Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh, which currently houses 526 tigers–highest in the country–is declared to be a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. By Tanvi Jain

The Panna Tiger Reserve has now been declared a @UNESCO biosphere reserve. Congratulations to Panna Tiger Reserve for their amazing work on tiger conservation. @moefcc,” Union Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar, confirmed in a tweet. 

As per a report by PTI, the Panna Tiger Reserve had last year witnessed a remarkable increase in the number of tigers — from zero estimated a decade ago to 50 — as a result of the Tiger Reintroduction Project that was started back in 2009, with two male and five female felinesthat were brought from Bandhavgarh and Kanha national parks. 

“Located in the centre of India, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, Panna is characterised by forests and marshy vegetation, with an abundance of rare medicinal plants as well as other non-timber forestry products, such as kattha, gum and resins. It is a critical tiger habitat area and hosts the Panna Tiger Reserve, as well as the World Heritage site of the Khajuraho Group of Monuments. The area has undergone substantial ecosystem restoration in the buffer zone. With only three urban centres and over 300 villages, agriculture is the main source of income, together with horticulture, forestry, and cultural and eco-tourism,” UNESCO wrote in its description of the national park, in a list of 25 sites that have joined its World Network of Biosphere Reserves. 

Spread across an area of approximately 542.67 square kilometres, the Panna National Park also houses animals such as Indian wolf, sloth, Leopard, Bear Pangolin, Indian fox, Gharial, etc. When here, tourists even get a chance to witness stone carvings from the Neolithic era.      

The Panna National Park was formed back in 1981, and it was only after 13 years, that it was given the status of a Project Tiger Reserve. According to report of the All India Tiger Estimation 2020, India has witnessed a growth of 1,411, 1,706, 2,226, and 2,967, in the years2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018, respectively 

India has 70 per cent of the world’s tigers. Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of tigers at 526, closely followed by Karnataka at 524, and Uttarakhand at 442. While Chhattisgarh and Mizoram have seen a decline in the numbers, other states have recorded a positive increase,” says the report.

“Such remarkable success in tiger revival has not happened anywhere else in the world,” Panna Tiger Reserve Director, KS Bhadoriya, told The Better India.

Related: On International Tiger Day, India Declares Increase In Tiger Population