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Beyond Tigers: Exploring The Lesser-Known Fauna Of Kanha

by Nimisha Tewari 21 Mar 2024

While Kanha National Park is renowned for its majestic Bengal tigers, the park's biodiversity extends far beyond these iconic big cats. Exploring the lesser-known fauna of Kanha offers a fascinating journey into the diverse ecosystems and wildlife that call this protected area home. Here's a glimpse into some of the lesser-known fauna found in Kanha National Park:

  1. Barasingha (Swamp Deer):

    • Kanha is one of the last strongholds of the endangered barasingha, also known as the swamp deer. 
    • These majestic deer are distinguished by their distinctive antlers, which can have up to twelve tines.
    • Kanha's grasslands and marshy meadows provide ideal habitat for the barasingha, making sightings of these graceful creatures a highlight of any visit to the park. 
  2. Indian Wild Dog (Dhole):

    • The Indian wild dog, or dhole, is a highly social and elusive predator found in the forests of Kanha.
    • Dholes are skilled hunters known for their cooperative hunting strategies and vocal communication.
    • While sightings of dholes are relatively rare, lucky visitors may catch glimpses of these agile canines as they traverse the park in search of prey. 
  3. Sloth Bear:

    • Kanha is home to a healthy population of sloth bears, characterized by their shaggy coats and distinctive white V-shaped markings on their chests.
    • These solitary bears are primarily nocturnal, foraging for termites, ants, and fruits in the park's forests under the cover of darkness.
    • With patience and luck, visitors may encounter sloth bears during early morning or late evening safaris, particularly near water sources or termite mounds. 
  4. Indian Gaur (Indian Bison):

    • The Indian gaur, or Indian bison, is the largest bovine species and a formidable herbivore found in Kanha National Park.
    • These massive animals roam the park's grasslands and forests in small herds, grazing on a variety of vegetation.
    • Observing Indian gaurs in their natural habitat offers visitors a glimpse into the untamed wilderness of Kanha and the dynamic interactions between predators and prey. 
  5. Indian Pangolin:

    • Kanha is home to the elusive Indian pangolin, a nocturnal mammal with distinctive overlapping scales covering its body.
    • Pangolins are solitary and elusive creatures, primarily feeding on ants and termites using their specialized claws and long, sticky tongues.
    • While sightings of Indian pangolins are rare due to their nocturnal habits and cryptic behavior, the park's diverse habitats provide suitable conditions for these unique animals to thrive.
  6. Birdlife:

    • Kanha National Park is a haven for birdwatchers, boasting over 300 avian species, including resident and migratory birds.
    • From colorful kingfishers and majestic raptors to elusive forest owlets and vibrant minivets, Kanha's diverse birdlife offers endless opportunities for birdwatching enthusiasts. 
    • Exploring the park's varied habitats, including grasslands, wetlands, and mixed deciduous forests, reveals a stunning array of feathered inhabitants, each contributing to the park's ecological richness. 

Exploring the lesser-known fauna of Kanha National Park offers a deeper appreciation for the park's ecological complexity and biodiversity. While the Bengal tiger may reign as the park's undisputed icon, encountering these lesser-known species enriches the visitor experience and underscores the importance of conserving Kanha's natural heritage in its entirety.

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