Year of compilation: 2004
AVIFAUNA: About 269 species of birds have been identified from this IBA site between February 1996 and July 2000 (Pasha et al. unpublished). The Pench reservoir, spread over 5,000 ha, is a major attraction to migratory waterfowl, and the dead trees scattered amidst the reservoir are good nesting sites for cormorants, egrets, herons and storks. White-necked Stork Ciconia episcopus, Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala, Asian Openbill Anastomus oscitans, White Ibis or Black-headed Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus and Purple Heron Ardea purpurea are some of the birds that breed around the reservoir. As the reservoir touches the forest and does not have low-lying shallow areas, small waders are not common. Since fishing was totally prohibited, the number of waterfowl has increased dramatically, both as breeding and wintering birds. According to R. N. Saxena (pers. comm. 2003), more than 2,000 Little Cormorant Phalacrocorax niger were found nesting in 2001- 2002. Some of the interesting bird records of Pasha et al. (unpublished) are regular sightings of Pied Harrier Circus melanoleucos every year since 1996; upto ten pairs of Malabar Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros coronatus; and a male Rosy Minivet Pericrocotus roseus. The Malabar Pied Hornbill is found mainly in the Western Ghats and east India, while the Rosy Minivet is a bird of the Himalayas and northeast India, wintering mainly in northeast and eastern India (Grimmett et al. 1999). Their presence in Pench indicates that they have a wider distribution than known earlier. Besides the six globally threatened species found in this IBA, Pench TR has been selected as an IBA on A3 (Biome-11: Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone) criteria also. Pench has the typical forest type and bird assemblages of central India. The BirdLife International (undated) has identified 59 species in Biome-11. In Pench, 29 have been seen till now (Pasha et al. unpublished). Probably more occur here. The list is too long to be included here.
OTHER KEY FAUNA: Pench has most of the mammals of central Indian forests, such as the Tiger Panthera tigris, Leopard P. pardus, Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus, Chinese Pangolin Manis pentadactyla, Chital Axis axis, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak, Blue bull or Nilgai Boselaphus tragocamelus, Wild Boar Sus scrofa, and Gaur Bos frontalis. Jungle Cat Felis chaus, Leopard Cat Prionailurus bengalensis, Striped Hyena Hyaena hyaena, Wild Dog Cuon alpinus, and Common Mongoose Herpestes edwardsi are the smaller carnivores. The Freshwater Crocodile Crocodylus palustris is found in the reservoir.
There were two villages within the Park, but they have been relocated outside the Park in 1992. These have been converted to good pasture for wild ungulates. Butea monosperma, Lagerstroemia parvifolia and Terminalia alata have spread, along with weeds. These need to be controlled. Tremendous disturbance was inflicted on the forests of the Reserve during the construction of the Pench Dam at Totladoh. Since the ban on fishing in the reservoir, the bird life has improved tremendously. However, illegal fishing continues in the reservoir. Funds and infrastructure to manage the Reserve are scarce, and about 30% of the posts of forest guards are vacant. About 4,000 heads of livestock from the surrounding villages depend solely on the Reserve for grazing. A similar number of villagers in and around the Reserve are entirely dependent on the Reserve for their needs of firewood and small timber. There is also some encroachment by villagers from Ghatpendhri. A new road has been constructed through the Reserve, which could increase the poaching problem.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Pench Tiger Reserve. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 13/08/2022.