Monday, January 23, 2012

Leopard Story - Bandhavgarh

We had just dropped our luggage in front of the room when we heard this! "It is a leopard!" I turned around towards my friends and said, "Don't Bother".

It took me some time to realize that the person who said that was none other then the manager of White Tiger Resort  at Bandhavgarh!

I knew he was wildlife savvy so I called my friends and said, "Hey lets look". 

By this time a large assemblage of occupants had taken place in front of the lawns facing the Charanganga River and the Tala Gate. I approached the manager and he whispered that right opposite on the banks of the river was a leopard. "But the commotion" he looked at me a bit disappointed. 

Many of the occupants were carrying torches throwing light on the banks. "Please turn off your torches and maintain silence for some time," I was barely audible. Awe struck by possibility of seeing a big cat the command was obeyed instantly.          

Some time ticked by and then I said, "Throw Light but without the sound," and there right on the banks was a full grown leopard. Perturbed by the light and squeals of delight from one and all, the big cat tried to climb unto a tree nearby. It climbed half a way then startled by  the commotion came down and started to amble towards the gate. In few minutes it had vanished into the wilderness. Right in Front of us!!!! And we could see all of it in torch light!!!!!

Wow! My friends looked towards me in disbelief. This was their first trip to forest ever and look what they get to see. "Look what you get to see," I said, they had a question on their countenance. But don't you see this wonder often. "Explanation tomorrow friends. Its time to make merry and sleep," I said barely containing my excitement. 

We thanked the manager of the Bandhavgarh hotel accommodation for his sharp eyesight. Dinner over I realized that this was a most fortuitous event in my life, albeit I had seen the big cat earlier. In the two days we stayed at Bandhavgarh we sighted Sita with her four cubs. Little Charger was right up to his antics and frightened the wits out of the visitors.            

By the way I would love to hear this, "Its a leopard" again and again throughout my lifetime. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tiger Bones

Just today TOI reported confiscation of tiger and leopard bones along with part of other wildlife. Uttaranchal it seems is most susceptible to poaching due large forest belts and wildlife that includes tigers, leopards and wild elephants.

The bones where confiscated right at the doorstep of the  Corbett tiger reserve at Ramnagar. The Field Director's office is based here. Earlier a number of snares and traps where seized from a person.    

Unfortunately the seizure is not rare occurrence but rather frequent. The state is already beset with rabid colonization of its natural places due to what seems to be a no hold bar policies. The poaching in the state spells disaster and could lead to extinction of many engendered animals.

Uttaranchal is one of the finest birding destinations but the colonization will take its toll and bring the figure down. Wildlife and Birding Tourism has brought about substantial revenue generation along with employment to a large number of downtrodden. Conservation and preservation practices are to be followed actively in order to boost tourism responsibly and protect nature.   

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Licensed Slaughter in Central India

I could just get the glimpse of this distressing news in a TV channel whence I reached home. The government of Madhya Pradesh is permitting slaughter of wild boars 5 km away from the protected areas? This means if you are registered you could shoot a wild boar if it destroys crops. (Sic).     

Earlier there were rumors of permission given to shoot spotted deer to protect the crops. How far this is true this ignorant author does not know. Even a surmise is suggestive of lack of understanding  of problems that beset the our society (wildlife included). One thing is absolute fact, that we have forgotten the teachings of  Veda. Of respect for all life forms. Ahimsa Zindabad!

What does a politician always gain? Vote Dumbo? 

The overgrown human populations have  usurped much of habitat of other life forms...and there is no guilt! There is no desire to find solution to human ingress everywhere. Who are these wild animals? Vermins, Pests, dangerous to human society. Move aside! Can you smell human chauvinism? Right Wing...Left Wing? He! He!

That the World is a human centric society is a fact. A draconian inhumanity steeped upon the voiceless. This slaughter of innocent wild boars will give license to kill other life forms under one pretext or other. Even if this does not work, few bucks in the pocket will do. Since corruption is the mother of all solutions. And the politician with myopia and greed sketched on his continence is the worst enemy of the Mother Earth.

Most of the agriculture yields in erstwhile forested areas or other habitats are pathetically poor not worth a go. But who will provide alternative means of survival to endemic communities and use an innovative approach to pressing contingencies?

Just shoot men!  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Return of the Wild Dog

The kill was large and about ten wild dogs were at it. How they managed to kill a large cattle is not a big surprise knowing the nature of this amazing canid. The wild dog in India is known as Dhole in Hindi and has other vernacular names.

During the sixties the number had gone down severely as it had a bounty on its head. In Kanha National Park they were killed in order to reduce Cheetal fawn predation. I have been visiting Kanha since the seventies and in recent times the dhole is being seen frequently at Kisli, Kanha and Mukki Zone.

This is one dog that does not bark, it communicates through whistles with other members of the pack.  The nature of its predation makes it a local migratory creature. For they surprise the deer, chase it and consume often on the run itself. With such open and shut hunting the area is soon devoid of prey. The animals presence also unnerves the tigers and other predators.

Changing places accords greater opportunity to hunt albeit I have seen dhole to stay for a longer time in high prey density area. The wild dog is encountered in buffer zone as well. The incident that I have described took place near the Kanha Village Eco Resort at Boda Chappri. Incidentally this were I came across a leopard kill earlier.  

The trans migratory nature makes it difficult to understand population dynamics of this creature. The pack can inhabit any good forest patch near rural settlements in Madhya Pradesh. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

More Tigers at Kanha

Navneet Bhai business men and wildlife photographer owns Kanha Village Eco Resort based on responsible tourism.

He reports.

"Sightings of Tiger at Sarai and Kisli zones at Kanha are really good and expected to go up with almost 23 cubs at Kanha"

Tigress and cub by Mr. Navneet Maheswari
This is fantastic news if tigers breed well in protected areas there is hope for posterity.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Reckless intrusion

A man was killed and another lost his scalp in a attack by a stray leopard. This incident happened whence the leopard strayed into Guahati City in Eastern India is the State of Assam. Similar incidences have taken place elsewhere in India.

The leopard was tranquilized and transported to a local zoo nearby. It is presumed that the animal would be released in a wildlife sanctuary nearby.  These are unfortunate incidents that tar the big cats image. But who is to blame? 

Humans a constantly intruding into the domains of big cats in India. The builder lobby is insensitive to the homes of the animals. As the cities grow in India the shortage of house leads to intrusion into natural lands in the periphery. These areas are inhabited by wild denizens living there since ages.  

The conflict is a natural reaction to the intrusion in one's domain. But it does not seem that a solution is in place. The reckless expansion of human habitation is a taking a toll on wilderness in the country. There needs to be a planning mechanism which takes wilderness and wildlife into account before permission can be granted to colonize.    

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Best place for tiger safari?

Where to see the tiger in the wild?

This question arises whence people plan to see the tiger in the wild in India. For many it may be just one visit to India and they would like to see the tiger in the wild on that visit. Tigers are shy creatures well almost and secretive. 

It is not easy to spot a tiger in most of their homes in India however for one reason or anther their visibility is very high in Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Pench and Ranthambhore in order to preference. Corbett Tiger Reserve is also a good place to see the tiger but sightings are at times difficult and infrequent.

Hence one should always prefer to visit Kanha and Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in order to see the tiger. Sightings are not guaranteed but anyway a three night stay should deliver. Even if you do not see the tiger on jeep safari you can still see it if the tiger show takes. Tiger is cordoned by a group of tame elephants if they are able to track the big cat. You are then taken atop the elephant back to the place where the tiger is. This is a short elephant ride basically from your jeep to the tiger and back.  

On many occasions the forest guide accompanying you or your naturalist are able to track the tiger with their skills. This increases the chance to see the charismatic big cat The movement of tiger is found out by observing the pug marks on the jungle road and listening to the alarm cries of the animals.     

Kanha, Bandhavgarh and Pench National Parks are in Central India in the state of Madhya Pradesh. They are accessible from Jabalpur well connected with New Delhi by air and rail. Pench is also close to Nagpur Airport about eighty plus km.   

Entry of vehicles in Bandhavgarh and Kanha is limited in each of the four zones hence your tiger safari should be booked in the advance. This can be done through an MP Online Kiosk appointed by the forest department.