Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Bandhavgarh Untamed & Wild

Can the beauty last forever! This is what I think of forests of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve. The large contiguous patch of forests spread over the last leg of Vindhyan Hills as far as Sehora near Jabalpur. The forests in state of denudation and plunder, still contain habitable patches of forests which sustains impressive wilderness including the tigers.   


Tiger conservation albeit an impressive program can be myopic in execution if attention is paid only to the core or critical to tiger habitats. In order to give adequate space to tigers such that they multiply and survive in good numbers all the forests in an around have to be kept in a perfect state of preservation. Hence those patches of forests with lesser status need to be looked after very well. 

Bandhavgarh Grasslands 

To an average visitor it is very difficult to understand the nature of big cats especially their home range. The tigers do not understand the management concepts and practices. For then any and every undisturbed forest is home. Hence under the Project Tiger Program a large extant of forests is provided cover and benefits that accrue. Diverse wildlife and bird life find shelter under this program. The myriads of life forms flora and fauna constitute a wonderful ecosystem which unfailingly nurtures humanity.  

Male Tiger

Likewise tigers survive in forests much beyond the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve Core. They live in the buffer zone spanning a great distance. Some of the areas are in perfect state of preservation while some are being denuded and plunder by loggers and poachers. Thankfully the latter is mitigated by constant patrolling but incidences do occur. 

Sloth Bear 

Charismatic & Picturesque is what these pristine forests are described as. They retain this characteristic attributes at   many places. Even historical evidences found in the Tala Range can be found elsewhere scattered and forlorn. This also informs us of the extant of Tribal Gond rule in the region.           

Tiger inhabit the most beautiful region in Central India. Beautiful rivers, table top mountains, marshy grasslands, enchanting glens and pristine forests. These are the wonderlands of the wild World. 

Destinations like Bandhavgarh have to be preserved not only for the tigers but for the humanity as whole. These precious gems are in trouble thanks to unchecked development and mining, denudation and advancing urbanity. Lets hope the weight-age accorded to the tiger will indirectly help preserve whole ecosystem/      

Land of The Tiger - Tadoba

A large number of tourists visit Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra. The purpose of their visit is to see the tiger in its natural habitat. Tadoba abounds in tigers and leopards. It is notified as a tiger reserve and a National Park.

Tiger - Monu Dubey 

An erstwhile hunting ground the reserve has proven to be an excellent breeding grounds for the big cats. The dry deciduous forests comprise of teak as well as mixed forests with patches of bamboo in between. \

Tadoba is home to many other mammals, large number of avian and reptiles. In fact it is one of the best places to see the marsh crocodiles in numerous lakes and water bodies.

Thanks to a highly successful breeding program, and effective protective mechanism the forests now thrive with the big cats. They big cats have spread beyond the boundaries of the tiger reserve.  They have been sighted in and around the forests of Chandrapur which is at a distance of  more then thirty four kilometers. Chandrapur is coal mining town but has surrounds containing good forests. This is proving to be a good habitat for tigers.

The Project Tiger Program an Indian Government initiative has been highly successful in conservation of the species. A large number of reserves have been created as a home to the endangered species and the efforts are bearing fruits. The number of the specie in India is constantly rising and result are being awaited for the latest census. It is assumed that the number of tigers could have risen to more than three thousand all over the country. If this comes out to be true it will be an indicator of much desired success.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Hunting Grounds of The Maharajahs - Ranthambore

Thankfully no more! Ranthambhore National Park was the hunting grounds of the Maharajahs of Jaipur. But all that changed whence legislation was passed in 1972. No more hunting wild animals! This was a blessing in disguise augured by our the Honourable PM Mrs. Indira Gandhi wildlife conservation in India got a big boost a much needed respite from ruthless slaughter. Overnight history pages turned into the right folds.

Well the Maharajahs too turned into conservationists well most of them and began to conserve the inheritance. In Ranthambhore one comes across many structures that belong to the days of yore. The Rajputs were valiant fighters but they were creative architects as well. Not only that their love for music and fine arts has left an indelible impression on Indian culture.     

Ranthambhore is a conservation unit known as tiger reserve. It is home to more than forty five tigers living in an area of 1334 The area is biodiversity rich and supports many forms of life. Some of the major mammals seen here are the tiger, leopard, sloth bear, Nilgai, sambar deer and the spotted deer. Among the reptiles python and marsh crocodile are seen.

Ranthambore is home to many avian species and a delight for the birding fraternity.     

The safaris are conducted on open jeeps and canter which have to be booked in advance. The route taken is as per the zone mentioned in the permit. On safari not only wild animals but the whole ecosystem is experienced. Besides the remains of forts and temples can also be witnessed.  

The stupendous landscape is admired the most. The back drop of forest clad hills, and the presence of large number of lakes besides small grasslands creates an enchanting landscape.

Ranthambore is situated at Sawai Madhopur about 100 plus km from Jaipur and Kota in Rajasthan. The easy accessibility from New Delhi invites many visitors every year. In order to provide accommodation to the visitor a large number of hotels and resorts reside at Sawai Madhopur. The properties are luxurious but there are some budget properties as well. High End properties belong to the five star and heritage class suitable for a stay in the wilderness.

Highly popular in the tourist circuit Ranthambore tiger safaris are very much in demand. The permits for excursions are booked much in advance. For those visiting the National Park they should do all their bookings much in advance.       

Tiger in The Land of Tribal Gonds

One of the oldest National Park of Maharashtra in India Tadoba incidentally happens to be the largest. Total area of the tiger reserve 1727 The core area is 625.40 and the rest is buffer.   

The forests were the home of Gond Tribe who worship their chieftain called Taru of Tadoba. Taru worshipped as God died at the hands of a tiger whom he fought valiantly. Hence the legendary figure is revered and the park is named as Tadoba after him.

Present day tiger reserve is a combination of Andhari River Forests and Tadoba National Park created in 1955. The area is biodiversity rich both in terms of flora and fauna. The indicator species is the tiger albeit other predators like the leopard, hyena and jackal are frequently seen.  The Tadoba Lake is home to many crocodiles, turtles and fish.  Wetland and shore birds can be seen here in large numbers some which are winter migrants. Abundance of avian species makes this tiger reserve attractive for birders although greater number of tourists and wildlife photographers come here to see the tiger in the wild. 

Bison, Nilgai and four horned antelope, spotted deer, sambar and barking deer are the main prey base. Also common are langur monkey and the wild boar. A sloth bear is a delightful sight especially with cubs on its back. No wonder Tadoba is one of the most delightful tiger safari destination in India.

Tourism is drawing large number of holidaymakers and wildlife photographers every year. To support the visitors a large number of wildlife resorts provide accommodation. One can find luxury as well as budget resort for a comfortable stay.

Tiger safaris are organised on open jeeps but an entry permit is a prerequisite. The entry permits are allocated as the per the tourism zone. The permits can be obtained near the gates and often with the help resort that is providing accommodation to you.       

All in all not much trouble for tourists. To explore Tadoba National Park be well prepared. Complete booking formalities before you arrive. Take assistance of the tour operator or the resort manager. The park is closed from July 1st to October 15th every year.

Best way to reach Tadoba is from Nagpur Airport at a distance of one hundred fifty km. Nagpur is well connected by Air, Rail and Road with Mumbai. It is connected by Air from New Delhi. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Jhurjhura tigress a tragic demise

I read in papers and on FaceBook the ghastly incident that occurred in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve few days a go. Following the incident keenly I realized that what is a National Tragedy will soon be forgotten. The loss would get mired in administrative unaccountability and legal loop holes which will play their part if some substantiated findings are reached.

Jhurjura tigress is one of the many big cats that have died before their prime. This is not only the loss of an endangered species it is indicative of care and regards that we have for other life forms.

What exactly happened?

The facts are yet to come out was is arrogant reckless driving, which I have been experiencing often since number of years?

Was it deliberate murder?

Or accident?

Let us hope that we are soon enlightened of the facts. But what next? Will the incident fall in the same vein as Panna and Sariska and forgotten or setting up of a new order pacify us.? Will few heads rise and see that the incident is not forgotten till suitable corrective action ensues in order to prevent repeat?

This is the best chance to see how we regard our National Pride. This country as whole should react to this incident.

Any way whatever happened could have been prevented. The death is a testimony to the fact that more needs to be done in order to make tourism safer and fruitful in our tiger reserves.

Reckless driving is one issue

Death of a tiger!

Ever since the down slide of the tiger in India has become apparent the causus belli has created deep consternation. First it was the Project Tiger which elated then depressed. The NTPCA and what not. The down slide continues till today.

We keep on reading a death of a tiger or tigress here and then. The same goes for the leopard albeit more extensive. The situation is so precarious that a loss of one tiger in present circumstances is equivalent of hundred. The poaching of tigers in Panna and Sariska is a frightening spectacle since it happened right under the eye of the administration and that too in the core zones. Tiger deaths elsewhere ---- sans territorial fights.... They God they are

Question: Who was responsible, the poachers of course &......(sic)?

Question: Tourism (sic)?

Why it happened?

Since 1972 we are still learning and finding.....How to save the tiger?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Leopards in Kanha

The focus on tigers pushes this magnificent cat into the background. In most of the Indian tiger reserves leopards are not much sought after. They are treated as one of the inhabitants of the ecosystem. Very little work is done on these animals except at places where man eating menace exists.

Though much required, the attention only on the tiger is not a good policy. Consequent studies and research on both will assist in conservation of all big cats in he country. There are many common characteristic features in these carnivores, discovering facts related to one will lead to helping the other. 

Kanha is a large intact ecosystem that is home to the leopard besides the Bengal Tiger. The tigers presence puts the animal in a precarious situation - kind of nightmarish existence. This is the main reason for the leopard to turn nocturnal and making an arboreal existence. In Sri Lanka where the tiger is absent these cats exhibit diurnal behavior. 

In Kanha National Park the panther is more active in the periphery of the forests and the surrounding villages. Its range covers most of the buffer zone with some presence in the core area as well. Frequent incidence of livestock killing are those by leopards and surprisingly the animal has killed live stock bigger in size as was evident at Boda Chhapri Village.  But the core is noticeably dominated by the tigers. In a conflict with tiger the panther is killed and eaten without fail. Hence the spacing mechanism adopted by this animal is remarkable but nevertheless many of these cats are hunted down by tigers. The extent is not known in absence of reliable data but I presume the figure would be on the higher side.    

The competition for food is one reason for this lack of tolerance among these tertiary carnivores. The leopard cannot kill animals larger than female sambar deer, it definitely avoids large sized prey species. It's adaptability is more tenacious than that of the striped cat.  It can live on consuming small animals, birds, poultry, livestock, besides the prey available in the forests. This animal can also survive in broken ecosystems or denuded forests with little bit of day cover.

There are assumed to be around 70 leopards in Kanha Tiger Reserve in an area of 1940 sq km. But I believe that it is next to impossible to come to the correct conclusion since the animal moves in diverse habitats and is very elusive.  An extensive camera trapping can assist in this task besides keeping tab on livestock predation and records of sightings. 

In Kanha Zone a leopard was seen regularly last year near the Khatia Gate. One animal has been seen and photographed several times link road 7.  This animal is rarely seen in the grasslands of the reserve since these dominated by the much larger striped cousin. I have seen them near villages at night on Kanha Indri Road sulking in nullahs bushes in search of suitable livestock.   

The status of this animal is precarious all over with lot of killing by man wherever it survives. The number of hides being confiscated from poachers is suggestive of vary large numbers being killed in India. This is going to result in complete extermination of the animal from large part of its historical range. Man animal conflict and urbanization of denuded forest adds to the quick decrease in population.