Pench – The Jungle Book is alive and well again by Akash Panchbudhe

Collarwali cubs - Recently sighted at in an evening drive near alikatta main road. Though we have not seen the mother around there, but others have. (c) 2014
Collarwali cubs – Recently sighted at in an evening drive near alikatta main road. Though we have not seen the mother around there, but others have. (c) 2014

With the rains gone away, it’s time to look out for all time favourite She rkhan and Baloo in the mystical jungle of central India, Memories freshens up with getting up early in the mornings and all geared up to find them in the jungle of Pench Tiger Reserve

Winter in central has arrived with opening of our much awaited national parks. Misty and foggy mornings are soon going to cover up the grasslands, your eyes looking for stripes and rosettes and some of the most colorful birds, will be on a constant look out.

Pench National Park in October 2014 is all decorated with big leaves of teak trees, lush green carpet of grasses and some of the best river banks sightings on the Pench River

This year after the late arrival of monsoon and not enough water to fill up the park rivulets and the waterholes shows it’s going to be tough this summer for the wildlife here.

The much awaited 16th October 2014 morning – As soon as the park opened, we all can see the enthusiasm in all the park guides, forest guards, ticket booking officers, & all the dedicated staff of the Pench tiger reserve to welcome their guest after three and a half months of monsoon.

Park Guides in a new look: Pench has one of the most enthusiastic & youngest set of park guides. The guides cum friends here waited eagerly to take the guest inside the tiger reserve.

This year the guides have showed interest in designing & tailoring their own choice of uniform & got approved also as the color combination of their uniforms is as per the wildlife recommended clothing.

Monsoon gone with less rain: In all the parks in central India, we can see the difference in the water level in ponds, rivulets & nallahs. This year is quite challenging to provide water to the animals in some the man made ponds & water holes as the water is not enough to be available till March – April? I think Pench Forest Authorities should take it seriously to make their plan of action looking at temperature rise in this dry deciduous forest

Life line of Pench tiger reserve is the Pench river which supports the water requirement of the animals in the reserve, this year it’s a drastic amount of drop in water level of the river, some of the places for safaris which are on other side of the Pench river opens by late march – April, but this year it may get open by February as the river water will be left in pockets.

As an initiative for accommodating more tourist and less vehicle,  Madhya Pradesh Tourism has introduced a single canter vehicle for 12 persons which at the time of weekends and specially during the peak festival occasion can be a great help.

Mammal Sightings: Big herds of spotted deer, troops of langur, can be seen around alikatta fire line, malkundam, bijamatta & chindhimata, almost in every of the park

Sambar population is quite healthy as we can see some of them in different areas of the park almost in every safari drive

Nilgai (Males and  female) also gets regularly sighted here, Jackals almost plenty in numbers, even it’s good to see gaurs roaming around in different corners of the park. As per the expectation of finding top predators, Dholes are moving in 2-3 different packs, also gets a good sighting in the park often in packs of 10 and 12 dogs.

Leopard sightings are more happening here in the rocky terrain of Piyorthadi, Gadh sekia & Jamun Nala, in these 15 days of park being opened; almost 5-8 different leopard sightings have been recorded.

Tiger Sightings: This year many guides and naturalist around the various camps are anticipating good tiger sighting as most of the female tigers are having cubs or sub adults. Collarwali’s and Bagh nallah’s are just some with cubs.

In the past few days visitors have seen 3 different tigresses with cubs and older sub adults.

Winter visitor birds are not back yet, may be because the winter just arriving now, but osprey and grey herons are amongst the birds to look out for near the Pench River.

Being as a naturalist for the last few years, it feels good and peaceful to works here. After my two years working in one of my favorite national park “Bandhogad” (Bandhavgarh) I am now in mowgli’s land Baghwan Pench National Park

I will soon share the difference in the pictures taken in last winter & this year winter of the Pench Forest.

Credits: Tiger Nation


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