Pench National Park situated in the lower southern reaches of the Satpura hills, and also contributes to the ‘Tiger Safari In India’. This park is named after Pench River which flows from north to south through the Pench National Park. It is located on the southern boundary of Madhya Pradesh, bordering Maharashtra, in the districts of Seoni and Chhindwara. Pench National Park comprising an area of 758 square km out of which a core area of 299 square km is of Indira Priyadarshni Pench National Park and of Mowgli Pench Sanctuary, whereas remaining 464 square km of Pench National Park is the buffer area.
In 1992 Pench has been included under the umbrella of “Project Tiger” as the 19th Project Tiger Reserve. The area is crisscrossed by a number of streams and nallahs most of which are seasonal. Though the Pench River dries up in April end, a number of water pools locally known as ‘dohs’ are found which serve as water holes for the wild animals.
The area of the present tiger reserve has a glorious history. A description of its natural wealth and richness occurs in Ain-i-Akbari. Pench Tiger Reserve and its neighbourhood is the original setting of Rudyard Kiplings most famous work, The Jungle Book. As a prey concentration is high along the Pench River, tiger usually inhabits frequently this belt. Leopards though generally operate in the peripheral areas but are occasionally seen in the deep forest also. Jungle cats are common seen. Leopard cats, small Indian civets and palm civets are common but seen rarely. The area is especially famous for large herds of Gaur, Cheetal, sambar, nilgai, wild dog and wild pig. Other animals include sloth bear, chousingha, chinkara, barking deer, jackal, fox, hyena, porcupine etc.
It is blessed with forests spread in all the direction. As per the physiognomy, the forest type is southern tropical dry deciduous teak and southern tropical mixed deciduous forest with other species of shrubs, trees and climbers. Teak and its associate’s moyan, mahua, mokha, skiras, tendu, bija, achar, garari, aonla, ghont, barangay, amaltas, kihamali, khair, palas. Bamboo occurs sparsely, restricted to some valley.
There are over 285 species of resident and migratory birds including the Malabar Pied Hornbill, Indian Pitta, Osprey, grey headed fishing eagle, white eyed buzzard etc. in winter thousands of migratory waterfowl including brahmini duck, pochards, barheaded geese, coots etc visit the tanks and the Pench reservoir within the Park. The other fauna present include 50 species of fishes, 10 amphibians, 30 reptiles, 45 butterflies, 54 moths and numerous other insects.
The Pench National Park is open to the visitors from October to June each year and closed during the rainy seasons.