History of Kanha National Park

kanha-conservation-history Kanha was originally formed a part of the Gondwana which means “Land of Gonds”. Given forest were inhibited by two aboriginal tribes of Central India, the Gonds and the Baigas. These tribes practiced shifting cultivation and subsisted on forest produce. Even today if we travel surrounding villages of Kanha National Parks, we may conclude that majority of villagers are from same tribes.

1800 Kanha forest was little known before the middle of the 19th century. Presumably, the slash-and-burn (or “bewar”) cultivation methods of the tribes like Baiga and Gond, stretched back for centuries. Region was ruled by Gond dynasty since many centuries. Baigas are among the oldest inhabitants of India. Their knowledge of animal and their behavior is remarkable. They are good trackers. We can find many Baiga guides in current time also.
According to former field director of Kanha National Park, Mr. H. S. Panwar, who surveyed the park’s history in his valuable handbook on Kanha, the first forest management rules were instituted in year 1862, when cutting of various tree species  like sal, teak, saja, shisham, and bija without official authorization was prohibited.
1857 - 1871 The first extensive natural history notes about the area come from this period, in the form of Captain J. Forsyth’s classic “The Highlands of Central India”, a highly readable combination of ethnography, forest survey, and personal memoir (with dashes of shikar diary thrown in for good measure). Captain J. Forsyth is the person who discovered Pachmarhi hill located in Satpura National Park in Central India. Book was published in 1913.
1879 Kanha Area was declared reserve forest.

In the year 1880, during British era, this region of Madhya Pradesh, then called the Central Provinces was the setting for Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book stories. One can find described landscapes in forest of Kanha & Pench in Central India.

1923 A. A. Dunbar Brander, a government official and a keenly observant amateur naturalist, focused on the region’s wildlife in a landmark publication of 1923, entitled “Wild Animals in Central India”.
1933 In  year 1933, the Kanha forest area  was declared a sanctuary.
1935 The same status was accorded in the eastern sector to Supkhar in year 1935, but within a few years the protection for wildlife in this area was ended, due to the damage caused by the animals to field crops, sal saplings and livestock. Over the nest 20 years, shooting of deer and tiger was periodically allowed.
1947-51 King of Vijaynagaram shot 30 tigers in Kanha forest area.
1955-75 During the period 1955-1975, the new national park advanced to the forefront in wildlife research and conservation efforts.
1963-65 In 1963-65, for example, the American scientist George Schaller carried out pioneering research on the Kanha ecosystem.
1967 He published the results in 1967 in an influential book entitled “”The Deer and the Tiger”.
1969 Beginning around 1969, in accordance with the core-buffer philosophy, park management began to relocate villages located within the core area, such as Sonf, Bishanpura, and Gorhela. A history of this process of relocations cannot be attempted here, but suffice it to say that there have been ups and downs, with goodwill often jeopardized by lapses in communication and insufficient forward planning. In most wildlife reserves throughout the world, the relationship between a park and its neighbours is a key factor in the ultimate success of any conservation effort, and Kanha is no exception.
1970 In year 1970, the park began a longterm and ultimately successful effort to rescue the hardground barasingha (Cervus duvaucela branderi) from extinction. A special enclosure was made inside the forest to encourage the breeding and to protect them from wild beasts. Since 1970, the Barasingha population has rebounded from a perilous low of 66 animals to the 400-500 range.
1980 During the 1980s, Kanha Park served as the principal venue for Stanley Breeden and Belinda Wright’s award-winning National Geographic film, Land of the Tigers. The success of Project Tiger’s first phase was particularly evident at Kanha and at Ranthambhore National Park in Rajasthan, and the annual visitor-ship to both parks dramatically increased.
1989-91 From 1989 to 1991, an intensive collaboration at Kanha Park between the Centre for Environmental Education in Ahmedabad and the United States National Park Service (under the auspices of the Indo-U.S. Sub-commission on Science and Technology) resulted in the installation of a multi-faceted informational programme at Kanha, consisting of a park museum at Kisli, two orientation centers and a variety of publications.
1991 By the early 1990s, these new features, together with the park’s biodiversity, the expansion of tourist infrastructure, and the reserve’s enviable record for research, monitoring and security, had made Kanha, in the opinion of many observes, the premier national park in India and one of the finest wildlife reserves in the world.
1999-2000 Kanha National Park bags award of Best Tourism Friendly National Park. Awards were announced by Department of Tourism, Govt. of India.
2000 Chilphi range of Kanha Tiger Reserve was transferred to Chattisgarh state, due to reorganization of states.

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