Kanha is found in the state of Madhya Pradesh. This can definitely be described as a jewel in the crown for India, as far as wildlife is concerned. It can easily be claimed as being one of the most spectacular wildlife reserves in the world.
Kanha's forests are dominated in parts by Sal and Bamboo. There are rolling grasslands and meandering streams which stretch over 940 sq km in dramatic natural splendor. Kanha is a fascinating horseshoe-shaped valley which comprises of nearly a third of the Kanha National Park. The Banjar and Halon Valley form Kanha's western and eastern halves.
Kanha first received its 'sanctuary' status in 1933 and then, by a special statute in 1955, Kanha National Park came into being. It was in 1974 when, under Project Tiger, Kanha become a Tiger Reserve.
The park consists of a core area of 940 km2, which is surrounded by a buffer zone of 1,005 km2, thus making a total area of 1,945 km2. The core area of the park and most of the buffer zone are located in two districts: Mandla to the west and Balaghat to the east.
There are four principal vegetation types which have been identified in Kanha. The tropical moist deciduous forest; dry deciduous forest; valley meadow, and plateau meadow. The main species in the moist deciduous areas (27% of the park area) is the Sal tree (Shorea robusta).
The rich diversity found in Kanha is largely due to the topography and geology of the area. This varied habitat makes it ideal for the very impressive Indian Gaur, the largest of the world's wild cattle, the Sambar Deer, the largest of the Indian deer, along with the Chausingha, the only four-horned antelope in the world!
Kanha also shelters one of the largest populations of the majestic Bengal Tigers in India. It is the place where one can almost guarantee a tiger sighting. Some of the other larger animal species commonly found in the park are Sloth Bear, Leopard, Wild Dog (Dhole), Wild Boar, Jungle Cat, Jackal and many thousands of Spotted Deer (Chital) as well as numerous Hanuman Langurs.
Undoubtedly, Kanha's major success story is the discovery and rescue from the brink of extinction of the Barasingha or Swamp Deer. In 1970 the population was just 66 individuals. This was the last surviving population of this sub-species in the world. With rigid conservation measures enforced, numbers of these beautiful deer, have now topped 500.
Kanha's bird life is rich indeed, being home to nearly 300 species. For the bird enthusiast, the jeep rides and elephant safaris can be very rewarding. A day's count can be as high as 120 species, especially during the winter months. Wildfowl, hornbills, eagles, woodpeckers, drongos and scores of other woodland birds keep the tally going. Shravan Tal, an area located in the central meadows of Kanha, is an unforgettable site for the avid bird-watcher.
A series of strict conservation programmes for the protection of the park's flora and fauna has given Kanha its deserved reputation for being one of the finest and best administered National Parks in Asia. It is an irresistible attraction for all wildlife lovers and a true haven for its animal and avian population. Offering unrivalled scope to keen wildlife photographers.