Panna National Park is a national park located in Panna and Chhatarpur districts of Madhya Pradesh in India. It has an area of 542.67 km2 (209.53 sq mi). It was declared in 1994 as the twenty second Tiger reserve of India and the fifth in Madhya Pradesh, Panna was given the Award of Excellence in 2007 as the best maintained national park of India by the Ministry of Tourism of India. It is notable that by 2009, the entire tiger population had been eliminated by poaching with the collusion of forest department officials.
- Prime tiger-land situated in Vindhyan Hills, northern Madhya Pradesh.
- Fragile, dynamic dry deciduous forest.
- Characterized by extensive plateaus and gorges.
- Abundant mesmerizing waterfalls.
- Rich in natural and archaeological splendor.
- Abounds with legends and cultural richness.
- Home to the Ken river, enhancing its unparalleled beauty.
- Northernmost limit of natural teak (Tectona grandis) distribution.
- Eastern limit of teak-kardhai (Anogeissus pendula) mixed forests.
- Connects eastern and western wildlife populations via NE-SW Vindhyan Hill ranges.
- The most vital protected area in north-central highlands of India.
- Area: 1645.08 sq km
- Longitude: 80.1700° E
- Latitude: 24.2700° N
- Best time to Visit: December to March
- Nearest Airport: Khajuraho
- Nearest Railway Station: Khajuraho (25 km), Satna (90km), Katni (150 km)
- Park Opening: 1st Oct to 30th June
- Weekly off: Wednesday evening
History of Panna National Park
Earlier, Panna National Park was a private hunting preserve of the rulers of Panna, Chhatarpur & Bijawar states. Later, in the year 1981, the national park along with Gangau sanctuary was declared as a wildlife sanctuary. Panna National Park is 22nd Tiger reserve of India and fifth in central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. In 1994, it was upgraded into a Tiger Reserve with the inclusion of some other wildlife sanctuary like Ken Gharia wildlife sanctuary. It is also mentioned in Mahabharata that Pandavas spent a long time of their exile in the forests of Panna.
The national park faced several problems in conserving the tigers. In March 2009, two female tigers were brought here from Bandhavgarh National Park and Kanha National Park. Surprisingly, in June 2009, it was discovered that the sanctuary, which had around 40 tigers six years ago, was left only with two tigresses. Due to this, Ministry of Environment and Forest decided to relocate two tigers and two tigresses to the reserve.
Wildlife at Panna National Park
Mammals: You will find tigers roaming here freely with other beings like the leopard (Panthera pardus), wild dog (Cuon alpinus), wolf (Canis lupus), hyaena, caracal (Felus caracal) and other smaller cats. Sloth bears can be easily spotted in the rock escarpments and peaceful valleys. The wooded areas are abundant with sambar, the largest of Indian deer, chital and chowsingha. One can easily see nilgai and chinkara in the open areas of grasslands, especially on the periphery.
Avifauna: The avifauna comprises more than 200 species, including a myriad of migratory birds. Some of the birds you might spot here are- white necked stork, bareheaded goose, honey Buzzard, King vulture, Blossom-headed Parakeet, Paradise flycatcher.
Reptiles: Variety of snakes including pythons are found here.
Flora: Due to the dry and hot climate along with shallow Vindhyan soils, deciduous vegetation dominates this area. Other major forest types are riverine, open grasslands and thorny woodlands. The characteristic floral species of this area include tree species such as Tectona grandis, Diospyros melanoxylon, Madhuca indica, Buchnania latifolia, Anogeissus latifolia, Anogeissus pendula, Lannea coromandelica, Bosswelia serrata, etc.
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.
Frequently asked questions about Panna National Park
Panna National Park is located in the Panna and Chhatarpur districts of Madhya Pradesh, India.
Panna National Park was declared a national park in 1981 and later upgraded to a Tiger Reserve in 1994.
Panna National Park covers an area of 542.67 square kilometers (209.53 square miles).
Read also:- Navegaon-Nagzira National Park: Maharashtra