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Barasingha in Kanha

kanha-flora-fauna Barasingha is the one of the rarest species of deer family spread across central and northern India only in small congregations. The deer is native to India and Nepal. Barasingha are also known as swamp deer. Kanha National Park is located in Madhya Pradesh and a renowned place for tigers. But the park’s major achievement is to save nearly extinct barasingha (swamps deers). It was a landmark achievement by preserve the highly endangered barasingha. Once it only 66 of these in Kanha, but careful BarahsIngha conservation and management raised their population to over 400. Now Kanha Barahsingha is a important mammal in Kanha National Park. Barasingha, or swamp deer, is the state animal of Madhya Pradesh. The Kanha tiger reserve, spread over Mandla and Balaghat districts, is the only place in the world where the species exists.

The Indian Barasingha or Swamp Deer, is an endangered species of deer, and can be seen in protected sanctuaries in India. They derive their name from the large antlers of the adult male Barasingha, which may grow to have more than 12 points, hence the translation of its name in Hindi, 12- antlered Deer. Cervus duvauceli is its scientific name. We can found three sub species of Barasingha in India. The Barasingha was previously seen across most of North and central India in areas of moist forest and swampland. With the destructions of its habitat, the Barasingha is now seen in isolated protected forests in Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Madhya Pradesh.

The Barasingha is a medium sized deer. It can grow to a height of 130 cm and weigh up to 180 Kg. The Barasingha have a predominantly brown coat with yellowish undersides; males (stags) develop a reddish tinge in summer and juveniles (fawns) are mottled with white. The coat of the male Barasingha becomes darker in color during the mating season. The antlers of an adult male Barasingha can grow up to 75cm long and can have more than 12 points. The Barasingha prefers tall grass and reed beds near rivers. Marshes or swampland is a Barasingha's preferred territory. The Barasingha is found in forested areas in the Gangetic and Brahmaputra basins in India.

Kanha has become the first tiger reserve in India to officially introduce a mascot — Bhoorsingh the Barasingha — to present the hard ground swamp deer as the spirit of the reserve and spread awareness to save it from possible extinction. They used Barasingha as a Mascot due to create a unique identity for Kanha, which makes it look distinct and help in spreading awareness and allows the younger generation to connect with all wildlife. Kanha National park is the last home to the Hard-Ground Barasingha (Swamp Deer). From a population of around 3,000 in 1938, their population dwindled to a near-extinction level of just 66 in 1970. Their current population is in excess of 400.

It has been listed vulnerable in the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species. A number of deer species like the hangul of Kashmir, the barasingha of Madhya Pradesh, the brow-antlered deer of Manipur, and antelope like the Himalayan tahr - all adorn the list of endangered species. Dunbar Brander, a forest officer in the then Central Provinces, first reported the dwindling of the barasingha population due to the destruction of its habitat. Early measures to save the barasingha population were limited to the declaration of the Banjar Valley area as a sanctuary in 1933. Subsequently, licensed hunting of the barasingha was banned in 1954 but this action was highly ineffective against poachers who were more numerous than the licensed hunters. Habitat improvement and dispersal of animals from their highly localized base was the strategy that we should employ to ensure a revival of the species. Towards this end, it was also felt that the construction of small dams and tanks would improve the moisture content in the grasslands, thereby promoting the growth of those particular grasses favored by the Barasingha.

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