Tadoba National Park
Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve, located in the Chandrapur district of Maharashtra is the oldest national park in the state. It was declared a Project Tiger Reserve in 1993. Tadoba is bursting with life and animals like the tiger, leopard, sloth bear, hyaena, jackal, wild dog, blue bull and sambar inhabit the reserve. The park features thick teak forests and a beautiful lake. Scenic treks with interesting wildlife sightings are assured at Tadoba and it is rightly called ‘The Jewel of Vidharba’. Tadoba National Park was christened after the local God Taru, who is worshipped as ‘Tadoba’.
History And Culture
Legend holds that Taru was apparently a village chief who was killed in a mythological encounter with a tiger. A shrine dedicated to the God Taru exists even today beneath a huge tree, on the banks of the Tadoba Lake. The temple is frequented by adivasis, especially during the fair held every year in the Hindu month of Pusha, between December and January.
Tadoba lies in the Moharli hills of the West Chandrapur Forest Division of Maharashtra. The terrain is hilly with a gradual slope from north to south. The altitude of the hills averages about 200-350 m. The Tadoba Lake is a 120 ha. water body located in the heart of the reserve. This lake is a perennial water source that the area depends on, especially during the dry summer months. Other wetland areas within the reserve include the Kolsa lake and Andhari river.
Vegetation / Flora
Thick forests are relieved by smooth meadows and deep valleys. Cliffs, talus and caves provide refuge for several animals. Taboda is bursting with life. It houses several endangered species. The apex species of the reserve is the tiger Panthera tigris. The leopard P. pardus and the jungle cat Felis chaus are some of the other carnivores that share these forests.
Large herds of chital Axis axis and sambar Cervus unicolor may be seen. The sturdy nilgai Boselaphus tragocamelus and the swift-footed four-horned antelope Tetracerus quadricornis are also residents of this reserve. The muntjac Muntiacus muntjac, chevrotain Tragulus meminna, common langur Presbytis entellus, fl ying squirrel and wild boar Sus scrofa also abound. Crocodiles Crocodylus palustris are another highlight of the reserve. The reptilian fauna includes thirteen recorded species including three species that are endangered, namely the Marsh Crocodile, Indian Python and the Common Indian Monitor.
Tadoba is also an entomologist’s paradise. 74 species of butterfl ies have been recorded including the pansies, monarch, mormons and swordtails. Two endangered species include the Danaid Egg Fly and the Great Egg Fly. Dragonfl ies, stick insects, jewel beetles and the praying mantis are other insects in the reserve. The signature spider, giant wood and red wood spiders are often seen in the monsoon and soon after. Some hunting spiders like the wolf spiders, crab spiders and lynx spiders are also common.