Tiger relaxing under a tree, Kanha National Park

The tiger also known as Panthera tigris is one of the largest cat species in the world reaching up to a total body length of 3.3 metres and weighing up to 306 kg. The common feature of a tiger is the pattern of dark vertical stripes on reddish-orange fur with lighter under parts. They have particularly stout teeth, and long canines. Tigers can live up to 20-26 years. They are territorial, protective and generally social animals. They often require large end-to-end areas of habitat that can sustain their prey requirements. This, coupled with the fact that they are indigenous to some of the more densely populated places on Earth, has caused significant conflicts with humans.

Tigers once ranged widely across Asia, from Turkey in the west to the eastern coast of Russia. Over the past 100 years, they have lost 93% of their historic range, and have been extirpated from southwest and central Asia, from the islands of Java and Bali, and from large areas of Southeast and Eastern Asia. Today, they range from the Siberian taiga to open grasslands and tropical mangrove swamps. The remaining six tiger subspecies have been classified as endangered by IUCN. The global population in the wild is estimated to number between 3,062 to 3,948 individuals, with most remaining populations occurring in small pockets that are isolated from each other. Major reasons for population decline include habitat destruction, habitat fragmentation and poaching. The extent of area occupied by tigers is estimated at less than 1,184,911 km2 (457,497 sq mi), a 41% decline from the area estimated in the mid-1990s.
Tigers are among the most recognizable and popular of the world’s charismatic megafauna. They have featured prominently in ancient mythology and folklore, and continue to be depicted in modern films and literature. Tigers appear on many flags, coats of arms, and as mascots for sporting teams. The Bengal tiger is the national animal of Bangladesh and India.

Kanha National park is located in Banjar and Halon valleys in the Mandla / Balaghat districts of the state of Madhya Pradesh. Kanha National Park is one of the India’s finest tiger reserves. It is spread more than 940 sq km in a horse shoe shaped valley bound by the spurs of the Mekal range the park presents a varies topography.

Kanha national park is more famous for its wildlife, the natural beauty of its landscape is just as fascinating. Kanha also shelters one of the largest populations of the tigers in the country. Some of the other larger animal species found in the park are sloth bear, leopard, striped hyena, spotted dear, wild boar, jungle cat, jackal and a variety of monkeys. Over 200 spices of birds have been spotted in the park.

There are many folklore about how it got kanha name. Some say it came from kanha, the clay like soil of the river bottoms, Other say the area is named for kanha a holy forest sage, who once lived here and was the father of shakuntala, whose son was Bharat and whose story was told in our legends.

Courtesy: Wikipedia & http://www.kanha-national-park.com/

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