Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tiger Tourism in February

After the hectic December and January months, tiger tourism at Bandhavgarh and Kanha begins to ease. The exhaustive X’mas and New Year holiday rush begins to decrease as February approaches. The winter too becomes merciful, in fact the weather is pleasant. The warm sunshine quite tolerable in early hours of the morning is best way to bask in glory.

The surroundings though not lush green are near lush green. The wonderful hues and colors of flowering trees especially the Flame of the forest tree livens the forest canopy. The wintering birds are still here. Their chaotic plunder of flowering trees, full of sweet nectar and ripe fruits is a delight to experience. Not only tiger lovers’, bird lovers too flock to Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve and Kanha to witness nature’s glory at its peak.

The real animal watching begins from February onwards. The crowd thin out, and the animals like majestic gaur or bison at Kanha Tiger Reserve begin to descend from the hills. The graceful swamp deer too congregate in park meadows along with growing herds of spotted deer. The heat will rise from April onwards and stress animals and birds. For tourist this is a blessing as stress forces animals and tigers into open and need for water makes then more active during the day.

In February the parks are at the peak, full of life and hectic animal activity. The wintering birds and residents are easy to see as the foliage opens up to coming hot months. The wildlife enthusiasts, photographers, birders and naturalists wait for this season to visit the tiger reserves. Their experience makes them choose the right time to capture the right moment in camera or their memory banks. This is my favorite season too…may be soon, I will be traveling to Kanha or Bandhavgarh tiger reserves.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Sloth Surprise

It is not often that you checklist an animal to see in a wildlife sanctuary or a National Park and get to see it.

But it happens!

My American friends came to Kanha on the final leg of their long safari from Corbett, Ranthambhore and Bandhavgarh. They had seen the tiger and many other animals and wanted to see wild dogs and a sloth bear.

"Sloth Bear!"
I said rather surprised. "Well lets see," I said Kanha is full of surprises so everything is a possibility.

Sloth bear are shy and nocturnal animals by habit and hence prefer to move in at night. Nevertheless some awaken in search of food and can be seen around the park meadows but with great difficulty. I have seen sloth bears around this jungle camp at Kanha on the periphery which has substantial forest cover and fruity shrubs to forage on. With luck a tourist can see a leopard around this resort as they often hunt spotted deer which make their way here after sunset. Most of the resorts at Kanha safari park are situated in the buffer zone and hence surrounded with lush green forest. The forest at places are dense and hence a habitat for lots of wild animals and birds.

Sloth bear are more often seen at Bamni Dadar hill road which they prefer due to some food factor and perhaps less disturbance. We headed on to the hill top on our morning safari but no luck as there were lot many jeeps on safari here which disturbed all animals including the sloth bears and the tigers.

It was in the evening ride as we were rolling down the hills whence we managed to spot the sloth bear which was well hidden in the jungle bush. The animal has a peculiar gait and is completely hidden in short bushes when on four legs. It was a big surprise not only for my friends but for me as well. It was there perhaps in answer to our prayers. At Kanha you can spot the tiger with greater certainty than a bear or a wild dog.