Tuesday 12 December 2023

Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve

(click on the image for a larger view)

In my first project for the forest department of my home state, Maharashtra, I travelled to Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve last year to create this illustrated biodiversity map of the park, where Gond culture and heritage meet some of the most iconic wildlife of Central India, making it a jewel of the heartland. The richness of Madia Gond heritage reflects in the unique stone pillars used for relaying announcements during royal processions, still preserved within the tiger reserve. Nowhere else has the intertwining of nature and humankind been iconified as distinctively as in Tadoba, where sculptures of tigers chained with the victims of human animal conflict are placed commonly in the peripheries of villages surrounding the park.

While Tadoba's teak, ain and baheda forests offer refuge to tigers, leopards, sloth bears, dholes, honey badgers, small cats and a variety of herbivores like the Gaur and Sambar, its lakes are home to mugger crocodiles and a healthy population of the near-threatened Grey-headed Fish Eagle, making the reserve an eco-tourism hotspot. I hope that the map illustration succeeds in sensitizing state authorities about the biodiversity that the park abounds with, and in serving as a reminder of all that is threatened by the expansion of mining operations and roadways in the region. The map will be on display and available as souvenirs at the park's museums and interpretation centres.

A huge thanks to Deputy Director (Core) Mr. Nandkishore Kale for giving me this opportunity, and to my Prajakta Hushangabadkar, a field biologist working in Tadoba, for guiding me through the project.

Here are some snippets from the map:

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