The Tigers of Panna and their Success Story

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The story of the tigers of Panna is a bit of a roller-coaster ride. Located in the serene deciduous forests of Panna, in the Chhatarpur district of northern Madhya Pradesh; the Panna Tiger Reserve is home to a large number of tigers. But it wasn’t always this way. Let’s dial the clock back few years.

Initially a part of the private hunting grounds of the kings of Panna, Bijawar & Chhatarpur states, the area now known as Panna National Park was established in the year 1981. A few years later, in 1994, the park was declared a National Tiger Reserve. And ever since that, its tiger density grew steadily. The park developed so rapidly, in fact, that it was honoured with the Award of Excellence in 2007 for being the “best maintained national park of India” by none other than the Ministry of Tourism of India.

But alas, tragedy struck. Only a few months after receiving the award, it was reported that the park was completely tiger-less in the December of 2008. The mismanagement of local park authorities was allegedly to blame. In a desperate last-ditch effort, a reintroduction programme was launched in early 2009. 2 females from the neighbouring Bandhavgarh National Park and 1 male tiger from Kanha National Park were brought in.

And now, after several long years of perseverance, the hard work is finally starting to pay off. There are reportedly more than 30 tigers in Panna National Park. Recently, a tiger was spotted in Bandhavgarh (which is around a 150 kilometres away from the Panna Tiger Reserve) which the authorities are certain is from Panna itself. What this implies is that the tigers are starting to move out into neighbouring habitats- an indicator of the healthy growth of tiger density.

Things are truly looking bright for Panna’s future!

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