Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Bandhavgarh - Tiger population in core area.

First time I heard about Tiger density in Bandhavgarh was in 1979 and that time it was claimed that Bandhavgarh has highest density of tigers in India. 
This is true story that some Rangers who were sitting with me suddenly started counting Tigers in their range and starting laughing like mad.
That time Kisli and Kanha  range of Kanha national park had as many tigers as many were in Bandhavgarh but because they were a part of a National Park and here a Tala range itself was a National Park. 
That time total area of Bandhavgarh was only 105 sq km.
If you want to know tiger figures in this park then you have to find the papers written by other  than park officials or look for the films made in 80's and carefully hear the commentary.
What is happening now?
Tiger population in this park is at it's highest numbers.
This park does not have prey base to support these many tigers in the park boundary. 
Youngsters do not have a chance to survive in the park boundary so they move out to the area where there future is more uncertain than inside the park.
There are so many factors which worked negatively for the park and it's habitants in last few years.
Encroachment on forest land right next to the park boundary is one such case that has destroyed lots of corridor for wildlife.
In  present political scenario in the state and in the country wildlife do not have enough hope for their secured future.
People keep on talking about the tiger future and some times they start talking so seriously as it looks as tigers are going to disappear overnight but if you see the things properly then you will realise that most of them are talking for their own survival.
Their survival is attached to the shouting of Save the Tiger. 
Tigers future around here is very much safe. Poaching case  of Tigers has come down to almost zero in last few years. What you have heard was not the tiger poaching but it was unfortunate accident where tiger lands in a trap put for herbivores.
Tiger population is so good now that even any dominant male is not having a good time  in his own territory. Every year one or two new males are challenging him.
Bamera lost his territory at the peak of his age, Jobi lost most of  his territory to new young tigers.  
Blue Eye lost his territory even before he could sire a litter in his  area.
This whole new conflict of male is affecting the life of females too. Some of them are living in a dilemma, don't know who the master  is and this is the one reason why many of them are not getting pregnant quickly.
So  new season will have new secrets to reveal.
Let us see what happens to Tulsi? Will she lose her territory to new female or will secure a small little place for herself?
Wakeeta will be elusive again. Poor girl have  very poor territory.
Chakradhara is still empty (june 2015), ownership of Chorbehra - Dhobiakhol is still unknown.
So let us see what happens this year.
Last year was very poor as far as tiger sighting was concerned.

Monday, August 10, 2015

House turning in to a Home.

Not only me but many of my friends never had enough money to buy a house in any city and even at times some of us did not had even money to buy the land in rural areas.
All of us were very scared of bank loan too.
I bought land, on which we live, very late in my life and even then we did not had enough money to finish the construction work at once.
In those days I use to say When you don't have money construction keep on going.
I have my own joy and sorrow of living on this land but when my friends visit my place they become jealous of the life we live.
If that's the case then I will suggest that people should buy some piece of land in Rural India and develop it bit by bit.
We are living on this land since last 17 yrs and still planting trees. Since last two years we are having very good crop of Pomegranate and now I regret that why I did not planted more.
My Cheeku plantation failed because I don't think it's suitable to this area.
Oranges are good and so the Lemons.
If Orange gives fruit as our Lemon plants does then we may not need to buy any orange Juice ever.
We failed to use all our lemon crop. Even after feeding 8 families, for their yearly supply of Lemon Squash and pickle, we waste a lot.
So my dear friends if you have money even to buy a smallest piece of land in Rural India buy it immediately because by the time you retire that land may become a destination for your holidays.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Rise and Fall of Bandhavgarh 7

In last three years time what changed Bandhavgarh most is the free hand given to Labour to do what they feel best.
This relaxed attitude of forest department employees did not do any good for wildlife of any sort.
Tiger is always a major attraction for Tourists but all other small things makes this place more interesting. Start from the beginning Tourists were allowed to visit some of the caves in the park. These caves had lots of wildlife (Bats, spider, Lizards). Tourists were always interested in these small things. 
Badi Gufa, Astbal and Kutchehary were the most important caves around Sheshshaiyya. 
At one time Tomb Bats were found in abundance at Kutchehary and Astbal and Great Eastern Horse Shoe Bats in Badi Gufa.
Now we see them none at any of these places. 
Badi Gufa was turned in to a store where labour started parking their bicycle and keeping all the road maintenance material disturbed the bats.
Here a motorcycle is parked in Kutchehary.

I hope people remember the days when Gohni gate was put at it's place only for one reason - to keep villagers at bay from park area. 
Villagers has to go to their farming land after crossing the Gohni gate controlled by park management. Tourists were allowed to visit those fields in search of yello wattled lapwing, White Eyed Buzzard, Monitor Lizard, Porcupine, Indian Fox, Indian Jackal, many species of Pipits and Larks and Chinkara. Later things changed bit by bit and villagers were invited to farm their land. Few years back one of the Field Director saw this and decided to have C.P.T. instead of Chain Link fence. This was a very clever move. But present management in the park completely defeated or say wipedout all those efforts of previous Directors and allowed them to run Tea shop at right at the edge of core area. This created lots of disturbance to wildlife. Below in the picture is Tea shops at Baghnaka camp in Magadhi zone.

 It's not only in Magadhi zone they have allowed this disturbance in Khitauli zone also.


Barasingha trans location

I am putting this article here only for as a record to note down the trans location dates from Kanha to Van Vihar Bhopal on 8th January.
Newsroom 24x7 9th January. 2015

The wildlife Wing of Madhya Pradesh forest department, with active participation of the Kanha Tiger Reserve and Bhopal’s Van Vihar National Park staff has achieved major success by relocating 7 of the hard ground central Indian barasingha from Kanha to Van Vihar.
This is a significant step towards conservation of the ground swamp deer specie, which is on the verge of extinction. Barasingha has the honour of being State Animal of Madhya Pradesh. The swamp deer arrived at Van Vihar today under the supervision of forest officers and veterinary doctors in a specially built vehicle and have been housed in conservation breeding enclosure especially prepared for them.
For translocation of the swamp deer from Kanha Tiger Reserve to Van Vihar, a capture strategy was chalked out after obtaining permission from the Central and state governments. The capture process started in Kanha Tiger Reserve on January 7 from 6 am onwards. Tills 12.30 pm, seven of these rare animals were captured in specially built Boma and sent to Bhopal.
The Capture process was led by Additional Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Suhas Kumar and Kanha Tiger Reserve Field director Jasbir Singh Chouhan. Shubhranjan Sen of Indian Wildlife Institute Dehradun, Director Centre for Wildlife Forensic and Health Dr. A.B. Shrivastava, doctor of Van Vihar Bhopal Dr. Atul Gupta, Assistant Director of Kanha Tiger Reserve Rajneesh Kumar Singh and Dr. Sandeep Agrawal were part of the team that took part in the capture operation.
Mr. Suhas Kumar told Newsroom24x7 that the next step is to reintroduce barasingha in its original range in Satpura–to be precise in the Bori area. “Now this will open up the gates for the next step” he said adding the original plan was to reintroduce barasingha in Satpura where the soft release enclosure has also been developed. The proposal for reintroducing the barasingha in Satpura was pending and National Tiger Conservation Authority finally agreed with the condition that the barasingha should first be brought to Van Vihar to demonstrate the viability of the relocation exercise. The State wildlife wing took this as a huge and unique opportunity to create a gene pool by building a conservation enclosure, said Mr. Kumar.
The central Indian hard ground barasingha is a sub-species of the swamp deer (Cervus duvauceli duvauceli) of the sub-Himalayan terai of north India. It is highly endangered. The Central Indian sub-species, whose historic range covered several districts of the present states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, is now endemic only to the Kanha National Park and forms the only world population.
The Kanha meadows have grass round the year and the protected area has remained a perfect habitat for tigers and the highly endangered and the only world population of the hard ground barasingha. The historic range of barasingha covered several districts of the present states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, has remained endemic only to the Kanha National Park for several decades. Even in this part of the globe, the barasingha population came down to such drastic levels that the forest staff had started carrying out a daily attendance to monitor the status of this highly endangered species. Before the conservation initiative was taken up at Kanha, the barasingha was almost on the verge of exticntion. During the late 1960s, their numbers had declined and the count had come down to only 66 and the population was restricted to a small area inside the Kanha National Park.
The central Indian barasingha is a sub-species of the swamp deer (Cervus duvauceli duvauceli) of the sub-Himalayan terai of north India, the Kanha barasingha is a food specialist with a narrow niche, and is an exclusively graminivorous deer species, wholly dependent on grasslands. It is a very handsome deer whose characteristic bugle calls echo through the habitat during the winter, when it is also their mating season. It is a pleasant sight to spot the magnificient male barasingha plucking a typical grass with its antlers and displaying it for the purpose of natural selection in the midst of the Kanha grassland.
According to the Kanha Tiger Reserve Field Director, “the resurrection of the majestic hard ground barasingha in Kanha is by far one of the most inspiring successes in the history of wildlife conservation in the country.” The magnitude of poaching and habitat loss in and around the present national park in the past drove this magnificent deer to almost extinction. In the late 1930s there were around 3000 of the hard groundbarasingha.The Supkhar forest range of Kanha, which had lost every single animal by the late 1950s, has now become a safe haven for a small population of barasingha which has now stabilised.
As part of the Kanha conservation initiative, the Kanha Tiger Reserve management has been creating linkages between grasslands for foraging and reclaiming additional grassland habitat through village relocation. These abandoned village sites have started morphing into excellent grasslands and support barasingha dispersal and their multiplication.
Considering various biological constraints and risks of this small population, the wildlife wing of the State Forest department and Kanha management picked Van Vihar National park in Bhopal as an alternative habitat for this deer species where some introduced founder-animals can multiply and maintain another population in the state.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Rise and Fall of Bandhavgarh 6

Lodges which are doing false bookings are actually forcing small lodges out of business and increasing corrupt practices.
This is not good.
Big lodges do not improve local economy at all, this is being proven many times but because they have clout in the system so they get upper hands in every move of the management.
This should not happen any more.
High cost of entry fee has already removed local tourists (from near by towns) from the scene. People who are not able to visit the jungle only because of the cost are loosing interest in every conservation move.
Their thinking is "this is all for rich people's game so why we look at that side at all." (read why help in conservation of anything)
Some policies needs to change to save the interest of a genuine tourist.

In previous para I used a word "Local Tourist".
Let me put here what I mean with that. 
In early 70's to till 90's people from nearby town and cities use to visit Bandhavgarh and when they have any guest they use to bring them here to show them a Tiger. Many people use to arrange family functions on saturday or sunday so they can visit Bandhavgarh on sunday morning to see a Tiger on Tiger show.
In those days people from surrounding areas use to feel proud of Bandhavgarh. 

I remember so many families from Satna, Amarpatan, Maihar, Katni, Jabalpur, Shahdol, Umaria,Chandiya, Birsinghpur Pali and Budhar who use to bring their guests here. 
Mr Hasan the then Field Director (1981 -83)started a tradition that whenever there is a Tiger show near the main gate he allowed Tala villagers to see the Tiger without charge. Forest deptt, White Tiger Forest Lodge and Jungle Camp vehicle use to ferry the villagers.
Mr R.C.Sharma went a step further and allowed locals free entry and Tiger show in the park on last day of the season, 30th June.
This became a permanent fixture and only broken after the transfer of Late Sh Sumukh Joshi.
These things made a big impact on their (locals) mind and everyone was treating National Park as OURS.
Now we don't see that feeling in villagers heart or mind.
It's a big loss for conservation.

Now we see a completely changed behaviour of villagers. Till few years back villagers use to take cattle lifting as a simple norm in their life style.Then the N.G.O. started pumping in their pocket.
Only to ensure that villagers make more hue and cry for their cattle and they (NGO) stand there as their (Villagers) sole supporter.
This and the corruption made things worst for animals.
I must tell you that forest deptt staff never suffers from malpractices and villagers never wants any kind of wild animal around them.
So basically it's the NGO and some petty politicians made them greedy for the money and changed there thinking.
I have seen a film in which some big NGO working in villages around Bandhavgarh providing drip irrigation system to villagers is giving them only 16 mm or 12 mm pipe. They make holes in these pipe to run the water like a jet.
I dont see it as a help for villagers? I see it as a more help for NGO.
Film will bring more money in NGO's pocket. 
So in all things are not in favour of wildlife.
People are going away from it.     

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Rise and Fall of Bandhavgarh 5 -- Gohni meadow.

Caryl and Kenneth Sherman are with us since last few days. They were a regular visitor to this park from 1990 to 2006, every time staying for ten days. 
They Got addicted to Bandhavgarh after seeing Sita and her cubs.
While watching Tigers Next Door film they remembered the days when we saw the Jungle cat with kittens in Rajbehra or saw the blind cub coming back from Garhpuri or blind cubs interaction with spotted deer. 
One day in late 1990's they wish to buy Gohni meadow for the park. I talk to all villagers and settled the deal. They agreed to accept the money in Registrar office at the time of Registry. We were waiting for them in Registry office Umaria but none of them turned up.
Today when we were in that area I showed them the meadow which they wanted to gift to the park. I wish if that day that deal would have struck then things may have been different. 
In early 80's when Mr Hasan was Director here he asked us to take our guest to Gohani meadow to look for Chinkara, neelgai and other birds. He did say that this is a private land and only to discourage the villagers coming close to the park we need to go out.
One important thing public can see here is park boundary and the Gohni gate. Both are built far away from park boundary. 
Only to keep the human disturbance away from park boundary.
That was the one reason too why Mr L.K.Choudhary, Field Director put C.P.T. instead of Chain link fence.  
Now we see villagers are invited to open the tea shops more than 700 mtrs inside the Gohni gate. 
Now there is no chance for those foxes and Jackals to raise their family in Gohani meadow.
This is what we are doing with all the hard work of our previous Directors of Bandhavgarh Ntl Park.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Rise and Fall of Bandhavgarh: 4

Last year I discussed this matter with one officer that  after the retirement of Kuttappan Bandhavgarh is not left with any good Mahavat. So some Mahavat should be called here to teach these Characutters because most of them doesn't know the job of Characutter.
As it happens it never happened.
Yesterday while coming out of the park in the evening I saw few characutters taking their elephants to the forest to leave them for free grazing in the night.
What shocked me was that they all were hobbled at the gate itself. With the front legs hobbled they were chained to a tree on the edge of the forest.

This was new method. 
Usually they were taken to the forest and in the area they wants them to graze they hobble their forelegs and put a long chain in one of the hind feet to leave a drag mark on the road.
Characutter goes in the morning to the spot where he left them and follows the chain mark to bring them back to the camp.
I myself have done that many times.