Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Integrated Online Marketing For Wildlife Lodges & Tour Operators

Online Marketing is utilization of all platforms to promote brands create reputation through website/blogs and unique contents. While many Digital Marketeers offer services as SEO experts in the topic there is one difference between just experts and those very familiar with an allied fields.

Lodge Courtyard House Kanha National Park
Understanding Diverse Topics

Marketing becomes a potential weapon for traffic generation and brand promotion if an SEO has understanding of diverse topics. I have!

Well this comes about with long term involvement with search engine optimization and social media marketing. Specialization  in some fields accrues due to deep involvement in the subject on ground as well. The added advantage of  involvement in SEO is obvious. Hence I can provide a cohesive effort to promote lodge website and tour operator website.

I have been associated with Indian Wildlife since many years as a freelance naturalist. I have accrued knowledge of lodge operations and management naturally after freelancing for more than ten years. I  am well aware of customer behaviour, needs and expectations from lodge owners and tour management. Well this means I am perfectly geared up for providing online marketing service to the wildlife sector. I create my own contents.

Indian Wildlife 
Get Bookings!

Exciting Safaris with Naturalist Interpretation & Heavenly Lodge Experience spells success! There are few aspects of wildlife experience in India:

Focus on Tiger or Apex Animal 
Quality Birding  
Destination Experience 
Indepth Interpretation at Lodges

Tiger
If you are not willing to invest in these virtues then stay budget...keep minimal tariff and reduce package tour cost.

With Lodge Owners and Tour Operators the need is to get bookings and recommendations that increase referrals. This happens whence you have a reputation online.

Hence a cohesive approach using integrated marketing is essential. Using various platforms a cohesive stratgey can be chalked out using well written contents as main tool.

Lodge/Tour Operators Website

In online promotions (mobile friendly) websites play a major role now...unlike earlier. Good link architecture, solid contents and attributes with aesthetic design. But this is not all developing a good website with appealing design is not enough for conversions. 

Interactive Approach

You need to converse with the visitors and be contemporary. The former can be done using a chat window or an email but this will not  be enough. You need to publish latest happenings on the website. So create an interactive window publish latest tours along with photos and safari experience as they were executed on weekly basis.  All this has to be real time besides the testimonial page. If you do this you will rid of being a static or cardboard cutout website which discourage conversions.

Integration a blog is ideal tool to converse with online visitors by highlighting recent tour and safari experience.

Accreditations

It is important to register your company with known association or Government if possible. These and other accreditation will increase your conversions tremendously.    

Social Media

Being Active on Social Media and creating a reputation is also a prerequisite. SM can provide with immense reach and enhance conversions and inquiry level.   

Advertisment

If you have the resources do enroll in PPC like Google Adwords with a fixed budget for greater exposure.

If you have a good database highlight your activities and new introductions using Email Marketing. Or keep in touch with past clients as well for future business and convincing referrals....

Online Marketing requires constant involvement and resource planning. The best is to hire an Online Marketing Service/Content Writer and Quality Web Designer.

Are You Serious About Your Business?



Survival would be difficult without online presence.  

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Uday works as a freelance naturalist/birder in India. He also provides SEO (Online Marketing Services) and Website Contents.
Contact: pateluday90@hotmail.com
Mobile: 9755089323 

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Bandhavgarh Land of Tiger

Words can be written about this magical paradise accolades come and go but the memories stay forever. Nestled in the Vindhya Hills Bandhavgarh was an erstwhile kingdom of Maharajahs of Rewa. But at these enchanted forests it was the Gonds that first step foot and built the fort dedicated to Laxman Lord Ram's brother hence the name.  The historical turbulence saw many warring dynasties ruling the place in the annals of history. The fort is now in ruins but some artifacts, reservoirs, idols of Lord Vishnu and structures are in a state of preservation.  An exploration of table top mountain encompassing the Fort will put you in a trance but unfortunately the area is closed for tourism. But one must visit Sesh Shaiyya or reclining Vishnu idol on the way up to the fort.





All along the Tala Range one can see historical structures especially on the Bandhavgarh Mountain at 800 plus MSL. The famous Fort, Ram Laxman Janki Temple and Reclining Idol of Lord Vishnu are situated here. 

Once part of contiguous patch of forests encompassing both Satpura and Vindhya Ranges - their confluence is at Maikal Hills in Madhya Pradesh - the tiger reserve is now isolated due to frequent denudation and ravage. Maikal Hills are home to Amarkantak and Achanakmar biosphere reserve and the famous Kanha National Park weakly connected.

The National Park and tiger reserve and Panpatha WLS comprises of 1536.7 square kilometres with  716.46 designated as core and the rest as buffer.


Though the floral composition is vastly similar in these Sal dominated forests Bandhavgarh terrain is unique with mesmerizing beauty.  The unique feature is the steep hills or cliffs and table top mountains. Small mountain streams of rivulets are in plentyful that create marshy grasslands as they intersect the plains in the valleys. Most of the rivulets like Charanganga are perennial forming an important  lifeline of the ecosystem.

The Gondwana Rocks mainly comprise of sandstone, the sand is mainly sandy loam with sprinkling of silica. The rugged topography encompasses Sal, mixed, and bamboo besides plethora of herbs and shrubs usually found in the niche.  


The tiger is at the top of the food chain while another tertiary predators is the leopard, other carnivores are dhole, jackal and fox, rusty spotted and jungle cat so on. The sloth bear along with wild boar are omnivores albeit they do not predate but have been seen on carcass frequently. The detrivores are Egyptian, White Rumped and Indian vultures the latter two being critically endangered.

The antelopes present are the Nilgai, Four Horned Antelope and Indian Gazelle. The deer family comprises of Sambar, Chital and Muntjac or barking deer.  There are two primates commonly seen here they are the Gray of Hanuman Langur and Rhesus Macaque. 

Small mammals are chiefly nocturnal and a night drive can yield a sight of toddy cat, small Indian civet, large civet and porcupine. 

A tiger safari which encompasses passage through the inclining and steep elevations is stunning and driving is a test of skill. Though the animal in focus is the tiger, nonetheless a sight of sloth bear, panther and the bison is equally exciting. 

The marshy grasslands and the ecotone are the focus of those on excursions as the big cats prefer to hunt in these habitat patches which hinder the movement of the prey.

Bandhavgarh offers a unique opportunity for nature photography with enchanting panoramic background. Winters are rich with hues of strong colors and background greenery nonetheless all seasons in this National Park offer a unique panoramic background to the lens men. 

The park is closed during the monsoon but the tourism in buffer is on. In order to reach BTR one needs to fly to Jabalpur in MP and then drive four hours. An overnight train from New Delhi halts at Umaria about 32 km from the park. The destinations can be reached from various rail heads and towns nearby. The park is well connected to Khajuraho Temple Town and Kanha National Park all in Central India. 
   

Friday, November 29, 2019

Wildlife Photography : Kanha National Park

Situated in Maikal Hills the last leg of Satpura where the Vindhya Range meet...the amazing tiger landscape of Central India is home to equally amazing biodiversity. In this blog post, I have added images of enchanting wildlife of Kanha which expresses the diveristy, testifying the miracle that our beloved Earth is about.  

In this bewildering tiger landscape, mammals, birds, reptiles and insects abound. During the tiger safari alert senses deliver optimum opportunities to film and photograph wildlife in its natural confines. A good camera with a good lens works wonder along with a keen sense of capturing the right composition, large long focal length lenses are not required and even an amateur can deliver wonderful results whence working with dilligence.

Puff Ball Fungi

Common Kingfisher

Indian Scops Owl

Wild Boar

Hard Ground Swamp Deer

 Red Naped Ibis 

Crested Hawk Eagle
Black Naped Hare

Tiger

Sambar Deer
Monitor Lizard

Jackal

Giant Wood Spider

Python

Lotus

Mongoose

While these are average photographs captured using an average camera which solves the purpose of the naturalists and amateur wildlife enthusiasts. Photography is an important tool for studying wildlife and for preserving records. 

Kanha Tiger Reserve offers immense opportunity to see, photograph and film wildlife diversity in its natural form. Mad chase for tiger is not that rewarding. Whence on tiger safari study all elements holistically and with profound keeness to enliven your holiday!!
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I work as naturalist/birding guide at Kanha National Park in Central India.
I also provide Digital Marketing Services and website Contents.
Contact: 975508932
pateluday90@hotmail.com 

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Barasingha:The Deer With Twelve Tines

Barasingha as it is known in the local lingo is a species similar to the red deer of Europe. It is so called because its head is adorned with twelve or more tines in a unique formation. 

Male Swamp Deer

Swamp Deer

Swamp Deer Fawn
In Hinda Bara=12 Seeng=Antler hence the name. In English the deer is referred as Swamp Deer and in case of Kanha National Park in Central India the species found is Cervus Duavcelli Branderi

The species survives on grass and some aquatic plants and hence has been labeled as graminivore. The deer consumes some specific species of grass and is highly sensitive to human presence. It is shy animal which lives in herds in grassy meadows rarely venturing into the canopy. In developing age the young males live in schools while the adults lead a group of females during the mating. The mating is a spectacular sight with males bellowing at the top of their voice. 

                                                          Barasingha Herd

In non breeding season post winter you will come across females with fawn and separate herds of males devoid of antlers. The new antlers begin to grow before the mating season arrives and they are a sight to behold.      

The sub species Branderi is only found in Kanha National Park albeit few heads have been recently trans-located to Satpura Tiger Reserve in Central India or Madhya Pradesh. The animal is also referred as hard ground swamp deer or Barasingha since over the hundreds of years it has adopted itself to trudge on hard ground since the swamps are no longer there. The Eastern races in India have webbed feet which enables them to walk on swamps this one does not anymore. This fact was discovered by Dunbar Brander a British Naturalist and hence it is named after him. This is a case of adaptation and tells us how life forms evolve in a changing environment.

Kanha boasts of the greatest conservation success whence the numbers of this species were recovered from 66 to 500. The conservation saga began in the late sixties with the assistance of George Schaller the famous American field biologist. He has penned the  accounts in his book "The Deer & The Tiger". 

The deer species once thrived in thousands in Central India but with the advance of human civilization, agriculture and hunting the status had come to a very low level and they now survived in the inviolate confines of Kanha National Park. They were the most gregarious animals in India and there populations everywhere has been contained disastrously. 

While efforts were going on to save this species from extinction it was discovered that with such low population they could not withstand predation and hence they were roped in a pen devoid of all predators. The rest is history, their numbers stand at five hundred plus and they have spread all across the core area unto many meadows.    

The deer does not co-inhabit with humans and maintains a great distance. It is confined to core area because of its shy nature.  Entirly a grass dweller the fate of this deer hangs in balance in protected areas as the habitats have been wiped out all over the country. 

At Kanha intense efforts are being made to conserve this sub species and the grasslands are preserved and looked after with care. The success has been spectacular thanks to persistant efforts. In times to come the population of this charismatic deer is going to increase and may be trans-located to other forests where they once thrived with pride. 
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Uday freelances as naturalist and loves to blog on conservation and environment.
Contact: pateluday90@hotmail.com
9755089323

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Char - Thy Seed is The King

Without doubt the char seed is the most coveted seed in India. Used as garnish and condiment the seed is also called chironji in Hindi. The astringent almond flavour taste acts as a neutralizer in extremely sugary concoctions. It is sprinkled straight or often roasted before use in Kheer, Penda, Halwa and other Indian sweets. 

The tree (buchnania lanzan) is called char in Hindi and it used to grow widespread in the jungles before denudation. I remember the super delicious sweet and sour fruit we used to collect few kilometers from our residence in Jabalpur. The savory fruit bearing trees are not available any more as they have been run down by urbanization, but the flavor remains in my memory bank. 

Like many other fruits from fruit bearing tree in India the delicacy was sold in local markets during the ripening season in dry summers. Not anymore, I hardly see them being sold in local bazaars as the production has gone down and now the seed is most precious commodity described as minor forest produce. Minor Forest Produce usually collected by the forest depatment are subject to trade in all our reserve forests except the PAs. The locals are employed in collection of minor forest produce thus according them with means of sustenance in the remote locations. 

The main beneficiaries are the locals but like the tendu patta or bidi leaf  (melanoxylon dyspros) the availability has become scarce and chironji is one of the most expensive commodity in the country.  The tree belongs to the Mango Family and the fruit is robust rounded about 10 mm in diameter reddish purple in color. Apart from taste it should be rich in antioxidants and minerals - to be ascertained.      


Char Trunk

The nearly squarish shaped extrusions on the trunk makes it easy to be identified.

The tree is found in Sal Forests, Dry Deciduous Mixed Forests as an associate and never abundant as in a grove or forming a canopy . It ranges up to Sub Himalayan Tract and down into Deccan.  It is found in the tiger reserves of Central India as well as the reserve forests.

The fruits ripen in dry summers and the kernel contains the seeds which have made it economically viable as an income source for the locals.
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Uday works as a senior naturalist and blogs on tiger conservation wildlife, biodiveristy and environment.
Contact: pateluday90@hotmail.com
9755089323

Monday, July 1, 2019

Apis Dorsata - The Giant Honey Bee

Class Insecta
Family Apidae
Genus Apis
Species Dorsata
Common Name Giant Honey Bee
Distribution in India Mainly Forests 

The sweet syrupy liquor known as eleixir of life on Earth is present in the stores all over the World. It is part of the kitchens were it is used as a condiment and an ingredient of various recipes. It is also used as medicine. I remember in our childhood bitter powdery concoctions were mixed with honey to make them palatable. 

The bees are social insects and one fact that everyone remembers often from childhood onwards is the painful sting. In forests workers, photographers, naturalists and tourists are susceptible to being stung by hordes of these insects which often requires hospitalizations.

In forests like Sunderban where honey is the most desired minor forest produce they are a reason for man animal conflict the tiger being the cause of many deaths and injuries. The nests or combs are built in difficult to reach locations high up in a tree usually on a horizontal branch hanging in any direction.

Hence honey does not come without a price. You will come across many tribal and villagers selling honey which can be from this species or another. There are actually three sub species of apis dorsata while some honey bearing hives may belong to another species or genus. There are nine honey bee species within this genus with similar morphological, physiological and behavioral traits.

Social Hierarchy is in form of  Queen who mates with the drones or males. The latter are produced by the Queen during the reproductive season and leave the comb after that and go on to enter another comb and mate with the Queen in there. The queen is polyandrous and mates with many drones. During the nuptial flight it may in company of drones fly to another spot to colonize it thus initiating the process of propagation. The workers constitute the third group and smaller in size but greater in numbers.

The life cycle consists of four stages namely:
  • Egg
  • Pupa
  • Larvae
  • Adult


The adult pierce the wax coated chambers to exit and the go on to perform their duties in the comb. The population splits into two when it grows large and established another colony. For this their should be enough food available in the vicinity.

It is not possible to colonize apis dorsata in man made hives as they are open nest species. They nevertheless are economically beneficial besides being excellent polinating agents. They are spread all over Southern Asia and extensively in India.
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Uday works as a naturalist in India and loves to blog on wilderness.
Contact: pateluday90@hotmail.com
9755089323

Friday, June 28, 2019

Anthill Ahoy! Termites

Well this is not a ship reaching an island this is about the ubiquitous anthills that you see at Kanha National Park and other forests in India. One visit and you come to know that they number more that the tigers and leopards which require an exhaustive search.

The Anthills I have mentioned here are the homes of the termite who dwell in large colony in a  sandy nests and are the chief recyclers or reprocessors and hence enrich the soil. Unfortunately these small creatures do contribute to atmospheric methane a green house gas. 

Termite Mound

The mounds exhibit a unique archtecture with central chambers covered by protruding blade like structures probably to maintain temperature.
These whiteants are detritivores and consume dead plants at any stage of decomposition. They can be spread like a sheet on living trees and on dead logs infected by termites and are called higher termites. You can also find them isolated in open ground where they propabably feed on dead grass and fallen leaves, branches and feaces are known as lower termites.

Most of the species convert cellulose having specialized mid guts and some have symbiotic protozoa/bacteria and flagellates to aid them in digestion. In order to balance nature and reduce biotic pressure many species of ants consume species of vegetation depending upon the seasons this enhance their survival due to diverse adaptability to food source.

Some termites practice fungi culture that is they support a group of fungi which when consumed pass through the termite guts unharmed and thus find place of regeneration elsewhere.

Thus these tiny creatures exhibit complex ecology and are an interesting study for the scientist's. In the forests of India many species may be found and they build mounds of different types.  

Species in Kanha National Park

Euhamitermes kanhaensis
Eurytermes boveni
Pericapritermes tetraphilus
Odontotermes bhagwatti

The termite colony structure sets to expire after trans location of breeding males and female. The structure becomes darker with age and eventually perishes. Hence the mounds keep on venturing to unexploited places in the forest to recycle dead waste elsewhere. 

Colony social hierarchy consists of Queen Bee/Bees, King that mates with the queen for the life, soldiers, workers which develop from fertilized eggs, drones which develop from unfertilized eggs.  

Unlike the ants and the bees the breeding among the termites differs. During the nymph stage extensive moulting takes place to become workers and then metamorphose to become alates. Alates males and females post nuptial flights set up separate colonies. The nuptial flight depends upon many factious and the king and queen mate only whence suitable place is found and chambers built for them. The keep mating for life and never come out of their chamber.

The lifecycle, breeding and other biological and social processes may differ among the species. From one species to another. 

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Uday is a naturalist/birder and blogger on tigers and wildlife conservation.
Contact: pateluday90@hotmail.com