormorants can be found around water bodies or streams near Kanha, Sonf, Sondar, Kisli and Mukki.

The main birds of prey seen are crested serpent and hawk eagles, honey buzzard, black-winged kite, shikra, laggar and shaheen falcon.

Reptile

Kanha has over 26 species of reptiles inhabiting its forest though they are not very easy to locate as they live in the undergrowth or the rocky beds of the rivers.

Lizards that you are likely to see at Kanha are the Indian monitor lizard, garden lizard, fan-throated lizard, flying lizard and chameleon.

The largest snake found in Kanha is the Indian rock python. It is massively built-the maximum length recorded being nearly six metres. It is a good climber and swimmer.

Other snakes found at Kanha are cobra (Naja naja), saw-scaled viper(Echis carinatus) , wolf snake (Ptyas mucosus), and egg-eating snake. In fact, all four venomous snakes of India.

Invertebrates

Kanha teems with such lesser forms that contribute very significantly to the ecology of the area. Butterflies we all see and admire because of their fascinating colours and design but spiders, dung beetles, termites, ant, caterpillars, and scored of such smaller creatures are no less interesting.

Though tiny, they play a major role in keeping a forest alive and healthy by tilling the earth and helping in pollination of plants. Besides, they form an important food source for birds and the insectivorous.

They play a major role in keeping a forest alive and healthy by tilling the earth and helping in pollination of plants. Besides, they form an important food source for the insectivorous creatures.

A termite mound may at times contain as many as five lakh (half a million) termites. In a forest like Kanha, termites are not perceived as pests. Their digestive system helps turn dead and decaying vegetation into soil-enriching nutrients.

Endangered Fauna

Kanha tiger reserve is internationally renowned for successfully conserving two most endangered species : the tiger and the hard ground barasingha. The tiger is regarded as most threatened – almost on the verge of extinction in all the tiger range countries in the world. The free-ranging population of hard ground barasingha is endemic to Kanha. It harbours the last world population of this sub-species. Concerted managerial efforts to conserve this species virtually resurrected the branderi barasingha from the brink of extinction.