PENCH NATIONAL PARK & TIGER RESERVE
The Pench National Park and Tiger Reserve extends over an area of 257 sq. km. in the lower southern reaches of the Satpura hill ranges, along the northern boundary of Nagpur District. It was declared a National Park by the Government of Maharashtra in 1975 and received the official status of “Tiger Reserve of India” in February 1999.
The park gets its name from the Pench River, which meanders through it like a mammoth python, dividing it down the center. Rich in its biodiversity, its terrain defined by hills, valleys and the occasional precipitous slope, Pench is an important ecosystem supporting an abundance of flora and fauna, including a rich variety of aquatic life.
Not surprisingly, the beauty of this part of central India has earned much literary attention. The poet Kalidas writes about the scenic charm of the place in his epics Meghdootam and Sakuntalam. R.A. Strendale’s “Camp in the Satpura Hills” draws a vivid pen picture of this idyllic paradise – as does Forsyth’s “Highlands of Central India”.
Indeed, the Pench National Park is four different forest regions in one, an extravagance of trees, shrubs, grasses, climbers, weeds and herbs, with teak being the most prominent of the tree species. The park is home to 33 species of mammals, 164 species of birds, 50 species of fish, 10 species of amphibians, 30 species of reptiles, and a wide variety of insect life.
While primarily and reservation for tigers and panthers, Pench is also home to sambhar, chital, barking deer, nilgai, black buck, gaur, wild boar, chausingha, sloth bears, wild dogs, langurs, monkeys, mouse deer, black-naped hares, jackals, foxes, hyenas, porcupines, and flying squirrels, to name a few.
Here, birdlife is equally bountiful. The feathered denizens of Pench include both resident and migratory birds like Malabar pied hornbills, Indian pittas, ospreys, grey-headed fishing eagles, white-eyed buzzards, storks, waterfowls, four endangered vulture species, and the green pigeon, which is the State Bird.
Pench is a naturalist’s dream come true; a mind-expanding experience if ever there is one.
Flora: Ain, Bamboo, Haldu, Karu, Arjun, Tendu, Char.
Fauna: Tiger, Leopard, Sloth bear, Wild dog, Jackal, Sambar, Indian Bison, Barking Deer, Blue Bull, Spotted Deer, Chausingha, Ratel, Flying Squirrel, Wild Boar, Langur, Rhesus Monkey, Porcupine, Pangolin, Mouse deer.