Melghat National Park
Melghat Tiger Reserve is located on southern offshoot of the Satpura Hill Range in Central India, also called Gavilgarh hills. The high ridge running East-West which has highest point at Vairat (1178 m above MSL) forms the South Western boundary of the Reserve.It is a prime habitat of Tiger. The forest is Tropical Dry Deciduous in nature, dominated by Teak (Tectona grandis). The area is catchment to the five major rivers viz Khandu, Khapra, Sipna, Gadga and Dolar, all of which are tributaries of the river Tapti. The North-Eastern boundary of the Reserve is marked by River Tapti. Melghat is prime biodiversity repository of the Maharashtra State.
Nature has offered protection to Melghat in the form of rugged topography with only few entry points. The Makhala, Chikhaldara, Chiladari, Patulda and Gugamal are the large plateau amidst rugged terrain.Continuity of forests in Satpura Hill Range guarantees long term conservation potential of the area.
Location of Melghat National Park :In northern extreme of Amrava.ti district of Maharashtra.. Nearest railhead Badnera U,124km; 77 miles) on main MumbaJ.Nagpur railway Joute.
Climate of Melghat National Park :Winters cOld (minimum 7°C; 45°F), summers scorching (42°C; 108°F). Monsoon season June to September.
When to go (Melghat National Park ) :October to February (winter) popular among local visitors. ~make reservations well in advance on weekends and hOlidays.
Getting to Melghat National Park :: Buses from Badnera to Paratwada (Project Tiger headquarters), 60km (37 miles) to the north. Buses from Paratwada, Amravati and Akot to Chikhaldara, a tiny resort at south of park. Project .,. Tiger Tourist Complex on banks of Sipna River, 1km (half a mile) from Semadoh (no b4ses); Information and Education Centre here.
Facilities at Melghat National Park :Forest rest houses throughout park. No lod@s at Semadoh. Project Tiger offers dormitories and basic,low.bU~get double bed huts with Indian- (rather than Western"style) bathrooms: Green Valley resorts and Konara~, a basic lodge, in the town of Koklaz.
Precautions : Human habitation between Semadoh and Chikhaldara is rare; so it is essential to carry plenty of water in summer - min. 2-3litres (3.5-5pt)per person.
Permits and Reservations for Melghat National Park :For permission to visit and accommodation, contact: Fie.ld Director, Project Tiger, Melghat National Park, Paratwada, Amravati District, Maharashtra-444805.
Landscape of Melghat National Park : Terrain rises from 'Tapti River to 1178m (3865ft) in the strikillg Gaurilagarh hills.
Melghat area was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1974. Presently, the total area of the Reserve is 1676.93 sq. km. The core area of the Reserve, the Gugarnal National Park with an area of 361.28 sq. km. and buffer area of the Reserve, the Melghat Tiger Sanctuary with an area of 788.28 sq. km. (of which 21.39 sq. km. is non-forest) were together re-notified by the state government in 1994 as Melghat Sanctuary. The remaining area is management as 'multiple use area'. Previously, Melghat Tiger Sanctuary was created in 1985 with an area of 1597.23 sq. km. Gugarnal National Park was carved out of this Sanctuary in 1987.
The Gavilgarh fort on the Chikhaldara plateau and Narnala fort abetting South Eastern part of Melghat Tiger Reserve add to the aesthetic values of the area. The visitors to these archaeological monuments enjoy serene forests in the backdrop.
Southern Tropical Dry Deciduous Forests
Teak is the predominant tree species.The common associated are Lagerstroemia parviflora, Lannea coromandelica, Emblica officinalis, Terminalia tomentosa, Anogeissus latifolia and Oujenia oojeinesis. Bamboo (Dendrocalamus strictus ) is wide spread.
Main Species( Fauna)
Mammals: Tiger, Leopard, Sloth bear, Wild dog, Jackal, Sambar, Gaur, Barking deer, Nilgai, Cheetal, Chousinga, Ratel, Flying Squirrel, Wild boar, Langur, Rhesus monkey, Porcupine, Pangolin, Mouse deer, Python, Otter, Caracal, Black napped hare.
Practices, Achievements and Shortfalls
Protection and habitat management are the main inputs. Issues related to high degree of man-animal conflict are tackled on priority basis.
The Reserve area has been divided into three zones for management and to strike a balance between the biodiversity conservation and ecologically sustainable community development.
1. Canopy of forest has improved to a great extent.
2. The population of various wild animals has increased.
3. All forest exploitation activities like timber harvesting, fuel wood harvesting, Strict protection from poaching and strict fire control
4. The database on faunal and floral attributes and other wildlife related activities have been created.
5. More than 50 publications
1. Botanical Survey of India (BSI) was involved in preparation flora of Melghat.
2. Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has completed a 3-year survey of the area. The survey documentation is in progress.
3. Medicinal plant conservation area has been established with the help of Foundation for Revitalisation of Local Health Traditions (FRLHT), Bangalore.
4. Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has completed 3-year research project on "Management of Biodiversity in Central India". Another project on "Integrated Bio-diversity Management in Satpura Hill Range" has been initiated.