Thursday, March 23, 2017

Wild Encounters - John Leonn

John Leonn Canada & Friends
Courtyard House Kanha

Not dithered by age John Leonn retired veterinarian from Canada is an enthusiastic wildlife photographer and skier. He spends time at ski grounds doing all the hard work he loves. He spent time in India at various tiger reserves photographing wildlife in its natural habitats. 

Here are some of amazing wild animal pictures that he took assiduously while on visits to wilderness. I accompanied him as naturalist whence he visited Kanha Tiger Reserve in Central India. 

Posted below are some of his images which enthral the viewers. 
barking deer

male tiger


spotted deer

Wild dog

Wild Dog Pack

Elephant mother and calf



honey buzzard

India Pitta



Elephant ride

king Vulture



Bengal Tiger

Marsh Crocodile

One Horned Rhinoceros

Plum Headed Parakeets


Sloth Bear

Swamp Deer

Tiger at WaterHole

Pug Mark of Tiger

Wild Buffalo

Wild Boar


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Tiger Conservation: Tigress Electrocuted

Another One Down. 

This time near the Sidhi Tiger Reserve in Central India. The tigress met with a torturous end after being electrocuted by electric lines. She was in care of three cubs which may as well die. This is absolute tragedy.

The Deadly Lines

The eleven KVA lines work across the whole nation, but they are misused near the tiger reserves. Even humans, and poachers (sic) have died, the latter entrapped in their own evil mechanism. The menace poses a serious threat and should be curtailed by all means.

The related incidences have occurred at Pench, Kanha, Bandhavgarh and now Sidhi. They might be occurring elsewhere without fail.  The incidences have occurred with a degree of regularity. I believe a solution was provided by an NGO...covered wires to be used near the reserve, but they are rotting in the store.    

Until unless we do not consider all elements of tiger conservation seriously,saving the critically endangered species will be an arduous task. The these incidence continue to happen, and are miserable. They speak of  volumes of how seriously we take conservation of carnivores in India. 

This is not end since we lose predators, wild elephants and other animals to railway tracks and highways as well. This is also a regular occurrence.

These death raise serious questions especially whence these have been occurring since decades in India. Surprisingly no solutions have been found or are we not bothered at all?

We do not wish to see the back of this one. IC Teerath Singh
Why do we not impose speed limits to an extent the accidents are avoided?

Do these issue appear to be non glamorous to our wildlife managers and policy makers?

Is there a serious thought accorded to these issues? Well it does not seem so!    

At present juncture we cannot afford to lose a single tiger or a leopard. Same applies to all life forms without prejudice. A comprehensive policy should be framed for conserving critically endangered species, taking into consideration all elements that pose a threat to their survival.

More Tiger Deaths By Electrocution

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Tigress in Our Backyard

Courtyard House Kanha

Guests Simon & Toby + Family...USA. 

Fifteen minutes after we left Courtyard House at buffer zone of Kanha National Park there was a tumultuous uproar. Monkeys, chital and sambar got busy ringing the bell. Alarm cries started ringing all over. The staff, alert as ever could quickly make out a predator's presence. 

From the intensity of the call there was little to doubt that it was a leopard or a tiger. The calls continued as the predator crossed over our grounds a little distance from the fence and vanished into the dense canopy that surrounds Courtyard House.   

Ever inquisitive the guard went to inspect and discovered pug marks of a tigress. That was it a tigeress in our backyard. Few days earlier we had heard commotion at late evening over a leopard ambushing a sambar fawn which it manged to kill. The next day its remains were found near the water body about hundred yards from Courtyard House.  

The guests came across a tiger at the entrance of the park near Khatia Gate hence all was well. Next day we saw Munna the tiger which dominated the region before the huge Karai Ghati male stepped in.
Tiger Photo Uday Patel 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Tiger Conservation - Successful Breeding - Bandhavgarh

Success has come but is it too late. Recently a major newspaper reported birth of forty six tiger cubs in Bandhavgarh National Park. This is heartening news but there is more to it. The survival rate of cubs is  equally important. 

Tigeress with 4 cibs
In well managed protected area tiger breeding has been at its apex. Thanks to constant protective and related conservation practices tigers in parks like Bandhavgarh have increased. 

Tigress With Cubss
Left on their own the tigress are very protected and zealous mothers. She leaves no stone unturned in order to protect her progeny.  But the survival in the wild in tough the babies may be killed by other predators whence in infancy. They die often killed by a male tiger who has not sired them. Albeit there is no shortage of prey sometimes injury to the mother may result in the cubs dying of hunger. This often takes place in a territorial fight with another female of an intruding male. Last but not the least is the threat of poachers.   

The threats to survival of young tigers is increasing every day as fiction with surrounding humanity has increased with expanding populations. 
Young tigers

Nevertheless birth of tigers is a moment of celebration and extreme joy. Every birth augurs hope that the majestic carnivore the largest among big cats will survive for eternity. 

Here are some pictures of tigress and cubs photographed at Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh. The Indian Reserve is one of the finest habitat of the big cats and other mammals. There are more than forty tigers surviving in the park.   

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Big Brute Dabang on Full Charge

Courtyard House Kanha

Suresh Sinhji Patdi Darbar & Friends 

"One of our guests has not seen a tiger ever in his life," said Abhijeet Munshaw a wildlife enthusiast and photographer. This was our first conversation as soon as the check in formalities had been done with.  

"Well hope for the best," I said confidently. "Tigers being elusive are hard to come by."

Our first two safari were good but no tiger. Then while traversing through Kisli Zone we decided to head straight for Karai Ghati. A day before, a tiger was seen on this road and heard roaring incessantly.     

Searching for tigers is at times frustrating. We went right up to the junction which leads to Sarhi Zone. Nothing. Well there were pug marks of another male but they usually do not result in sighting often. We waited for the animal to emerge. But after some time we decided to move ahead and look for the tiger seen yesterday. The distance was not much and we could quickly bounce back if needed. There was no tiger there hence we moved on to score other areas. 

There is a female with cubs often seen near the Kisli Tank on the way to Karai Ghati. She deserted the water body whence one of the cubs was killed by a vagrant male. 

"Let look for the tigress," I told the guide."She may have returned." There were many jeeps waiting with the same objective. We waited for some time, then I said to the guide. "Lets visit the place were the big male was seen yesterday rather then wait here." The guide was thinking the same hence we drove on. It was about ten minute ride straight on.        

The tiger was lying in shade covering almost three fourth of the jungle road. "Massive." I stopped as soon as the beast looked at us. There was a deafening silence as the beats thundered. "Keep at a safe distance," I told the driver.

"This is Dabang."    

Last time I had encountered this beast on the kill and he was very aggressive almost threatening to charge. Even the distance of twenty meters seemed uncomfortable. The guests were busy with their cameras while we were having a nervous look at the tiger. 

There was another jeep ahead much ahead. We were wondering if they were aware of the predator. Well you remain silent on such occasions. 

The tiger kept looking at us, occasionally turning to look at the other jeep. He was not very comfortable but then lay quiet without any show of aggression. Well did he? 

In one instant the beast arose from his slumber and took a step towards us or rather charged. all I can say. We were at a safe distance but it seemed that he would be on the jeep in seconds. He did not, for he veered to right after a massive roar and vanished into the thickets.        

The tiger sighting was over and we turned back to look for the tigress. She was not there hence we moved on. The beautiful Kanha landscape enchants me every time and it did that to the guests as well.  

"Lets visit the male tiger again," the guest requested the guide. Well that would have meant going in for the tigress as well hence we proceeded.  

"Turn back," the guide of the approaching jeep requested us fervently. "He is charging too often." Then another jeep approached us with the same request.  

"We should not agitate the big cat further," I explained to the guests. "He is not used to the jeeps, hence he gets aggressive and charges."      

The charge is not at all a pleasant experience. In fact it could be nerve wrecking. 

We turned back. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Searching for Tigers

His huge bulk (250 kg+) passed by our jeep turning our continence into shades of blue and black. The imposing bulk aided with dagger sharp canines and claws that could rip open the mightiest on Earth all equipment for efficient hunting.  I could see all this as the animal literally glided noiselessly on the forest floor, past us on its digits and thickly padded paws. You can only hear the animal move whence its body brushes the twigs and leaves. 

Of course he was aware of us but did not care to look and ambled past without shaking a whisker. I shuddered to think what would have happened if he had a streak of violence in him. We were no match for the big beast, neither in speed and agility nor in brute strength that the tiger was equipped with. 

He passed us by non nonchalantly without a glance, and moved deep into the dense canopy sliding gently through the bushes without much ado. As we saw his contours slide through the dense foliage we heaved a sigh of relief.   

We were searching for tigers since last two days without success. My guests from UK came with an impression that the big cats were every where waiting to greet them. Their enthusiasm was childlike what with hundred clicks waiting for them to create tons of memorable moments to cherish for life.  

"Do you still feel the excitement upon coming across the charismatic beast," she had asked me during the dinner. 

"After so many failed searches and hard work my excitement upon sighting the majestic beast is as palpable as yours. Tigers are hard to come by in the jungles though their presence can never be undermined." I informed them.    

"Sighting tigers is a chance and also as result of our tracing abilities." The conversation ended as the time to pop onto the bed arrived.   

That was Munna the loved one, a tiger who has carved his name in the history of Kanha National Park. As a dominant tiger he commands a huge area that encompasses three zones. He is most visible of the big cats but nevertheless he springs surprise by being  unseen for weeks.      

In spite of their bulk these animals can hide themselves easily into their sylvan surroundings. Through thousands of years of adaptation and evolving constantly they have mastered the art of camouflage. The changing hues of yellow orange fur, shapely body contours and limited height all contribute besides the ability to stay still for a long time.     

Sharp eyes and ears besides incredible patience are recipe for success whence searching for tigers.  Understanding the behavior codes lead to making you good at the job. 

Our tiger reserves need to be experienced in the holistic manner by observing all the salient features. Nevertheless the desire to see the tiger is understood. The parks are rich in biodiversity, bird life and other life forms that accord great thrills while on wildlife safari. 

Photo Credit: Dharmagiri Pench