At the heart of India lie six tiger reserves. This makes Madhya Pradesh home to nearly 10% of this endangered species in the world. While the Javan Tiger and the Zanzibar leopard have already gone extinct, Madhya Pradesh sets a fine example of how proper laws and infrastructure can rescue a wild animal from a complete wipe-out.
With more than twenty tigers spread over 105 sq. kms. of forest, Bandhavgarh is a popular destination for tiger safaris and conservationists. For the longest time it was home to Sita, a female Bengal tiger who had earned the tag as the second most photographed tiger in the world. Descendants of Sita and other tigers are known to live comfortably in this well-known tiger reserve.
While Bandhavgarh may be a familiar name for its high density of Bengal tigers, the jewel in the crown is Panna. In 2009, the park was labelled as tiger-less because of incessant poaching carried out with the knowledge of corrupt forest officials. However, a successful tiger relocation and mating program helped restore Panna to its previous glory and now there are quite a few of these animals living there.
The largest national park in Madhya Pradesh is Kanha, and the Bengal tigers residing here are well looked after. Rudyard Kipling’s popular novel The Jungle Book wouldn’t have existed if it wasn’t for Pench National Park. The park has nearly forty tigers and sightings are reported nearly every day. This is positive news considering the steady decline of this regal cat all around the world.
White tigers are a joy to behold and Mukundpur is home to the first sanctuary in the world for these beautiful creatures. As of April 2016, promises have been made to set-up infrastructure for a safari in this new sanctuary. India is home to 70% of the world’s tiger population, and Madhya Pradesh is rightfully nicknamed the ‘Tiger State’.