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Madhya Pradesh Wildlife

Experience the wild side of Madhya Pradesh, where nature and wildlife come together in perfect harmony.

Considered as the paradise for wildlife explorers, Madhya Pradesh is the land of big cats. Proudly referred to as ‘The Tiger State of India,’ it is a forest-rich state where approximately 30 percent of the land is occupied by dry deciduous forests. The tropical climate, flourishing rivers, hilly regions and many more factors like these helped to develop wildlife tourism in MP since the beginning. The densest forests, which increased to 77482.49 square kilometres according to the Forest Survey of India, are home to a rich collection of flora and fauna in Madhya Pradesh and it attracts people from all over the world every year.

Madhya Pradesh Wildlife Tourism attracts flocks of wildlife lovers, nature lovers, researchers and travellers not only to explore the flora and fauna but the travel destinations in the forests also. The state has the highest number of national parks; currently it has 12 national parks, 24 wildlife sanctuaries and three biosphere reserves. In addition to this, the state has the highest population of big cats which make it the most popular place for tiger sightings. Apart from the big cats, the well-maintained national parks and wildlife sanctuaries are also home to species like leopards, lions, cheetahs, panther, chital, sambar, nilgai, chinkara, gaur, four-horned antelope, chowsingha, wild boar, hyena and more. Besides these, the state is also renowned among birdwatchers for places like Bandhavgarh, Kanha, NP Van Vihar, Panna, Pench and Satpura which house around 572 species of birds. The plant species including mixed forests, sal, bamboo, khair and various medicinal plants also attract nature lovers from different regions of the country as well as other countries.

Quick Info About MP

Quick Info About Madhya Pradesh Wildlife Tourism

Total Forest Area of MP Around 30% of total land
Number of National Parks 12
Number of Wildlife Sanctuaries 30
Number of Biosphere Reserve 3
Biggest National Park in MP Kanha National Park
Biggest Wildlife Sanctuary in MP Bori Wildlife Sanctuary
Number of tigers in MP 526 (as per data received in 2022)
Number of Tiger Reserves in MP 6
Name of some wild animals in MP National Parks Tigers, Leopards, Lions, Cheetahs, Panther, Chital, Sambar, Nilgai, Chinkara, Gaur, four-horned Antelope, Chowsingha, Wild Boar, Hyena and 572 species of avifauna

MP Wildlife Information

National Parks in MP

So far, Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of national parks in the country which are referred to as the IUCN category II protected areas. There are a total 106 national parks in India and Madhya Pradesh only houses 12 of them. Moreover, being the hub of spiritual and heritage tourism, these 12 national parks in Madhya Pradesh are the most popular travel destinations among travellers. The amalgamation of history with nature in Bandhavgarh, the thrilling tales of Kanha, Panna and its untold success story of tiger reintroduction, Kuno and its successful Cheetah reintroduction programme along with other well-maintained national parks of the state always welcome people with cherishable moments to remember forever.

National Parks in MP

Tiger Reserves in MP

In April 1973, the Royal Bengal Tiger was declared national animal of India under the initiative of Project Tiger. The first tiger reserve was also established as an important part of the project to protect the animals as according to the IUCN Red Data Book, they were considered endangered species. Today, India houses a total of 53 tiger reserves and six of them are in Madhya Pradesh, which is also referred to as the ‘Tiger State of India’ for being home to the highest population of big cats. The first tiger reserve of the state is Kanha Tiger Reserve, declared in 1973, which is undeniably the popular wildlife safari destination in Madhya Pradesh. Other popular tiger reserves in MP are Bandhavgarh, Pench, Panna, Satpura and Sanjay Dubri Tiger Reserve.

Tiger Reserves in MP

Wildlife Sanctuaries in MP

Wildlife sanctuaries are established to protect wildlife, their habitats and surroundings from any kind of disturbances like killing, capturing and poaching. In India, there are 565 wildlife sanctuaries and among them, 30 are in Madhya Pradesh to safeguard the endangered species found in the forests of the state. Some of the popular wildlife sanctuaries in Madhya Pradesh are Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary, which is also the largest one, Ghatigaon in the Gwalior District, Karera, Ghatigaon, Bagdara, Bori and many more. These well-maintained sanctuaries are the most famous places to experience an enchanting jungle safari in MP and these wildlife jungle safari experiences are the most special moments of witnessing the exotic creatures in their own home.

Wildlife Sanctuaries in MP

Popular Wildlife Destinations in MP

MP is one of the famous tourist destination of India. There is no dearth of wildlife places to visit for a traveller in Madhya Pradesh. Here is a list of some of the most famous wildlife sanctuaries, national parks & tiger reserves to explore in Madhya Pradesh are:

Kanha National Park

Kanha National Park

Spread across Mandla and Balaghat Districts, Kanha National Park is the largest one of its kind in the state. It covers an area of 1,177 square kilometres, which is home to some stunning species like Royal Bengal Tiger, blackbuck, barasingha, panther, python, sambar and more. Another reason behind its popularity is the world famous story book written by the eminent author Rudyard Kipling.

Panna National Park

Panna National Park is one of the wonderful places in Madhya Pradesh for having wildlife trips. The thick forests along the slope of the Vindhyan Hills surrounded by the verdant valleys on the bank of the Ken River in Panna are home to some stunning creatures to watch amidst pure nature. The main reason to visit here is to spot the seven different species of vultures along with the Indian leopard, chinkara, sloth bears and more.

Panna National Park
Pench National Park

Pench National Park

Mentioned in the 16th-century historical memoir by Abu Fazal, Ain-i-Akbari, Pench National Park was established in 1965. Previously known as a wildlife sanctuary, this national park covers an area of 758 square kilometres across the districts of Chhindwara and Seoni. The national park is named after the Pench River, which divides the park in two equal parts by flowing in a North-South direction. Similar to other famous national parks.

Satpura National Park

Home to some exotic wildlife species, Satpura National Park is one of the awarded national parks in Madhya Pradesh. It covers an area of 202 square kilometres on both the banks of the Denwa River. The most interesting part of having a jungle safari here is to cross the river either in a gypsy car or an elephant.

Satpura National Park
Kuno National Park

Kuno National Park

Previously known as a wildlife sanctuary, Kuno National Park is home to African cheetahs, which were reintroduced here in September 2022. The national park covers an area of 344.686 square kilometres across the districts of Sheopur and Morena in Madhya Pradesh. Other than the cheetahs, it is also home to other wonderful species like sloth bear, Indian wolf, Indian leopard, jungle cat, Bengal fox etc.

Bandhavgarh National Park

Once a hunting ground for the Maharajas of Rewa, Bandhavgarh was declared a national park in 1968 and a tiger reserve in 1993. It is one of the most promising national parks for tiger sightings in Madhya Pradesh. Covering an area of 1,161 square kilometres in the Umaria District, Bandhavgarh is home to a rich collection of wildlife like Royal Bengal Tiger, Indian leopard, sambar, Indian Bison or Gaur, Striped Hyena and birds like oriental white eye, house sparrow, orange-headed thrush etc.

Bandhavgarh National Park

Best Time to Visit Madhya Pradesh National Parks for Wildlife Safari

The summer, from March to June is the best time for tiger sightings in the national parks of MP as the vegetation gets thinner, the tigers are easily spotted. Also, they often come to the water bodies in the park to quench their thirst in summer. Apart from summer, weather wise, October to February is another best time to visit the forests. Specifically, November and December are the best two months for birdwatching.

National Parks Madhya Pradesh

How To Reach?

By Road:

Traveling to Bandhavgarh by road is convenient as the destination is accessible from the nearby cities and towns like Umaria, Jabalpur, Katni and Khajuraho. From any of these destinations, tourists can avail a cab service to reach Bandhavgarh National Park via SH 11, 22, and NH 43.

By Rail:

Nearest railway station is Umaria after Katani railway station, from there it is about 40 minutes drive to Nature Heritage. Alternatively, take the overnight train from Delhi to Umaria and drive (30 minutes) to the park. Only jeeps are available for transfers. Khajuraho / Bandhavgarh distance is 250 Kms, (8 hrs drive).

By Air:

Fly from Delhi, Agra or Varanasi to Khajuraho and drive (7-8 hours) to Tala park entrance at Bandhavgarh. Nearest airport from the park is Khajuraho.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is Madhya Pradesh known for in terms of wildlife?

Madhya Pradesh is known as the ‘Tiger State of India’ for having the highest density of India’s tiger population.

Q. What are the major national parks and wildlife reserves in Madhya Pradesh?

Some of the major national parks and wildlife reserves in Madhya Pradesh are:
  • Bandhavgarh National Park
  • Kanha National Park
  • Panna National Park
  • Pench National Park
  • Satpura National Park
  • Kuno National Park
  • Sanjay Dubri Tiger Reserve
  • Karera Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Singhori Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Ghatigaon Wildlife Sanctuary

Q. What is the best time to visit Madhya Pradesh for wildlife?

The best time to visit the forests of Madhya Pradesh for tiger sightings is summer, from March to June. And, another best time is from October to February in winter.

Q. Are there any specific precautions or safety measures that visitors should take when visiting Madhya Pradesh wildlife?

The safety measures visitors should follow while visiting Madhya Pradesh wildlife are:
  • Listen to the instructions given by the guide.
  • Do not go out of your safari vehicle.
  • Keep the flashlight of your camera and phone off.
  • Do not feed or throw anything to animals.
  • Keep calm, make it a place free from noise.
  • Wear appropriate clothes including the colour.
  • Do not make the forests dirty, use garbage bins.

Q. How many national parks are there in Madhya Pradesh?

Presently, there are 12 national parks in Madhya Pradesh.

Q. What kind of wildlife can I expect to see in Madhya Pradesh national parks?

You can expect to see a large number of wildlife in Madhya Pradesh’s national parks such as Royal Bengal Tiger, Indian leopard, Lions, Cheetahs, Panther, Chital, Sambar, Nilgai, Chinkara, Gaur, four-horned Antelope, Chowsingha, Wild Boar, Hyena and 572 species of avifauna including honey badger, ruddy mongoose, Indian hare, Indian grey mongoose and more.

Q. What activities are available in Madhya Pradesh national parks?

Following activities are available in Madhya Pradesh’s national parks:
  • Jeep safari
  • Elephant safari
  • Boat safari
  • Overnight camping
  • Village walks
  • Tiger Safari
  • Lion safari
  • White Tiger safari
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Trekking

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