How true is The Jungle Book to where it is based?

Rudyard Kipling’s tales of The Jungle Book, the story of Mowgli a boy adopted by Wolves and how he comes to terms with where he really belongs is a representative of feral children, those young ones who have no knowledge of the Human world and are at risk of their own lives if they attempt to be like other people. It also teaches us about the wonderful world of animals and where we as people really belong

However the inspiration for Kipling’s tales actually comes from the Seone and Satpura areas of Central India and is based around two National Parks, Kanha and its neighbour Pench. Kipling derived his information of Indian Wildlife from naturalist, artist, writer and statesman, Robert Armitage Sterndale whose 1877 true story Seonee, or Camp Life on the Satpura Range  based on a wild trip that Sterndale undertook at that time inspired many scenes from The Jungle Book. Yet Kipling’s world while attempting to showcase Indian fauna is not without its contrasts

– Kipling based The Jungle Book on a story he read from the 1830s about a ‘Wolf-boy’ found in the area where the story is based

– The character of Mowgli was first introduced in the story ‘In the Rukh’  which even though written before The Jungle Book introduces the character and his Wolf family

– Indian Wolves (Mowgli’s Wolf Family and allies) are very rarely seen in Kanha (Being absent in Pench) and are only found in the Northernmost parts of the Park

– Black Leopards are not native to either Kanha or Pench. They may be but there are just no records or sightings of them

– In the Jungle Book, Elephants like Hathi are portrayed as natives of the jungle but while Elephants were once plentiful across both Kanha and Pench, they are no longer living wild there

– Wild Asian Buffalo which are seen in The Jungle Book do no occur in either Kanha or Pench. The only member of the Cattle Family in these reserves is the Gaur or Indian Bison

– In many versions of The Jungle Book, Baloo is portrayed as a Brown Bear but in the original tale is closer to that of the Sloth Bear which is common in both Kanha and Pench. However his diet matches that of the larger Asiatic Black Bear which does not occur in the National Parks that inspired the books although it is possible that the Asiatic Black Bear may have once roamed through the reserves that inspired the stories and/or that the character may simply be a hybrid of an Asiatic Black Bear and a Sloth Bear 

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