Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve, India

An article by Mohan Pai
Tiger Reserve

The Central Highlands of India, the enchanting land of Kipling’s Jungle Book.
Land of the “The Jungle

The Central Highlands of the Satpura Range is the original setting of Rudyard Kipling’s most famous work, The Jungle Book. Kipling borrowed heavily from Robert Armitage Strendale’s books ‘Seonee’, ‘Mammalia of India and Ceylon’ and ‘Denizens of the Jungle’ for the topography, wildlife, and its ways. Mowgli was inspired by Sir William Henry Sleeman’s pamphlet, ‘An Account of Wolves Nurturing Children in Their Dens’ which describes a wolf-boy captured in Seoni district near the village of Sant Baori in 1831. Many of The Jungle Book’s locations are actual locations in Seoni District, like the Waingunga river with its gorge where Sherkhan was killed, Kanhiwara villlage and the ‘Seeonee hills’.
This is the largest contiguous tiger habitat in the world and as such crucial for the Tiger’s survival. The Satpuras are not only home to majestic tiger, but also host other endangered species like the forest owlet, otter, pangolin, chinkara and mouse deer. Its grasslands are home to barasingha, while giant squirrels inhabit the canopy of the moist deciduous forests. The forests of the Satpuras need to be protected for their contribution to augmenting India’s supply of that most precious of resources – water. The Satpuras give birth to important rivers such as Wardha, Tapi, Purna, Denwa, Tawa and Narmada which sustain millions of Indians.

The entire Satpura landscape includes 13 Protected Areas (PAs) covering approximately 6,500 sq km. These PAs are connected by vital wildlife corridors and the inclusion of these takes the range’s contiguous cover to around 10,000 sq km. The famous tiger reserves of Melghat in Maharashtra and Pench, Bori-Satpura and Kanha in Madhya Pradesh all lie within the Satpuras. Tadoba-Andhari Tiger reserve is at the southern part of this complex.

Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve is the pristine and unique eco-system situated in the Chandrapur district of the Maharashtra State located at a distance of 40 km fro Chandrapur. The Reserve contains some of the best of forest tracks and endowed with rich biodiversity. It is famous for its natural heritage. Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve is the second Tiger Reserve in the State of Maharashtra.Tadoba-Andhari Tiger reserve was created in 1995. The area of the Reserve is 625.40 sq. km. This includes Tadoba National Park, created in 1955 with an area of 116.55 sq. km. and Andhari Wildlife Sanctuary created in 1986 with an area of 508.85 sq. km. The Reserve is constituted with 577.96 sq. km. of reserve forest, 32.51 sq. km of protected forest and 14.93 sq. km. other areas.
The name ‘Tadoba’ is the name of the God ‘Tadoba’or “Taru”, praised by the tribal which is supposed to live in the dense forests of Tadoba and Andhari region.
The National Park is 623 km² in area, consisting of two forested rectangles of the Tadoba and Andhari range. It is the biggest National park in Maharashtra. Thickly clad hills form the northern and western boundary of the Tiger Reserve. To the southwest is a huge lake which acts as a buffer between the park’s forest and the extensive farmland which extends up to Irai Lake.Adjacent to the core forested hills is the Chichghat valley. The Tadoba Tiger Reserve is a comparatively undisturbed forest not visited by many tourists. Tadoba Tiger Reserve is open throughout the year. The camp is a three-hour road journey from the city of Nagpur, Maharashtra.
Forest Types
Southern tropical Dry Deciduous Forest

Wild Life
Apart from around 40 tigers, Tadoba Tiger Reserve is home to rare Indian wildlife like leopards, sloth bears, gaur, wild dogs, hyenas, civet and jungle cats, and many species of Indian deer like sambar, cheetal, nilgai, and barking deer. The Tadoba lake sustains the Marsh Crocodile, which were once common all over Maharashtra. Tadoba is also an ornithologist’s paradise with a varied diversity of aquatic birdlife, and Raptors.

Serpent Eagle

Marsh Crocodile

Tadoba is part of a very important corridor of central India’s contiguous forests which makes it the largest tiger corridor connected to Madhya Pradesh’s best tigerlands. Below is a panoramic view of Tadoba’s dry deciduous forest and the Tadoba reservoir, which is known as the ‘Heart of Tadoba’.


At least 31 people have been killed by tigers from Tadoba since April 2005, according to forest department records. But only two of these killings took place inside the reserve. The rest occurred in the thickly forested Mul, Shioni, Talodhi, Nagbhid and Brahmapuri forest ranges adjoining the reserve’s eastern border, where most villages are located and most roads are being built.The attacks have affected the rural economy. Most villagers are wary of venturing into the forests to collect forest produce. In Talodhi range’s Jankapur village, where three persons were killed by tigers in recent years, half the villagers haven’t cultivated their land since June 2007.Forest officials aren’t clear what’s prompting the attacks. Last November the department killed a supposed man-eater in Talodhi, but that didn’t stop the attacks. Poonam and Harsh Dhanwatey of the Tiger Research and Conservation Trust, who have been working in forests outside the reserve, suggest the attacks might be due to seasonal wildlife pattern changes. However, Amrut Dhanwatey, wildlife photographer and owner of the Tiger Trails resort on the western side of the reserve, says road-building and tourist activities is disturbing the tigers and their prey base and forcing the cats to move outside the reserve.Both conservationists and forest officials allege local villagers’ forays in to the forests to graze cattle and collect forest produce is the lead cause of the attacks.Villagers also blame the development activities. Last year, for instance, Jankapur villagers lost around 485.6 ha to a canal being built as part of the Gosekhurd dam project. This included their entire grazing land and a village tank. Since they are losing land, villagers are forced to go into the forest to graze their cattle. “Officials don’t understand how crucial forests are for us,” says Dhondabai Kusram of Jankapur.
Acknowledgements: Satpura Foundation, Atul Dhamankar

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1 Response to “Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve, India”

  1. 1 Rajit April 26, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    Hi Mohan,

    Nice piece of information. thanks for sharing.

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