Panna Tiger Reserve


Situated in the Vindhyan mountain range in the northern part of Madhya Pradesh, Panna Tiger Reserve is spread over the Panna and Chhatarpur districts. The terrain here consists of extensive plateaus and gorges. This reserve contains the last remaining tiger habitat of North Madhya Pradesh.

Flowing from the south to the north through the reserve is the River Ken. These forests along with Ken Gharial Sanctuary form a significant part of the catchment area of this river. This river is one of the sixteen perennial rivers of Madhya Pradesh. It is the lifeline of this reserve and is the least polluted of Yamuna’s tributaries. The path of the meandering Ken offers some spectacular scenery.

The reserve is also dotted with two thousand year-old rock paintings.
© Samir Sinha/TRAFFIC-India
Panna became India’s 22nd Tiger Reserve in 1994
© Samir Sinha/TRAFFIC-India

Flora and fauna *:

It forms the northern most tip of the natural teak forests and the eastern most tip of the natural Anogeissus pendula (Kardhai) forests.

The reserve has dry and short grass habitat with extensive open woodlands. Along the major seasonal streams and in the Ken river valley, lush vegetation can be seen. The tree species Acacia catachu dominates the dry steep slopes of the plateaus here. These habitats make for a heterogeneous landscape.

This Protected Area is very important because it links the eastern and western populations of wild animals through the Vindhyan ranges that run from north-east to south-west. Apart from the tiger, it is home to other animals like the leopard, nilgai, chinkara, chousinga, chital, rusty spotted cat, porcupine, and sambhar. Gharials (long snouted crocodiles) and muggars (marsh crocodiles) can be found in River Ken. 

In addition, more than 300 species of birds can be found here. 
© Ameen Ahmed/WWF-India
The Gharial or long-snouted crocodile is found in Ken River
© Ameen Ahmed/WWF-India

History and current status:

Panna National Park was formed in 1981. Parts of the protected forests that comprise the park were originally the hunting preserves of the former kingdoms of Panna, Chhatrpur and Bijawar princely states. In 1994, this park was included as India’s 22nd tiger reserve *.

Poaching is of significant concern as the park lost almost all its tigers in 2009 due to the menace. WWF-India also supported the Madhya Pradesh state government and the forest department in the translocation of two female tigers to the tiger reserve in 2009.

* Source: Project Tiger, India

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