Thursday, April 16, 2009


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.

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.

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.