Pench National Park
Popularly called the land of Mowgli, the beauty of Pench national park has been inspiration behind the famous “Jungle Book” by Rudyard Kipling! This national park which nestles in the Southern slopes of the Satpura ranges of Central India has a plethora of flora and fauna and has recently been in the news for its recent tiger sightings.
History and Origin
Nestled in the lower southern region of the Satpuda hills, derives its name from the river Pench, which splits the National Park into two, forming the lifeline of the Park. A rich history defines the national park, in fact a description of its natural wealth and richness occurs in Ain-i-Akbari. It was established in the year 1977, when an area of 449.39 sq. km was declared Pench Sanctuary. Out of this, an area of 292.85 sq. km was declared Pench National Park in the year 1983 and 118.31 sq km remained as Pench Sanctuary.The name of Pench National Park was changed to “Indira Priyadarshini Pench National Park” in November 2002; similarly the name of Pench Sanctuary has been changed to “Mowgli Pench Sanctuary”. Today, the park encompasses an area of about 750+ sq. kms, with a core area of 299 sq. km and 464 sq. km of buffer.
Pench Tiger Reserve comprises the Indira Priyadarshini Pench National Park, the Mowgli Pench Sanctuary and a buffer.The terrain of the park is undulating with mainly gentle slopes criss-crossed by streams and nullahs, most of which are seasonal in nature and run dry by the month of April. Open dry, deciduous forests interspersed with moist, sheltered valleys allows for a plethora of flora and fauna to flourish. Gentle slopes lead to flat-topped hills, providing a bird’s eye view of fine forests around. The best known of thesepanoramic perches is ‘Kalapahar’ with an altitude of 650 mts. The Pench Riveracts as life giver with its many streams and water pools locally known as ‘dohs’.
Flora and Fauna
Over 1200 species of plants have been noted from the area including rare and endangered plants. The vegetation is dominated by open canopies of mixed forests with considerable shrub cover alongside open grassy patches. The high habitat heterogeneity favours high population of Chital and Sambar .The area is especially famous for large herds of Gaur (Indian Bison), Cheetal, Sambar, Nilgai, Wild Dog and Wild Pig. The key predator is the Tiger followed by Leopard, Wild Dog and Wolf. Other animals include Sloth Bear, Chausinga, Chinkara, Barking Deer, Jackal, Fox, Palm Civet, Small Indian Civet, Jungle Cat, Hyena, Porcupine etc. There are over 285 species of resident and migratory birds. The other fauna present include 50 species of fishes, 10 amphibians, 30 reptiles, 45 butterflies, 54 moths and numerous other insects.
Did you know?
Who can forget Mowgli, the pint-sized ‘Man-Child’ of yesteryears? Or for that matter remember the friendly and playful Bagheera, the Black Panther. The inimitable Sher Khan, the villain of Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book. Kipling was inspired to write his memorable book by the luxuriant forest cover of Pench teeming with an astonishing variety of wildlife.It was many a wild lifers’ visits to these beautiful forests and their works such as R.A. Strendale’s semi-autobiographical ‘Seonee’ and ‘Denizens of the Jungle’ that led to the ideation of ourall-time fun jungle lore – the Jungle Book! In fact it is interesting to know that the character of Mowgli was inspired by Sir William Henry Sleeman’s pamphlet, ‘An Account of Wolves Nurturing Children in Their Dens’ which describes a wolf-boy captured in Seoni district near the village of SantBaori in 1831. Many of The Jungle Book’s locations are actual locations in Seoni District, like the Waingungariver with its gorge where Sherkhan was killed, Kanhiwaravilllage and the ‘Seeonee hills’.