Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dundlod Rajasthan
















After spending two days in Jaipur we moved to Dundlod. Dundlod is a small town in Jhunjhnu district about 170 km from Jaipur. Road is good not unlike other states where after 5 hours of road journey tourists look for the bed and painkiller tablet. We stayed in Dundlod Fort as a guest of Kr Raghuvendra singh ji who runs horse safaris at Dundlod. He is a pioneer in adding this adventure in tourism itinerary successfully. Today it has became one of the major tourism adventure sport in Rajasthan. I am not sure whether this is recognised as an adventure sport or not!
We were there on invitation to photograph the International Invitational 81 Km Endurance organised by Indigenous Horse Society of India with collaboration of Rajasthan Equestrian Association. This was the first Equestrian Federation of India's qualifying race at Dundlod. Two Endurance were organised one 40 Km and second 81 Km Endurance in which major International teams participated. Vansthali school Jaipur came with their Girls team. Some of them really put an impressive show during Show Jumping and Tent Pegging.
Kay and I were completely new to Indian Horses even I never photographed Horses before except few shots in Pushkar few year back so this was all very interested for us. I was not sure whether I will be able to produce any quality photograph of any sort or not because everyone tells us that Horses are not easy subject to photograph. And it is true. It is a very much time consuming job. Even the photographer has to built a rapport with horse to stand that close to him and make him use to of that "bloody" camera shutter noise. Kay loved being around horses again. Her dream comes true of riding a horse in India even if it was only for a short duration. Now she wants a horse! even more. I already see a dent in my pocket and I am sure if it happens it will repay through various means.
We reached Dundlod on 6th afternoon and met Ms Francesca Kelly and Kr Raghuvendra Singh ji Dundlod. Later Ms Francesca offered us a lift to the stable. That gave us a good opportunity to move around the stable and photograph horses on first day.
Here we met Colonel (retd) Sirpratap Singh ji, a very fine Horse Ride instructor and an authority on Indian Horses. Stable staff was practicing Tent pegging and suddenly we saw Sirpratap singh ji going for Tent Pegging. Still he is better than many others.
At the fort dinner is always served around the camp fire. Also this is the time to evaluate the day activities and plan for tomorrow.
Other person we met here is Philippa Waterfield. She says that she always feels very nervous when she meet new people. I didn't see that at all. She is a one good friendly nature person who love Horses and try to spend minimum 6 months in India every year. I enjoyed her company and hope soon she will be able to come and stay with us.
Opening ceremony was scheduled for 8th so we had another free day to move around stable.
Got some good photos of Horse rolling in sand, horse washing and clipping. See the photo of clipping, still using the good old method. Watching Sirpratap singh ji giving riding lessons to Ms Maica was a treat to watch.
Tent Pegging show on opening ceremony day was a fine example of practice and riders rapport with the horse. One of the stable boy hit three targets in tent pegging by sword. He threw his sword in air after pegging one and showed the similar action on second. Alexander practiced on bareback and so the other rider from the stable.
Phillippa and Kay helped Omprakash in washing the horses. They are washed with shampoo to keep their coat clean and shiny.
41 km Endurance started as per schedule on 10th morning. Endurance is a skill to ride the horse for that distance and keep him fit. Riders has to come back to the starting point after covering 20 km for vet check and physical check up of the horse. A horse rider can be eliminated from the race if horse looks lame or his heart beat don't come down in twenty minutes time of his arrival. Similar thing happened in final round when a rider thought he won the race but his horse was found lame and got eliminated. Abhimanyu Yadav, 19 yrs old boy, won the race. This was his first competition ever. What a record for the future. But a 10 year old boy who finished the race impressed everybody. Riding for 41 km at that age is not easy. It needs stamina and will both. At finishing point he and his horse really look exhausted.
Next day on 11th was showing. Many fine looking Stallion and Mare came for the competition.
International Endurance started on 12th morning. We reached on ground in dark. Some riders were already warming up their horses. Army team members were very confident about their success. They were telling us that they will win the Endurance. In fact their comment was that their horses, Thoroughbred, are in good nick than others and could finish the first round in 45 minutes. It did not happened but they won the Endurance to put every other team to battle for the third spot which was won by British team on Marwari Horses.
Only sad accident happened with Sh Bhuneshwar singh ji who fell of the horse and injured his shoulder muscle but he showed his courage by riding again with one arm wrapped against his chest. Unfortuntely he could not finish the third round. Some of the foreign participants commented on the course as one of the toughest course ever they rode in any Endurance but it was all the same for everyone.
During this period four postal stamps were released on Indigenous horses of India ( Kathiyawari, Manipuri, Zanskari and Manipuri)
Price distribution ceremony and Horse Dancing competition was held on 13th. Still photography can not do full justice with dancing horses. One has to see it in reality to see the relationship between horse and man. Hats off to both of them.
We are very thankful to Sh Arun Deo Sengar for providing us a chance to witness this event and Kr Raghuvendra Singh ji Dundlod and Ms Francesca Kelly for their hospitality, encouragement and support.
Photographs of this Endurance can be seen and prints can be ordered at www.flickr.com/photos/satyendraphotography

Jaipur


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I could not photograph any of the monuments on my last visit to the pink city. Can you believe I missed the Amber fort and Wind Palace before so this time I had to cover these all. Intercity express from Agra reached Jaipur about an hour late. It was almost midnight when we check-in in the hotel. In the city like Agra Jaipur Delhi and Varanasi one must be aware of checking few facts with the hotel such as their check out time and breakfast time etc. We barely finished our breakfast at ten and the moment we enter the room the phone rang informing us that their check out time is 11 AM and we must leave the room by 11 AM sharp. This was a surprise.
We did it.
We moved to a guest house called Ashirvad. Neat and clean room but food costlier than any medium budget restaurant. Best time to photograph Wind Palace is early morning in winter when hardly anybody is moving on the road. I got my picture at 0645 AM.
Amber Fort gets busy in the morning. when we reached there the elephants were still arriving from stable. Tourists were waiting for their turn to board the elephant for fort ride. We decided to walk. It hardly takes 15 minutes to reach fort. Some good photography on way.
Photos will speak better than my writing about Amber Fort so look for them at www.flickr.com/photos/satyendraphotography
Hawkers are the most annoying elements for
tourists at Amber Fort. How can any tourist would like to buy anything while sitting on elephant! He wants to enjoy the ride and see fort from different angle but these hawkers never let them enjoy.
And there is no-one to control them.


Agra Gunjan's Marriage






We were away for almost 16 days visiting Agra, Firozabad, Jaipur and Dundlod. Main reason to visit Agra was our neice Gunjan's Marriage. First we thought to stay in Agra for few days and photograph those unseen neglected buildings in Agra but plan changed and we decided to visit Jaipur instead.
After a long time we met some of our relatives in Gunjan's marriage. Ofcourse seeing Ravi after more than two years was fun and so the Agam, to whom we missed when he came here on Holi.
Next day after marriage we decided to visit Firozabad, a glass city near Agra. Kay wanted to see that place again. Firozabad is a crowded town. By the time we reached there every working person in the town was on his duty. Vegetable and fruit vendors were every where on road side and people ferrying bangles on handcart and bicycle choked the road. It is a town to be seen and experienced. For us it may be nothing but the person who knows Glass and Glass world compares it with Venice. Although only bangles are manufactured there but still the quantity and skill with premitive techniques makes it an excellent town in Glass World. My wife Kay use to teach Glass in an university in UK and was rated amongst the top glass artists in the world in her field. She was narrating me each and every technique of glass making that we saw there. Although because of a White skin person with me and secondly a camera in my hand did put lots of doubt in peoples mind so they never allowed us to see the kiln or real glass bangle making in the factory. Sometime I have to try this through an official channel.
I doubt people who buy the bangles or who use them with great pride only because of kind of money they paid to buy them ever think about the hardship being put behind making these bangles so special. I was told that 15 to 20 % bangles never reaches to packaging staff. That is the wastage in this industry at initial stage. It is very costly to use the polished bangles again to use as a glass.
When I was walking in those narrow crowded lanes of Firozabad my phone rang and I was bombarded with the demands of Kangan and bangles. I was getting the instructions about Size and colour and design o bangles and kangan and at the last even how many packets are to bought for each person was told. So last hour we spent in Firozabad looking for Bangles and Kangan for my younger sisters. We carried them for next two weeks with us and still lying here. Hopefully I made a good buy there.
Delebrately we did not buy anything for childrens only them to learn that they dont get gifts every time.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tiger conservation

Is a big question and no one wants to answer this for sure. My first encounter with wildlife tourism / conservation happened in Kanha in wayback 1978-79. There I met many wildlifers working for M.P. Forest and became good friends till today. Those were the days where we saw dedicated workers. They all worked for the department and for the conservation. Many of them spent their entire service period in one National Park. They paid the cost of this through the education of their childrens. Some of them never got proper education.
Here I want to talk about the dedication and facilities and about some people to whom I know from those days.
Two name I remember from Kisli are Late Budhai Lal Gop and Basta Ram Nagpure. Budhai lal was a forestguard in kisli. I never saw him wearing shoes. He use to say they reduce his speed in the jungle. Budhai lal use to walk minimum 8-10 km per day. He was one of the finest Forest Guard of Kanha. He knew each and every knook and croney of his beat. He maintained a diary that will even mention the number of deers and and other animals he saw on particular spot.
Rangers always respect him for his work( Chandran andK.P.Tiwari).
Those were the days when Kanha had only three jeeps, one with Director, One with DD and one old jeep with Park Supdtt. Rangers had motorcycles and rest of the staff either on bicycle or on foot. Each and every area of the park was monitored almost on daily basis. Mr H.S Panwar was the Director who use to spent half of the days in Kanha. Many times I saw him coming to Kanha in the evening and leaving for the office in the morning. That was dedication.
Now things have changed. There are many more vehicles with the forest department then what they ever dreamt. N.G.Os compete in this business too. More you donate more you get the favors!
Recently there was a news in Hitvada about the vehicles donated to Bandhavgarh National Park. Second news was about the contract signed by the M.P.Forest regarding making Field Directors responsible for Tiger Conservation.
I wonder if central Govt or Stae Govt will ever do any assesment of Park Authorities working??

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Future of The Tiger

After seeing the Tiger situation in and around the National Parks of M.P. especially Kanha and Bandhavgarh I need to put some questions for the readers to get some answers.

Do we think that Tigers will win the land-battle from human being!

This question is based on this data.

India's population is somewhere around 120 Crore out of which 70% population lives in rural areas so that comes to 84 crore people. I will say that thirty percent of these use some other firefuel then the firewood. So 70 percent uses the firewood as fuel to cook their meals means 58.8 Crore people uses firewood as fuel that comes straight from the jungle through different sources.

Do we have any solution to stop this in next five years! Or can we provide them some other alternate of firewood in next five years.

Brick kilns in villages is the other thing that s responsible of destruction of forest in major way.

If a villager has to think about the tree he has to think first about its uses, his own needs and his survival. He is totally dependent on the trees for all his domestic needs.

Tourism has grown considerably in last thirty years and so the demand of timber and firewood in tourism industry. Small dhabas uses more firewood to keep the fire burning than actual cooking. Hotels uses more firewood to create an atmosphere with campfire in the evening.

Can we stop this!

So there are many small little things that are destroying the habitat on a faster rate, I wont say alarming because who listens to this alarm. So a villager will not think about the survival of any other animal when he needs to cut a tree for his own survival!

So just think about the growing population of human being in this country, use of the forest by humanbeing for their survival and the animals chance of survival under these circumstances.

One of my best friend who use to shout a lot about conservation ultimately changed his opinion and told me: Kahe ko nahak sher ki chintaa karte ho. jo bachega so bachega varna koi bachaa nahi saktaa. Sher ki jameen ko to Aadmi khaa jaayegaa. ( Why worry about the tigers survival, No one can save them. His habitat will be encroached by man).

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bandhavgarh Park

I dont want to discourage people from coming here but I want to tell them the right story about the park before they make any decision. We visited the park yesterday for first time since 16th of October. Only reason is that it has became very costly and we cant afford it if we dont have a business. I cant afford to spend Rs 2000/ per day to visit the park. That too when we dont have to hire the vehicle. This is just the Petrol and entry fee (Indian) cost.
Now Bandhavgarh has the route system more or less like Ranthambhore. Routes are 50-60 km long. It is difficult to cover them in 3.5 to 4 hrs time. One dont get any time to stop anywhere. If someone gets any clue and it is on your route then driver has to rush to the spot to gain some extra time to wait. There is no Tiger show in Tala but where it is allowed in other ranges is not happening very frequently there either. So many Indian Tourists are disappointed. Soon they will learn. There are many roads in between which are not allowed for the tourism. I thnk this leaves lots of chances for possibilities. Tourism should be used in positive manner for wildlife conservation.

Bamera Tigress

Three years back three cubs age three yrs left their motherland, Chakradhara meadow and shifted to Bamera Dam. A year later one of the male cub was seen in Jamunia. Now he is known as new male or male from Bamera. His other male and female siblings were also moved to the same area. We alyas thought that the female in Bamera is his sister and he sire the litter.
Because we never got a chance to see this female so her identity was never established. We presumed that she is the daughter of Chakradhara female, Pyari. when a tigress was found dead near Pataur in August 09 and I got a chance to photograph her then we matched those photos with her old photos but they didn't match. I thought what is this happening! Is she a different Tiger!
Yes she was. Bamera female was the female sibling of L1, Swampy. Lakshmi had two cubs in her first litter. They both ate a woman at the age of 10-11 months. Later on male cub was seen sitting with the dead body of a man so he was sent to Bhopal Van Vihar. She also killed a person but lucky she never got caught for that. I tried hard to get her photo from other people who saw her at Bamera but couldn't find one. But I am sure that Tigress found dead at Pataur was female cub from Chorbehra and not from Chakradhara.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Some News / discussion on Tigers Future

One of our friend send us this aricle. I thought other people may also like to read this so here it is.
Herding big cats – Farmed Tiger economics Jan McGirk.
Independent newspaper October 20, 2009 London ---
Tiger farming advocates say that legally selling body parts of the big cat could thwart the poachers. But a new report puts these claims to the test and finds dangerous flaws in the economic arguments. Jan McGirk reports. Poaching a wild tiger costs around US$20, compared to $4,000 to raise a cub to maturity. Farming tigers in order to save them may turn out to be the equivalent of herding cats: an impossible undertaking with too many variables for sustained success. Yet this practice, which converts solitary predators into livestock for Chinese consumers, has been hailed as a pragmatic strategy for bringing the endangered tiger (panthera tigris) back from the brink of extinction. Wild tigers are increasingly scarce, and their population has declined sharply from an estimated 100,000 in 1900 to under 3,000 today. At the Global Tiger Conservation Strategy Workshop in Nepal, scheduled for 26 to 30 October, 2009, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) will present a new report which challenges some of the supply-side economics arguments put forth by tiger farm proponents. Advocates of tiger farming, such as economist Barun Mitra, of New Delhi’s Liberty Institute, have argued for years that plentiful stocks of tiger parts for sale in a free market would thwart poachers and crossborder profiteering. They maintain that it is a counter-intuitive way to safeguard the dwindling number of wild tigers that have evaded dynamite, snares and poison to survive in the swamps and forests of Asia and Siberia. Two subspecies, the Caspian and Balinese tigers, already have been wiped out. Some Chinese officials have actively promoted tiger farms since the 1980s, when trade in body parts for traditional medicine was allowed, and Beijing now seems unwilling to phase them out, despite calls to do so by the World Bank and the United Nations? Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Irregularities and inbreeding at several commercial tiger farms in Vietnam and Thailand tourist attractions where tiger cubs are bred intensively and routinely suckled on sows have added to the controversy over the risks of further commodifying the tiger. Bones reportedly sell for US$800 to $1,200 per kilogram on the retail black market. An adult tiger can supply five to 10 kilograms of dried bone, much more easily smuggled than its distinctive skin. One Pacific Rim economist who has analysed the tiger trade told china dialogue that some of the bio-economical models put forth to support tiger farming are not only flawed scientifically, but are rigged to yield the desired results. He added, Tiger bone is a classic high-value, low-volume product and poaching it will always be cheaper than years of feeding a growing carnivore. The cited statistics vary, but poaching a wild tiger costs around US$20, compared to $4,000 to raise a cub to maturity. In either case, he pointed out, potential profits are absolutely massive, especially as new commodities are created and marketed. Take tiger bone wine. It can be diluted almost infinitely. When the Chinese State Forestry Administration, which oversees the country’s wildlife, quietly approved domestic trade in lawfully-sourced tiger and leopard skins and their products back in December 2007, conservationists grew alarmed. The wildlife trade monitoring network, TRAFFIC, recently warned that such vague wording on an official document would be pounced upon as a loophole by Chinese tiger farmers. Xu Hongfa, the director of the Shanghai Wildlife Forensic Laboratory who also coordinates TRAFFIC’s China programmes, told the London Times: I think these words could be used as a cover by tiger farmers to make tiger bone wine and they would try to argue that it doesn’t just refer to skins. Tiger bones steeped in vats of rice wine for up to nine years yield a potent pep tonic, considered a rare and prestigious gift amongst the Chinese elite. It’s viewed as a delicacy comparable to shark fin soup. Lavish banquet toasts are made with this black market brew, which can be obtained inside China, although penalties for selling it are severe. Customers reportedly pay up to US$180 per half litre. Meanwhile, farmers from Guilin to Heilongjiang provinces have stockpiled the frozen carcasses of captive tigers, either killed in fights or put down when they grew too large to control, and are eager to recoup their investment. Compared with the 10,000 captive tigers living in zoos or private facilities in the US, and at least 5,000 mild tigers bred at a dozen Chinese farms, the 40 or so wild tigers remaining inside China are vastly outnumbered and likely to vanish if the demand for tiger products is stimulated. Fewer than 3,000 breeding adult tigers are left in the wild anywhere in the world, and their present habitat is only 7% of the former range, which used to extend from south India to the Russian Far East and from Sumatra to northern Myanmar (Burma). The big cats are most plentiful in India, where this year’s tiger census already is underway. India has directly challenged Chinese authorities over the ramifications of easing any restrictions on tiger trade, because the countries signed a bilateral protocol on tigers back in 1995. Keshav Varma, leader of the World Bank’s Global Tiger Initiative, announced at the 58th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Standing Committee (CITES): Having carefully weighed the economics argument, we urge the CITES community to uphold the ban on wild tiger products and for all countries to continue to ban the domestic trade of wild tigers." Western press accounts of tiger penis aphrodisiacs or tiger brain balm to cure acne annoy practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Most spurn such folk potions, which are based on superstition, not medical theory. Even though some 100 million Chinese sufferers of arthritis might be prescribed tiger bone derivatives to ease joint inflammation if it were legal, herbal substitutions now are standard, and medical textbooks have been purged of venerable tiger-based remedies. I can say for sure that no one in the TCM community wants to reopen the tiger trade, said Lixin Huang, president of the American American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco. There is zero demand. This tiger farming proposal is a way to make money, not to treat the sick. It confuses the public. Any use will create a threat to wild tigers. How do we monitor it to control poaching, selling and production? Before Chinese farmers harvest their caged tigers striped pelts or grind their bones for traditional medicines which have been outlawed for the past 16 years, a rethink might be in order. Alasdair Cameron, of the EIA, contends that unleashing free market folly and legalising the trade in parts from captive bred tigers will have disastrous consequences for the wild tiger. He argues that a parallel trade in premium wild tiger products is bound to emerge once farmed tiger items hit the market, and that there is little incentive for tiger breeders to report inventory discrepancies, to help screen out wild tiger products or enforce the ban against their use. In fact, criminals will be tempted to process any contraband wild tiger parts through newly lawful channels. The EIA review highlights flawed assumptions in some of the recent economic studies, noting a poor understanding of tiger biology and clandestine smuggling networks, as well as oversimplified supply and demand models. Fuzzy mathematical models that suggest tiger farming is a viable way to promote conservation have increasingly come under fire. Framing fearful symmetry in an equation is no doddle. Economist G Cornelis van Kooten, of the University of Victoria in British Columbia, admits that he devised formulas, in spite of a paucity of data and that factoring in a stigma effect was an afterthought, and ?no empirical evidence for it exists. Currently he’s refining his paper. Markets where corruption is rife are tough to figure out he said. Ethically I am opposed to tiger farms, just as I am to large-scale pork production. But if society permits the latter, how can you castigate the Chinese and stop tiger farming. Allowing trade might not be a disaster. Habitat destruction and lost prey is the real threat to tigers. The EIA report urges a cautious approach to speculative economic models and a commitment to reduce demand for tiger parts rather than boost a trade that has been in decline since 1993. It calls for tiger farms that intensively breed big cats to consolidate, declare and destroy all tiger parts , in accordance with past decisions taken by CITES. And, while several thousand wild tigers still stalk the night forests, the EIA recommends that wildlife activists draw attention to their successes and continue to raise awareness of the tigers’ plight.
Jan McGirk is a former correspondent for the Independent, who has reported on environmental issues and disasters in Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East..
So this is what world thinks about the Tigers future.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Park Rules

So it is all back to square except route system on both times of the day.
I talk to the Ranger and he says that now everything is like last year, all sorted.
I hope that makes things better for tourism, tourist and Tourism Industry.

Park Rules

Still few things are not clear.
Entry fee is as before.
Even after paying the entry fee for vehicle they still wants every vehicle to pay Rs 1000/ for an year registration with forest department. This simply extortion but due to lack of courage local people dont come forward to oppose this legally.
First they said that only taxi permit vehicle will be allowed then they allow all till further order so position is not clear on this issue.
another controversial order is that only M.P. registration vehicle will be allowed to enter the park. On this I will say what is happening. Are we Talibaning the Parks that you can go and you cant go because you are not from here. Are we going to see this in future that visitors from outside of the state will be treated foreigner and will charged more.
Forest department should stick with entry fee and pollution control certificate of the vehicle.
So far No Tiger Show in Tala range. And neither in any other range either.
I will post more on this issue once we get more clear picture.

Friday, October 9, 2009

New Park Rules in Bandhavgarh

A meeting was called by Park Authorities of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve on 7th October where according to the The Hitvada dt 9th October 2009 Jabalpur
" This meeting was attended by hotel owner, resort owner,guides, tour operators, park officials. From oct 17, the Park would be opened for tourists.
Now in Tala zone, Tiger Show would not be done on elephant safaris. It may be recalled that in meetng of park directors held at Ranthambhore in month of August. Park Director R.K.Patil has proposed of ending tiger show in the park so as to maintain distance between human and tiger. This proposal was approved and hence now from this tourist season tiger show would not be done in Tala region of Bandhavgarh National Park.
Due to the much density of Tigers in the region, Tourists can have ample opportunity to see tigers.
Similarly to last years vehicle owners visiting the National park will be able to seek registration by paying Rs 1000.
Further more, it was made mandatory for the owners to ensure that their vehicls are coloured in green with all vehicles to have seat as designed by the vehicle manufacturer company.
For ABCD zone of the park for which entry is from tala gate. only 45 vehicles would be permitted entry in a single day. For EGFH zone for which the entry is from Gohni gate, 75 vehicles would be given entry in a single day. Vehicle operators can charge Rs 1000. per tourist from entry from Tala and Gohni gate. If any tourist wish to visit Bandhavgarh fort then from Tala to bandhavgarh fort is rs 2000/ per tourist and from Gohni gate to bandhavgarh fort Rs 2500/ per tourist will be accountable.
If any tourist desires to visit only Bandhavgarh fort then from Tala and Gohni gate Rs 2500/ per tourist would be charged. The park would remain open for four hours in morning and three hours in evening before sunset."
This is what I read today in Hitavada MPLINE page A and D.
I was not informed about this meeting by the authorities so I miss the chance to attend it to get the first hand information.
I think this is the duty of each and every Hotel Operator to pass on this information to their agents/ Travel Agents and ultimately this information should be given to the consumer (Tourist). If there is no Tiger Show then many tourists may feel disappointed or they may not wants to come here altogether. Elephant ride and seeing the Tiger is main object of many visitors who comes here. I will request TOFT India to circulate this news to all travel agents in India, Europe and USA and try to send this information to tourists so they know what to expect.
In my opinion few points needs some clarification as charges can not be per person. Till last year it was per jeep. Have they changed the rules??
wait and see this blog if I could find out more or better information than this.
Satyendra

Monday, September 28, 2009

Life of a Butterfly


Beautiful butterfly may not have a beautiful life. We witnessed it this morning. Cockscomb we planted in June turnout to be wild Silver Spiked Cockscomb. We dont want these wild plants in the front garden so we decided to remove them. I removed few and suddenly Kay saw a butterfly roosting under the leaves. Kay picks the plant and I ran for the camera. Few photos and suddenly she opened the wing and flew off. We saw her flying away and laughed that we missed her photographing open wing. She hardly flew about 15ft away from us and a black object swipes on her and butterfly gone mising. That was our resident Black Drongo from the Garden. We wonder how many of the butterflies everyday gets eaten by the birds in our garden. Black Drongo, Small Green Bee Eater,Long Tailed Shrike, Red Vented Bulbul and Magpie Robin takes the adult butterflies and Common Iora, Tailor Bird, Tawny Bellied Babbler and Red Vented Bulbuls regularly look for caterpillars in the garden.Less than ten percent caterpillars reaches to pupa stage of their life.

Today first time in all these many years, since 1998, we saw a Cobra on our land. Kalicharan saw him near the garrage. He says he saw him with his hood wide open. We all saw him disappearing in the grass and cats chasing him.

Majority of snakes get killed by villagers, whether they are poisonous or non poisonous. For them snake is snake.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Visit to Kerala

I will write sometime about my this non-photographic trip to Kerala. I was highly disappointed with pesticides filled environment at Munnar. I am saying this only because in my one week tour of Kerala I couldnot photograph a single butterfly.
How are Tigers here in Bandhavgarh and in India is the same story. While driving from Umaria to Tala after seeing the road condition of last ten km towards Tala Kay said who would like to come here if they know the road condition? I thought there are many more things what people should know before going to any Tiger area for Tiger viewing.
As a villager living around Tiger Reserve I had to ask myself, Why we are not getting Roads repaired by the government? Why forest department object on road raipres around Tiger Reserve??
Do they think that people living around the Tiger Project areas are happy with this attitute of the Forest Department?
I know and I will say NO they are not happy and they dont want to live second grade citizen in their own country.
I know what happened in Karera. Villagers changed their crop pattern to get rid of the Bustard successfully.
I see similar things happening around Natonal Parks.
Forest Department itself is helping in destruction of Tigers in long run.
By putting Chainlink fencing most of the corridores are blocked. Many Tigers lost a major part of their teritorry and prey base.
By chainlink fencing tigers are confined to a very small area where in winter they prey more on fawn than adult animals. This affects prey base numbers badly.
In this cash crunch and high cost of living affecting villagers too. They see others minting money in the name of Tigers. One villager told me that no money can replace the milk i was suppose to get from my cow that got killed by a Tiger. I can understand his feelings. Monkeys looks very nice in the jungle, very good photographic subject, but in Mango season I dont want them in my Garden. Villagers have worst feeling than this about a Cattle Lifter.
So what chance we have to save the Tiger??
Govt or Forest Department putting more and more restrictions on Tourism. this means if we dont get a chance to see him how you expect us to be his wellwisher??
So tourist goes against the Tiger?
If villagers cant have free access to the jungle for their needs of Firewood, fodder and timber than they goes against the Tiger, openly or secretly??
If villagers start thinking that we are deprived of our rights only because of animals, govt treats us lower than animals, animals are on priority of government then I will say only a miracle can save the Tiger out of National Parks in this country.
I think in next few years time Tiger tourism will die. It will become a Glorified Safari Park safari in Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Ranthambhore and Panna.
A male Tiger is about to go from here to Panna to give company to those two lonely females.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Cubs of P12

People are asking about cubs of P12. The information what i could gather is that they are safe and eating well in an anclosure made for Gaur. Live baby goat are supplied to them which they are killing happily.
I will post more news on this.
Today I am leaving for Kerala. Kay wants me to go while I am in mood to cancel my trip. Kay is not well she got cold and I am worried and hope this is not some sort of H1N1 flu. She has just came back from UK last week on 3rd sept.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Delhi and Bharatpur

Best thing about this train journey to Delhi was that I was sitting with some very sober army people. First time I was travelling with Non Alcohalic army people. What a bliss.
I got struck in traffic jam on way to airport. Kays flight arrived 40 minutes before to its schedule arrival time. By the time I reached to the airport she was already out and waiting for me in parking area.
Very unproductive Day in Delhi. I saw an advertisement of hedge trimmer so we looked for that shop. Beleive me, never beleive what a Delhi shopkeeper claims on internet. He was sitting in a tiny dark storeroom trying to convince us to buy petrol version of hedge trimmer.
People are proud of this country which does not produce a small item like Electric Hedge cutter or Electric Lawn Mower.
We reached Bharatpur by 2030. Hospitality at Spoonbill are not comparable to any other hotel. When we go out we dont look for luxury accomodation. We prefer to stay at a place which is run by a local person and who employs locals. Spoonbill fits perfectly in our logic and budget theme.
Park is very very dry for birds. This is a first chance for us to see this park in such a state when not even a single nest of Openbill storks is seen.
We were happy looking for butterflies and got some nice photos.
Park shop is now even selling our Buttrfly Brochure.
Infact a brochure with less butterflies can do the job for bharatpur.
Rickshaw pullars in Bharatpur were literally begging for the business.
We came back home to see a good solid rain for two days. Soon I will be off to Kerala for a week to see Nilgiri Tahr at Munnar. So more later when i come back.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Grass Yellows.




Very good time for grass yellows, Common and Spotless are breeding in the garden. I protected a plant with 20 caterpillars on it and planted it in a pot. In next few days I have to add few more plants to provide them adequate food supply. They eat and eat, within a week they started turning in to a chrysalis. For some unknown reason some of the chrysalises gone black in first few days but later on they seems to be normal.


Most of the butterflies emerged early in the morning. I saw more than 30 chrysalis hanging on different branches in the garden. I have photographed emergence previously so I was not interested in photographing them again. Just wanted a good record shot.


I photographed a Common Grass Yellow in the morning and left it hanging on the branch. By the time I come back from kitchen with my tea what I see is that butterfly with wet wings is already mating. Some opportunist found a good opportunity.


What is the main purpose of their life. Pollination and reproduction. But sometime reproduction activity starts first. Butterflies are very good indicators of the health of an ecosystem. We see their population growing year by year in our garden.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Good rain this morning.


None of the staff turned up yesterday. This makes me feel that whether we should rely on them or not. In all these many years i have over paid all my staff even to those who left the job. It was a very boring day. Nothing worked. One of the labour got fever in the afternoon so mason didn't work in the afternoon. Other people who were suppose to finish the job of tiling the bathroom last week has not shown their face yet.

This all makes me sick. I don't like this place / village to live any more. For a very poor quality work with lots of frustration we pay them the same amount as the skilled labour charge in city, this has started affecting my life.

I don't want to tell you more and more that how foolish I was to choose this place for living. It looks fantastic to the visitor that how calm and quit place we have to live but no one knows that living cost over here is as much as living in any city like Bhopal or Jabalpur.

I warn everyone who wants to shift to the country side for peaceful quite life that they should rely on yourself only than you will have a happy life in villages.

I finished the arch and mounting the clamp on wall for creepers to run. It is frustrating when you see that people just don't have any confidence in you than you think that why bother doing all this if they has to raise the question without seeing it.
Couldn't sleep last night. Again I brought a cup of tea for myself at 2 am and spend the night playing with TV remote chasing decent channel. I saw sunrise from the comp. table playing free cell.
At about four AM it started raining and within an hour i could feel that pool is full. Ganesh gave the news with a cup of tea at 0610 that pool is full up till mango. I photographed it again. water was above 1.5 feet over the pool level. Kaans ( sacred munja) started flowering means if we beleive in traditional season signs then the monsoon is over. Now the water table on the land is back to its normal stage.

Sisy is missing since yesterday and the boy is missing since Mini gave birth to her two kittens on 17th. Mrs and her two kittens are still on the land. In the night our garden is takenover by jackals. A pair seen resting in the grass roam on the land. Most probably they have killed our 5 cats in last one and half month. Palm civet leaves their sign under the Papaya and Cheeku tree. They have finished all the fruits.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

P12 - NO MORE

This was the code by which she was mentioned in Kay's family tree of Tigers of Bandhavgarh. She was born in monsoon of 2004. Her parents Pyari and B2 still dominate their teritorry. P12 left Tala range with her two other male siblings in Dec 2007 and formed their teritory in Panpatha range. She was seen mainly around Bamera dam. When they moved to Panpatha two males did not found any resistance from any other dominant male to form their teritory and in a similar manner P12 never found any other dominant male to mate so she produced her first litter with the help of her own brother P10. Her first litter was born sometime in october 2008.
She was found dead on 18th August late Afternoon. Her three cubs are not seen with her so there future is still uncertain.
Another news published in UK says India has fewer than 1000 Tigers left. Cant say about it but one more is down for sure.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Insect Photography.


Photography wise last few weeks were very dull. Yesterday I saw a chrysilis outside our room. Today I put few plants in a pot to save some grass yellow chrysilises from predation. When i went to check that chrysilis I saw a butterfly hanging drying her wings. It was dark so I took some photos flash. But I was not happy with those pictures because at places it was overexposed due to moisture on her wings. So I removed the flash.

Later on I put her on small red flower and this is the result.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Snakes and Butterflies







No Rain since last three days. Nice to see that few jobs got done on the land. More plants are being planted. Still more needs to be planted. Rumour of park getting closed for three yrs for tourism made some people worried. Obiously majority of people in this village gets employment through tourism . I was talking to some forest officers and Rangers and we all agreed on point that in next ten years majority of parks will turn in to a safari park. There wont be any big game left out of National Parks. This is worrying?? If it happens then most of the people of my age should look for an alternative business for survival.
We, read Kay, worked hard on the land. Boys would have taken 15 days for this work which we did in one week. Kay found two wolf snakes in the kitchen. How they reached there?? First we thought they could be a pair and they are together for some valid reason. To save them from cats and staff they were put in a pillow cover. Mini was harassing a Striped Keelback so that one needed rescuing from her claw's. Today we released the Wolf Snake and Striped Keelback was released yesterday. They are still next to our rooms.
Butterfly numbers have increased in last few days. Lots of Emigrant, Pioneer, Gull, Lime Blue and Lime are seen in the garden. This morning I saw one Banded Awl feeding on Zinnia. Some good photos.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Rain

I overslept this morning. It was ten to seven when I woke up. raining since morning but not hard. Kay got the tea and I went to look for butterflies. Pioneer and Pioneer. Few lime blue and few caterpillars of Lime on lemon tree. Not a good day to work. Tried to send some pictures to agency but never received any response from them so give up. No use of filling their inbox. It is better to send the photo after their reply. Dealing with agencies is very frustrating. I can imagine how the writers use to feel when they use to send their articles by post to the editor. Someone told me that they use to wait for postman like a newly married women expect a letter from her husband posted on Indian border. Means of communications are changed but attitude is still the same. Kalicharan's wife is not well. He does not beleive in Doctors / medicine. He called som witchcraft man who asked him to bring Murga and other items for puja. This morning when Kali came the story was same. I asked him to go home after dinner to lookafter his wife. Hopefully he will take her to Umaria tomorrow.
Educated people has to fight with myths and beleives while villagers lives with them happily.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Discussion about Panna in Madhya Pradesh Bhopal Assembaly

भोपाल. पन्ना टाइगर रिजर्व में एक भी बाघ नहीं होने के मामले में विपक्ष ने सोमवार को विधानसभा में सरकार को सवालों के कटघरे में खड़ा किया। करीब 50 मिनट तक चली बहस में कांग्रेस विधायक सरकार के उत्तर से संतुष्ट नहीं हुए और उन्होंने सदन में ही प्रदर्शन शुरू कर दिया तथा सरकार के रवैये के खिलाफ वाकआउट किया। विपक्षी सदस्य गले में बाघ के चित्र वाले पोस्टर ‘मुझे बचाओ’ लटकाए देखे गए।
यह मामला ध्यानाकर्षण सूचना के जरिए कांग्रेस विधायक दल के उपनेता चौधरी राकेश सिंह चतुर्वेदी, विधायक डॉ. गोविंद सिंह और अजय सिंह ने उठाया। श्री चतुर्वेदी का कहना था कि वन्य जीव विशेषज्ञों ने वर्ष 2006 में पन्ना उद्यान में बाघों की संख्या 12 से 8 रहना बताया था, लेकिन विभाग ने तब स्पष्टीकरण दिया कि संख्या 24 है। वन्य जीव विशेषज्ञ रघु चूणावत ने 2008 में उजागर किया कि पन्ना में सिर्फ एक बाघ बचा है। इसकी पुष्टि रणजीत सिंह, बिट्टू सहगल और विलिंडा राइट ने भी की।
वर्तमान में पन्ना में एक भी बाघ नहीं बचा है। पांच साल के दौरान वन बिहार भोपाल में 15 बाघों की मौत हो चुकी है, अन्य जगह 2006 में पांच, 2007 में दो, 2008 में आठ और 2009 में छह बाघों की मौत हो चुकी है। मप्र का टाइगर स्टेट का गौरव खतरे में आ चुका है, केंद्र ने टाइगर स्ट्राइक फोर्स और संसाधन के लिए 10 करोड़ रुपए दिए हैं, लेकिन प्रदेश सरकार गंभीर नहीं है। जैसे ही वन राज्य मंत्री राजेंद्र शुक्ल ने लिखित जवाब पढ़ना शुरू किया, श्री चतुर्वेदी ने आपत्ति जताना शुरू कर दिया।
उनका कहना था कि ध्यानाकर्षण प्रदेश की स्थिति के बारे में है, लेकिन मंत्री पूरे देश का जिक्र कर रहे हैं, क्या यह संसद है? श्री चतुर्वेदी ने बाघों की संख्या घटने के मामले में लापरवाह अफसरों को बर्खास्त करने की मांग की। कांग्रेस के ही प्रभुराम चौधरी ने कहा कि राजस्थान में मुख्य वन्य प्राणी अभिरक्षक को निलंबित किया गया है, मप्र में भी किया जाए। मंत्री ने कहा कि इसकी आवश्यकता नहीं है। उन्होंने बताया कि केंद्र ने विशेष जांच दल बनाया था, उसकी रिपोर्ट 7 जुलाई को आ गई है। मप्र में विशेषज्ञ टीम की जांच रिपोर्ट आना बाकी है। कार्रवाई की जाएगी।
कांग्रेस के ही डॉ. गोविंद सिंह ने संरक्षित वन क्षेत्रों से तीन किलोमीटर दूर तक खदानों में विस्फोट पर प्रतिबंध लगाने का सुझाव दिया। मंत्री ने कहा कि इस पर अमल होता है। दस करोड़ रुपए केंद्र से मिले हैं, 56 रैंजों में चौकियां बन रही हैं। नेशनल पार्क की सीमाओं के भीतर वाले 821 में से 87 गांव विस्थापित कर दिए गए हैं। अन्य 116 गांवों के विस्थापन के लिए केंद्र सरकार से 3300 करोड़ रुपए मांगे गए हैं। कांग्रेस विधायक अजय सिंह ने कहा कि पन्ना पार्क में बाघों की संख्या उसी वक्त कम हुई जब वहां 16 महीने तक डकैत ठोकिया पनाह लिए हुए था, कोई वन अधिकारी वहां नहीं गया।
उन्होंने जानना चाहा कि विभाग में कोई डिग्रीधारी डॉक्टर है और क्या प्रदेश में वाइल्ड लाइफ बोर्ड का गठन हुआ है? मंत्री ने कहा कि डिग्रीधारी डॉक्टर उपलब्ध हैं, मुख्यमंत्री की अध्यक्षता में वाइल्ड लाइफ बोर्ड बना हुआ है। उन्होंने यह भी बताया कि केंद्र से प्रोजेक्ट टाइगर में इस साल 60 करोड़ रुपए मिले हैं। विधायक सुखदेव पांसे के प्रश्न के उत्तर में मंत्री ने बताया कि रातापानी अभयारण्य में करीब 6 या सात बाघ हैं। श्री पांसे ने कहा कि मंत्री ने पहले यह संख्या पांच ही बताई थी। नेता प्रतिपक्ष जमुनादेवी ने कहा कि मंत्री का जवाब असंतोषजनक है, क्या केंद्रीय मंत्री ने मप्र को टाइगर स्टेट खत्म करने के मामले में भी राज्य सरकार की तारीफ कर दी है? आखिर आप अधिकारियों को बचा रहे हैं या शेरों को?
नेता प्रतिपक्ष बोल ही रही थीं कि कांग्रेस विधायक अपने-अपने स्थानों पर खड़े हो गए, वे गले में शेर के फोटो वाले पोस्टर टांगे हुए नजर आने लगे, जिन पर लिखा था, मुझे बताओ। अध्यक्ष ईश्वरदास रोहाणी ने कहा, यह व्यवहार आपत्तिजनक है, इसे सदन की कार्यवाही से विलोपित किया जाए। कांग्रेस विधायक सदन से उठकर चले गए। कांग्रेस विधायक महेंद्र सिंह कालूखेड़ा और रामनिवास रावत सदन में ही मौजूद रहे। श्री कालूखेड़ा ने अध्यक्ष से मांग की टाइगर मुद्दे पर अलग से चर्चा करा ली जाए। श्री रोहाणी ने कहा, आप अपने दल का व्यवहार देखें। संसदीय कार्यमंत्री कैलाश विजयवर्गीय ने कहा कि श्री कालूखेड़ा अपने दल की तरफ से खेद व्यक्त करें। इसके बाद श्री कालूखेड़ा और श्री रावत भी सदन से बाहर चले गए।
http://www.bhaskar.com/2009/07/14/0907140237_tiger_missing_in_madhya_pradesh.html
Another newspaper Hindustan Times reports that Govt admits that no tiger left in Panaa http://epaper.hindustantimes.com/ArticleImage.aspx?article=14_07_2009_007_012&mode=1
These are the two news today. First one in hindi is from Dainik Bhaskar News Paper from Bhopal. In question hour congress party in opposition raised the issue about Panna Tigers. In this debate leader of opposition asked the government Whether you are saving the tigers or officers? Another news is coming from Sanjay National Park that it is on its way to follow Panna?
Future of wildlife and wildlife tourism looks bleak here.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Happy meeting

Last night I met some Forest officers. Few were Park Supdtt. and others were Rangers posted in different places in Madhya Pradesh.
All what we were doing was exchanging our views on Present Wildlife Management activities.
Surprisingly Surprisingly they all were against the present siuation. One gentleman was telling us a watch tower on a very unlikely place was erected on the recomendation of a Superior Officer. Many other things were discussed. It wont be very wise to put them here but I feel very happy that one day when they will get a chance things will be in right hands.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Lodge Owners.

In last one year I met quite a few Hoteliers and Lodge owners and discuss the local issues about the Park rules and Problems Tourist face in the park. Most of these people were from out of M.P. One Gentleman from Kaziranga said that "In last 22 yrs I went to Directors office only once and since than I never thought of going there again." Another gentleman told me that our aim and working guidelines are very clear. We have nothing to do with the forest and its problems. There is a separate agency appointed by Govt. to look after those issues so let them take care of it.
Some other gentleman said that we make sure that our guest is enjoying his stay with us. We try our best to make his stay comfortable and memorable at our place. Majority of them were not interested in taking any issues related with forest department. One Travel Agent / Lodge Owner said to me clearly that we have to look after our business and we dont have time to worry for other things. Are these People right??
Now this puts that question back that should the lodge owners or people working in Wildlife Tourism should involve themselves in conservation related issues? Most of them said "NO".
One gentleman explained the reason for this. Things have changed in last ten years or so. Now people are not willing to involve in a healthy discussion. I think this speaks a lot.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Flu

Looks like as my immune system has gone very week I am prone to catch everytime I travel in train A/C coach. This time it scared me. First I had very sour throat then fever and ultimately it turned out to be simple cold. Everyday new Swine flu cases are registered in India. I was wondering am I going to be the one of them. Kay is scared now with the news that minimum 40 people will die everyday by Swine Flu in Britain. This is a very high figure for any country like Britain.
Munmun & co for two days and she is back to school. Construction work is still going on on the land. Well almost finished. Today afternoon we experienced first proper rain of this monsoon. Tomorrow morning we will check it for frogs.
More later.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bhopal, Dry Upper Lake


Last time when it happened i missed to record it on camera. But this time I decided not to miss it so I went to Bhopal to photograph upper lake. Only few months back i enjoyed a boat ride in Upper Lake. I walked on all most part of lake looking for different butterflies and flowers. It was hot and so hot that even butterflies decided to hide in shade.

Upper Lake is not that deep as I thought. It could be interesting to walk around after rain to look for insects. I photograph some rare butterflies from that area previously.

I had not seen my mother since jan. Recently she was seriously ill. Her lungs doesn't work properly. In simple words they lost their elasticity. After her retirement she stopped working in the house. Two daughter in laws and two grand daughters were always there to serve her food and tea on bed or on sofa. She spents her day reading news paper, Ramayan, Gita or watching T.V. So literally no physical excercise of any sort. Now she is so unfit that cant even walk few hundred metres.

I feel soorry for her. I asked her repeatedly to reduce the weight but she never listen to these suggestions that cut her food. She is fond of good eating and so the her brother. We all laugh on this.

My two younger Brothers, Devendra and Omhari, visited Somnath dwarka and other places in last winter. Now Hariom decided to do the same route with his family and mother in law. Munmun enjoyed walking on beach.

My train journey to Bhopal and back was horrid. waiting list no 2 ticket in second a/c never got confirmed. So i had to travel in passenger train up to Bina. Similar thing happened in return journey. My ticket was RAC means sharing side lower bunk with another passenger. It was tiring. Learnt a lesson Never buy any waiting list e.ticket.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Summer 2009







This summer was very productive for us. I could finish the well on our land that we were thinking to put since last 4-5 years. Rainfall is decreasing year by year. Since last 4-5 years winter rains never happened. This makes place more drier on our land. We don't want to rely more on bore well so what we needed was the good open well.
First 7-8 feet was easy digging in clay soil then comes the stone. It was hard. Labour agreed to work on contract but just in two days they realised that it doesn't worth. So came back on daily wages job. That is more headache for me. I have to make sure that labour is happy and they are willing to finish the job. But Mahua season disrupts my plan and everyone goes to collect the Mahua. They don't earn that much money from that but that easy earning lures them. It was hard to find the labour in those days. I had to simply offer them more money to work.
Mason was paid throughout the time since February to supervise the work and keep on looking for labour every week. But after all this whole work needs supervision. I had to physically sit there to supervise the work.
Tendu Patta and Chironji season were other two great obstacle to increase the well cost.
Now work will be finished in next 2-3 weeks. A Fish Pond to recharge the well in monsoon is also ready. Hopefully we have solved our water problem for next 50 years. Any amount of rain is welcome to fill the Fish pond to recharge well.
This summer Kay was very very busy. She worked about 10 hours a day regularly for May and June and on some days even 12-14 hours. Still a lot to do. She has not started anything from this year sightings. Diary needs to be completed. Lots of backlog work for her. She is just completing Giant Panda. It takes time and concentration. Everything needs to be 100% right to create the work atmosphere in the house. Cats disrupt few days work. Yesterday morning one of the kitten was found bitten injured, covered in ants and unconscious . Other three missing. We brought him
in the room. Kay cleaned his wound and put him in the box. He is still lying there alive but unconscious. Other kitten found dead yesterday evening is buried under Kathal tree.
Other two missing kittens came back this morning. Our pet cats and wild snakes on the land keep rodent population in control. Now we know why Blindy gone missing. Must have been attacked either by Tom Cat or Jackals who comes on land in the night for water.
No mangoes on the land this year but plenty of Papita (Papaya) and Cheeku.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bandhavgarh




Bandhavgarh

On 8th May morning a guide informed me that forest department have taken some guides and other people to Banbehi probably to show them a dead Tiger. It looks like as Banbehi female is gone, he said.
Later on I got the news from different sources that a Tiger is found dead near Banbehi. First news was that it is Banbehi female. Later on news came that it is a male probably the other sibling of B2.
Next day on 9th the Post Mortem was done. Guides and Drivers told me that it was clearly stated in presss conference that it was a male Tiger.
Later on one day a labour, in presence of a Mahavat and a guide, who saw all this told me that "
On 5th May they saw a tiger lying next to a rock and three cubs sitting around her. They knew that this is Banbehi female with her cubs as this is her teritory.
Next day again they were on the same route and they saw the same situation but this time a cub saw them and charged on them. They ran back to camp.
Third day on 7th they decided to go on same route thinking she must have gone by now but no she was lying there alone in same position.
He said "To check her we stonned her. She did not move. We climb on a close by rock to see her. Her mouth was wide open, teeths were showing. We could smell her dead.
We ran back to the camp. Now 5-6 people came inclusive of forest guard. We checked her she was dead. Forest guard send the information to Tala Range Head Quarter.
Park Supdtt and others came to check her late in the evening, just before dark"
First two days account shows that it was indeed the Banbehi female. Rajvardhan Sharma, Nature Heritage Tala told me on phone that it was a male, some genitals were clearly showing, This can be verified through my and his mobile phone recordings.
Now the question is, if that was a male then where is the Banbehi female??
And if that was a male then why her cubs were sitting with him for two days??
If that was not a female then why she is not being seen with her cubs since then??

Bandhavgarh


This piece was published in Raj Express Hindi News Paper from Jabalpur on 23rd April.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Tiger Cub Incident

I am advised by my Lawyer that i should not talk about this case as it is in court of Law.
It is pitty that I am not allowed to defend myself from all those rumours and reports in the media.
Time will come when I will let you know the other side of the story.
I thank all those people who have offered their support. Many of them were completely unknown person to me.
For myself, my wife Kay, my family members, my nieces and my guests this was a difficult time.
Once again I appreciate all your support.
thanking you all.
Satyendra

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mahavats

Why I want to write on Mahavats?? Only to tell you that how poor quality Mahavats we have now. My first direct contact with Mahavats established in 1978 in Kanha. Imamuddin Mahavat use to claim that his elephant obey's more than 300 verbal and physical commands. I never put him under test but we experienced that his elephant could hear the noise of anything dropped from elephant. His elephant could pickup pen, lenscap, lenshood, cap, glasses and many other items including Ankush and cane by which Mahavat control them.
Todays Mahavats are not interested in any kind of hardship. They have a characutter who assist them and cooks the elephant food, puts the howdah for Mahavat to ride the elephant. They understand or obey very few commands. Since last one week we are riding on Indrajeet. Indrajeet is big male elephant. I know this elephant since early 80's when he was in Kanha. There he was very well trained but all that trainig is gone in last 27 yrs. Now a characutter named Indrapaal rides on him. Indrajeet dont care for him. He will do what he likes to do. With Indrapaal he is slow and very slow. He dont stand still. Indrapaal dont have any control on him.
Some times we get very frustrated when critical moment he wont stand still. When camera moves in milimetres the photo object moves by inches. We try to make sure that we shoot minimum 5-6 frames to get one right.
It is hard to work from this elephant. I wish management takes the notice of these minor things to improve the service quality.
He

Guiding Wildlife Photographer


We are very busy at present. I am guiding Kim Sullivan, a reknown american wildlife photographer. This is not an easy job. There are many wildlife Guide who are doing similar work and may be earning better than me but does their clients produce quality stuff? I know few who works like a fixer. They think they are master in making the underhand deals for their clients instead of going through the proper channel. Anyway i am not here to do backbitng and nor I am interested in what other people are doing. I feel very happy when I see other photographers shooting useless stuff. Courtsey digital cameras there are more technicians then photographers in the field.

Since last week I did not had any time to write blog. Today I heard some people complaining that I am not updating my blog regularly. There are many worries in my head at present. My mother was admitted in ICU for four days now she is getting treatment from peoples Hospital bhopal. Kay is fine. Today she was with us on Elephant to see tigers. We saw T1 & T2 + Shaki on road and P10 in Chakradhara grass.

Somedays when I am not writing here I put my photos on flickr account. www.flickr.com/photos/satyendraphotography

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Man killed by a Tigress??

This morning we saw three elephants going towards Bamera. Rumour is that a man has been killed by a Tigress there??
I am not surprised. Two weeks before I visited Bamera in a hope to see some Bluebull and Chinkara. what we saw was hundreds of people collecting Mahua. In my last blog I put the photographs of two kids with Mahua basket from Bamera.
When that area is under Tiger Reserve then Villagers movement in that area should have been restricted. Mahua collectors drive away all the prey species from the area of this poor tigress who got 3 young cubs barely 5-6 months old. She need to feed them regularly and for that she need to feed herself too. Only animal she finds in her teritory now is cattle or homosapien. Because of Mahua collectors it is hard for her to kill a cattle.
I am with her. She should get a free life. Villagers needs to be told about the situation. If they have the right to collect the Mahua then she also have the rights to live peaceful life in her area. She can not tolerate intruders in her area for long.
She is just trying to let her cubs survive. We must protect her and provide her a human disturbance free area.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Lakshmi at judwani




There was another good sighting of Lakshmi on judwani pool. On 3rd morning we saw her entering the cave. We knew she will come for water in the afternoon. She did come at 1630 and stayed at the pool for 90 minutes. It was good sighting with few nice pictures. Before her we saw two Brown Fish Owl fishing in the pool. Why they have to sit here to fish?? Only answer to this is because they lost their habitat (pool) at Jamunia so they have to fish in this shallow water to survive. I will write about these Blunders In Bandhavgarh some time.


Nothing much happened in the jungle otherwise.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Durga and her cubs.




There are very few sightings of the Tiger that I remember for long time. Sometimes they becomes the best sighting of the season like Lakshmi's cubs swimming in Judwani pool, same cubs playing at Siddhbaba, Babu on Susiyari Road (with Ken), B2 swimming or carrying Chital and other day carrying Sambhar. Durga was our target since last five days. we saw few tigers by jeep but we were not happy with the situation. Other day we saw Mirchhani cubs near road but the dust cloud was so thick that after taking one or two deletable photos I suggested Kim to move. Bcause of her permission we are allowed to enter the park few minutes before so we reached Rajbehra via Badhaini. here we heard a faint alarm call of Spotted Deer. We came to pool to check the call and there she was munching a male chital. The shy female cub left the spot but one cub stayed with mother. Later on other cub joined them so photographing three Tigers moving togther was fun.
They left the pool at 0805 to climb Devkanni hill.
We book an elephant for the afternoon thinking we will found them somewhere sleeping near water. To our surprise surprise they climb the hill and came down only after we left the area.
This is Tiger Photography.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Lakshmi flexing her muscles


Reshma and Lakshmi knows that we they got some more space to claim. It took them almost a month to realise that their neighbour is missing. Today Lakshmi was seen near Ketkiha. P10 is back in Bamera and there is a rumour that P12 injured few more people there. It is bound to happen in Sanctuary. Forest deptt should force the policy of compensation. As per the Govt rules villagers have right to claim compensation for dead ones. There is no other option except this if forest deptt wants to keep a Tiger in the jungle. We had been to Bamera last week. There are people collecting Mahua everywhere. Deep in the forest we saw childrens age 10-12 yrs sitting with their Mahua basket. Elders went to collect more Mahua. In any odd circumstance these kids have no idea how to behave in presence of a Tiger. Even the many villagers dont know. In Mahua season majority of prey animals gets driven away by Mahua collectors and predators face scarcity of prey base. This is a man made situatin so man has to pay for that.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sudarshini gave birth to a female baby


It was an alright day as far as the photography and sightings are concerned. Lakshmi in the morning and afternoon and another Tiger in Rajbehra. It could be Shaki or durga. No photo to confirm the identity. We saw Lakshmi in the morning some good close ups. We saw her going in her cave at 0840. Mahavats told us about the Sudarshini's baby so we decided to see her. She is very friendly and did not mind our presence there. She was very carefull with her baby often supporting her with her trunk. Nothing much exciting happened today. Yes I learned how to use Skype.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Rubble on park roads Bandhavgarh


On 18th Feb I wrote about the rubble and other mess on the road in side the park. Last week I was able to shoot a photo how vehicles in the park avoide going on this rubble.

Including me no one wants to drive on this rubble.

This is only a photographic proof about how our parks are managed??

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Tiger Photography


What is Tiger Photography? Can someone earn his living from Tiger photography?? I worked with so many Top Photographers of the world and majority of them answered NO. Here I am talking about Still Photography. Being a photographer myself I says yes I don't earn any part of my living from Tiger Photography. You must be thinking that I am lying or I am not a good quality photographer. So let us see the good quality photographer like Steve Bloom, Jeremy Woodhouse, Kim Sullivan,Theo Alloff, Rajesh Bedi, Nick Garbutt, Tony Heald and all what they have done. I visit their website and found majority of pictures are of other animals Tiger is less than 2%. So if these pictures are not saleable than why make so much fuss about them?? We know how difficult it is to make a good quality picture. Majority of photographers thinks Tigers is a good flowery picture, one must have this kind of flower in their flowerpot. Working with photographers is tough, even very tough if you know what kind of photograph they want. There are many places in Bandhavgarh where i would like to see a Tiger in early morning or late evening light. How many times I have photographed in this kind of situation answer is almost NO. I was talking same thing to one Forest Officer he asked then Why so many tourists comes to see and photograph a Tiger. That is Tourism?? Is like addiction? If I have money and I have seen this and this then now I would like to see this. This kind of Tourist has nothing to do with Tigers. They treat it like visiting a restaurant. One goes there orders his favorite food, enjoys it

and goes back home happily without thinking about the crockery, cutlery or linen used in the restaurant. That's why Kailash Sankhla wrote in his book that we don't want such tourists who just wants to tick the tiger along with Taj.


Let me come back to photography. Tiger photography has become difficult because of so many reasons. But I want to talk about its cost, why it has gone so costly. Only reason what I see is due to the policies of forest department. I say firmly that Forest department officers have no idea about the cost, and the value of the money one pays to enter the park. In last thirty years I have never seen any retired forest officer of any rank visiting national after paying entry fee. I know some who will not plan their holiday until unless they find some connection who can arrange their free Lodging boarding and vehicle. Still enjoying perks. So if this is the attitude then how one can feel the money pinching.Recently I was in ASSAM. One of my friend called me. we keep in touch on regular basis. That day I said I m in Assam, in Kaziranga. Oh one of my batch mate is there we were together in wildlife training. Find his number I will love to talk to him. So after our game drive I asked driver if he know this person. Yes we will see him on way to the lodge, Driver said. I met this person and simply asked his phone no because my friend------ wants to talk to him. He remembered him after good twenty years, asked about his posting and promotion. In next 5 minutes I take his leave. Next morning I saw him again at entrance gate. He started talking about some retired PCCF of M.P. who is interested in Birds and staying with forest deptt consumed lots of his time unnecessary. That is the perks after retirement. And that is the reason why they never feel money pinching. Everything comes free. I know many cases like this. Do you think system will improve, never. One Field Director of one of the Madhya Pradesh's Tiger Reserve said clearly about allowing people illegally without paying entry fee that we help them in this manner and they help us in return. I asked him is this not corruption and why don't you ask them to help you officially. Never got any reply. So that is the reason why Tiger Photography is costly.


I took this picture on 19th March at about 0744. I was waiting for this Tigress to appear with her cubs since last 30-40 minutes. When she started coming out of the jungle on a perfect spot suddenly a Gypsy appeared in speed and stopped parallel to me throwing a cloud of dust in front of my camera. I lost a very good opportunity of photographing a tiger simply because of some idiot driver. Fores department failed to control them in the park. For speed they believe in putting the speed breakers rather than telling them to behave properly in the jungle. After how many days one gets a chance to see Tigress with her cubs walking towards you in such a calm manner. My client was furious.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Departure of P13 TO Panna.

P13 is being sent to Panna and so another tigress from Kanha. People opposed this move in Kanha but nothing happened in Bandhavgarh. Probably that was the reason for park officials to go for Puja at Siddhbaba that evening. I did hear some murmuring about protest. Someone asked me to join. I knew what they wanted but they never appeared on time.

We are happy that she has gone to find a better place for herself in Panna. Here she was living in a very poor territory. Bhitri was her main base. If she climbs southern hill she lands at Sitamandap, territory of Reshma. And if she climbs western hill she meets territory of Lakshmi and Pyari, two very dominant females. Her other sister P12 living in Bamera has produced her first litter. P13 never got pregnant here. May be due to stress of living in such a small sandwiched territory. Two males use to visit her territory and third one occasionally met her on road but never been together. Tala range of Bandhavgarh has a very high density of Tigers. At present there are 7 breeding females with 18 cubs of different age group, two dominant male and one transit male so total 28 Tigers in an area of only 105 sq km. Do they have sufficiently prey base for their survival?? No one knows the right answer.

Our major worry is will these Tiger survive in Panna?? Some journalist wrote that they (Forest deptt officers) cover up each others sin. If that is the case, which looks very true as no enquiry is being conducted so far for missing Panna tigers, then there is no hope for these tigers in Panna. He, journalist, says the enquiry will cover up their sins properly.

After her departure from here Reshma, Lakshmi and Pyari should feel more relaxed. They will share her territory. Lakshmi will get the smallest share in it and Reshma will benefit the most.

Anyway she is gone. We hope she will have a better life there.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Back in Tigerland

We reached Allahabad before schedule time but Howrah mail got late after it. We reached Katni by 6PM and Tala by 2045. Munmun, Mahi and Mummy join us from Umaria. Everyone was tired but eager get up early for Jungle.
Kay saw Durga walking on road towards them. that was really good sighting. Chris got some nice photos.
Denise arrived yesterday and they already saw B2 in their first game drive.
Next few days will be very busy and I dont think I will have enough time to write blogg.

Kaziranga from 11th March to 15th March

In all for me Kaziranga was not that exciting as I use to see it before. It is long time back and old story. Now at this time I found it more dry and smoky. Whole of Assam was burning. In-fact we never saw blue sky during our one week stay. Everyone in our group has same complaint about the park. Local tourists does not treat park as they should to this Heritage site. Guides and Drivers blame them for littering the park. Some Guides try to attract the attention of Rhino by imitating their call. People laugh on this. Guides needs to learn what the tourist wants, what is the need of photographers?? I will say that photography in those five days was not good.
on our journey back home Me Chris and Tony wanted to try Guwahati Dump again. It is nice filthy place for storks.
After dinner we board Howrah Mumbai mail for Katni.