Madhav National Park

Year of compilation: 2004

Site description
Madhav National Park was established in 1958 at the time of the creation of the state of Madhya Pradesh. It got its present name in 1959, when it was given final notification of establishment. The Park adjoins Shivpuri town, and is located about 110 km south of the city of Gwalior. Two national highways, N-3 Bombay-Agra and N-25 Shivpuri-Bhognipur, pass through the Park. The Park also has a good network of motorable roads for tourists. The Park is interspersed with hills and valleys of the central Indian Vindhyachal hill ranges. It is very popular amongst local tourists and visitors, but not so much among foreign tourists. It was the hunting preserve and summer resort of the former Maharaja of Gwalior. It is reported that in 1916, Lord Hardinge shot eight tigers in one day in the Shivpuri forests, and Lord Minto shot 19 tigers during his trip to Gwalior State. These forests enjoyed a high degree of protection up to 1946. In 1918, the Maharaja of Gwalior constructed dams on the Manihar river, creating the Sakhya Sagar (300 ha) and Madhav lakes (49 ha). With their scenic beauty and complete infrastructure for wildlife conservation, these reservoirs now attract thousands of waterfowl. The forests of the Park are typically Mixed Dry Deciduous. Important tree species in the Park are Anogeissus pendula, Boswellia serrata and Acacia catechu.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: During a study by the BNHS, 227 birds were identified from this Park. The lakes attract thousands of ducks and other water birds, sometimes numbering more than 20,000 (A4iii criteria). During the drought years of 1987-88, when other waterbodies were dry, not less than 25,000 birds were found in the Sakhya Sagar reservoir. During normal rainfall years when other waterbodies are full, the number of Demoiselle Cranes Grus virgo and Common Cranes Grus grus vary from 400 to 550, and less than 100 respectively. However, during the severe drought of 1987-88, Saxena (1990) claims to have found 7,000 Demoiselle and 1,000 Common Cranes. Sarus Crane Grus antigone is also found, but was not found to breed there between 1982-1988. During ringing camps of the BNHS between 1987 and 1992, 979 birds of 115 species were ringed (Hussain 1998). Madhav NP is also rich in bird life typical of Dry Deciduous Tropical Forest. BirdLife International (undated) has listed 59 from Biome-11 (Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone), of which 30 species have been listed by Hussain (1998). A pair of Black-necked Stork Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus was regularly seen but no nest could be found.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Madhav National Park has a long history of protection, as mentioned above. However, Wild Tiger Panthera tigris has disappeared as a resident animal, although occasional individuals are sighted. The major carnivores are Leopard P. pardus, Striped Hyena Hyaena hyaena, Golden Jackal Canis aureus and Jungle Cat Felis chaus. Chital Axis axis, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Nilgai Boselaphus tragocamelus, Four-horned Antelope Tetracerus quadricornis, Gazelle Gazella bennettii and Wild Boar Sus scrofa are the major ungulates. Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus is reported, but rarely seen. Common Langur Semnopithecus entellus is abundant, and the waterbodies are inhabited by Marsh Crocodile Crocodylus palustris.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
MAIN THREATS: Tourism; National Highways NH3 and NH25 pass through the Park; Illicit felling, encroachment and mining; Poaching; Collection of firewood; Grazing.

Livestock grazing is the biggest problem in the Park. Although the Park is enclosed by a wall, it is breached in many places to let in cows. The villagers also abandon their cattle when they stop giving milk, so herds of semi-feral animals can be seen. Till now, only halfhearted attempts have been made to solve this long term problem. As the Park is surrounded by agricultural fields, the wild animals go out in the night to graze, and many get shot. However, inside the Park poaching is under control. In the late 1980s, misguided attempts were made to bring back the tiger to the Park, and millions of rupees were spent to put up a ‘tiger safari’ in the core of the Park. Fortunately, after refusal by the Central Zoo Authority, this so-called tiger safari is now being dismantled. In the extension area of the Park, stone mines have been totally closed, which has resulted in the revival of the flora and fauna. However, cattle grazing is still a problem which needs to be tackled.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Madhav National Park. Downloaded from on 03/08/2020.