The beast that stalks the Indian forests, the undisputed king, is the Bengal tiger. This most legendary of predators is slowly becoming the stuff of legend in many parts of the continent, and India is one of the last bastions of the largest cat in the world. India’s Project Tiger Reserves are famed and we have watched them documented in countless nature shows. In real life, though, sighting a tiger can often be a hit or miss game. From a wildlife enthusiasts perspective, there are certain reserves where one is more likely to encounter the animal and Tadoba is one of them.
Maharashtra’s pride, the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve is the largest in the state. Nagpur and Chandrapur are the two major towns near the park. The rugged terrain and thick forests spread more than 1,700 square kilometers, making it a prime habitat for many species.
Animals of Tadoba
There are currently more than 80 tigers in the core area of Tadoba National Park. This population thrives because of an abundance of prey present in the area, along with an organized conservation effort by park authorities. Some of the other animals you will come across in your Tadoba safaris are spotted deer – a favorite food of the tigers, sambar deer, and the nilgai.
Leopards and the Indian wild dog, or dhole, are two other major predators of Tadoba. Striped hyenas and langurs are also found in Tadoba. Tadoba Lake is one of the major landscape highlights here and a domain of the Indian mugger or crocodile. Other reptiles found here include monitor lizards and terrapins.
Birds of Tadoba
Bird lovers will rejoice in Tadoba; there are close to 200 species found here. The early morning safaris are a great time to enjoy some rare bird sightings as the weather is much cooler. Some of the species found here include the crested honey buzzard, the paradise flycatcher and many woodpecker species. The area around the lake is an ideal place to glimpse raptors and waterfowl. There are many species of eagles found here as well, such as the grey-headed fish eagle, a specialist fish hunter, and the crested serpent eagle, which as the name suggests hunts snakes. The black-headed ibis is another iconic Indian bird that you will find on the lakeside.
You can explore the park in open-top Gypsy safaris and if you are a photography enthusiast, there are fewer places that rival Tadoba for wildlife shots. There are three separate zones for safaris in the national park and the timings change according to the time of the year. Safaris happen in the early mornings and late afternoons.
A Short Getaway Alternative
Rent a car in Nagpur and head off to the countryside: some of the attractions include Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary and the hill station of Idukki. There are many Nagpur to Tadoba cabs that will allow you to have the complete backwaters experience.