Updated: Sep 19, 2019
The Kanha National Park stretches upto 1000 (square km) including the buffer zone and forms the biggest national park in Central India. The tiger count at the time of our visit was 80-100, this does not includes the cubs. A males tiger usually needs an area of 30sq km as compared to 10 sq km required for the females. Up to 3 female and one male can share their areas. Love triangle amongst the tigers often leads to life taking fights. The males are extremely possessive about their partners, even willing to lay down their lives as and when required. So don’t even think of taunting the females ;-)
Predicting the movement of tigers
The movement of tigers increases when temperature inside the forest is not comfortable, i.e either too cold or too hot. In the context of winter, the movement is maximum in the night (unfortunately no safari is permitted), early morning and late afternoon. So when the forest is most uncomfortable for the tourist the chances of sighting are more. When the sun is out and its warmer the tiger prefers to sit down and relax, making it practically impossible to locate due to absence of signals, calls and presence of dense Shal and bamboo bushes.
The Unprotected Safari
Safaris are conducted in open Maruti gypsy car without any protection. This came as a shocker and we were curious to know the reason behind such confidence. There are couple of reasons behind this:
1. Ample food for breakfast, lunch and dinner is available for the tigers inside the forest. Countless deers, wild boars and buffalos appear in their daily menu. So they don’t need to hunt for humans.
2. We were informed that the tigers and other animals are habituated with the colors of gypsy cars and they consider it as a part of the jungle. Humans who walk inside the jungle are more prone to tiger attack, since animals are not habituated with such creatures with two legs and colorful clothes. In the past there has been incidences when tigers were angry and chased gypsy cars but till date no casualties were reported. “Parents of the tigers teach them not to attack the gypsy cars. So although they belongs to the same species that is available in the Sunderbans of West Bengal (where tigers are man-eaters) their nature and behavior are different” that is what our guide explained to us.
Tiger pugmarks are unique, just like our finger prints. It is possible to distinguish between male and female by studying them. Pugmarks for male are squarer and wider, where as those of the females are rectangular. They reveals the direction in which the tiger has walked and how long ago. If carefully observed, pugmarks can give a clue regarding fitness level of the tiger as well as its age. It has been used as an important tool though ages for Tiger counting.
Termite Mound may look like a heap of earth, but it is actually a well-designed, self-made home for the termites. The termites uses their saliva to bind the soil and build a mound. The mound has special chambers, tunnels and temperatures-controlling system. Termites have definite ‘caste’ differentiation with specific roles for each caste. The four castes usually present are reproductive caste, supplementary reproductive caste, workers and soldiers. The digestive system of the termites converts dead and decaying vegetation into soil-enriching nutrients.
Spider Web may look delicate, but spider silk is one of the strongest natural substances. For an equal diameter, spider silk is stronger than steel. It is waterproof and cannot be attached to by bacteria or fungi. This is why cobwebs remain around for so long. All spiders make silk. Spiders use silk to construct webs, catch their food, line their home, protect their eggs, bind their prey and even as parachute to fly!
Dung Beetle- They are located near dungs of animals inside the forest and come in various sizes. Both male and female extracts the soft parts of the dung, rolls them into a ball and laboriously pushes the ball to their nest. Here the female lays their egg in the center of the dung ball. When the young ones hatches they get immediate food supply from the dung. The dung also acts as a protective shield against any possible predators.
Great Grass- Few of us know that bamboo is a grass. It is one the largest growing species of grass. In early stages you can almost see a shoot growing taller by many centimeters every single day. Bamboo regenerates both by seeds and by rhizomes. Like all other grasses, it flowers only once in its lifetime to die soon after. Bamboo regenerates vigorously even though it is consumed by animals, birds and even humans. However excessive grazing by live stocks can destroy the seedlings before formation of the rhizomes. Then the bamboo cannot regenerate.