Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Mother


My last two posts raised the question about fence and last week Lakshmi killed Pancham in Tala village. Infact it was not tigers fault. What was the need for him to move in to that direction when he knew the presence of three tigers in the field and whole village watching this drama.
Normally I sleep with my mobile phone off but on 11th evening probably i forgot to turn it off. On 12th morning at 0413, Omhari my youngest brother called, to say Bai had a blood vomit you start soon. He was crying. I knew its all over for her. I rang back to him asking her condition. This time call was received by younger brother Devendra saying we have just come back from hospital and it is all over. Come soon.
I went to Hariom's room to tell him this news. He knew it by then.
She spent her last day happily talking with family and friends and was busy till 10PM. Had a glass of milk before going to bed. At 4 AM she called Omhari saying she is feeling sick and may vomit. By the time he comes to her room she already vomit blood. He supported her, she vomit 2-3 times again in succession.
We all are shattered by her death.
We were not expecting her to die so early.
Only sickness she had was her kneee problem and some blood pressure.
Yes she was over weight but at the age of 80 we couldn't do any thing to her weight.
We know that she had a very lonely life after my fathers death in 1974. She never let us feel poor even when we were very poor. We all miss her.
If the beleifs are true then she is united with her beloved Husband.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Chainlink Fencing.


All of a sudden all the supporters of chainlink fencing has gone quite. Till few months back there were so many supporters of this chainlink fencing.
Anyway all these chainlink supporters did not do any good to the Wildlife, neither to prey and not to predator.
I was looking for this picture and this morning I got it.
A big herd of Spotted Deer grazing outside of the park. Certainly these deers were left outside at the time of fence erection. Tigers do go out but not for deer. Their favorite meal outside is cattle.
This morning I was told by a deputy Ranger that B2 and Mirchhani female and cubs were on cattle kill. They killed a buffalo and a bullock. It will be interesting to know the number of cattle kills per month done by these tigers.
Do you know that Leopard population in Tala zone is as good as Tigers and they survive 100% on wildlife. Think about the day, like Tigers, they start coming outside in search of prey ???
Enjoy seeing these Spotted Deers outside of Tala Zone.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Chainlink Fencing and Tigers of Bandhavgarh




There is no proper research is being done on usefulness of Chain link Fencing around the parks.


Forest department officials claim is that it stops cattle entering the park. I say what harm it makes when that provides prey base for Carnivores.


I oppose it for two reasons.


It blocks corridor for Tigers and other wildlife.


It let young Tigers to stay with their mother or in their mothers territory more than what they should. i.e. Pyari's 4 cubs from her last litter stayed for 3 1/2 years in their mothers territory and diminished the prey base in Chakradhara meadow area.


Chakradhara female left her area with her present three cubs in Jan 2010 and came back during monsoon for few weeks and left again around Janmashtami.


She is not back since but now her territory is being taken over by Vijaya aka Kankati. In last 40 days Vijaya is seen at Sitamandap junction, Barua Naala, Jamunia, Near Tala entrance Gate, behind M P Tourism in river, Chorbehra, Dhobiakhol, main road Siddhbaba, Dudwa Fireline, entire chakradhara, Badi Gufa, KHIDKI and Ghodademon road.


This use to be the territory of Pyari and Laxmi both. Now Vijaya is pushing Laxmi more towards Judwani, Ketkiya - Bhitri area.


Other thing what she will do is that she will deminish the remaining prey of the area.


Laxmi's cubs have already started chasing fawns. So soon they will start hunting for themselves and most of the new fawns will be gone.


What use to happen before??


Before Tigers from Chakradhara use to go out prey on deers and cattle out of the park.


Now fencing stops them from going outside and deers outside of park are disappearing fast.


I dont understand that why we dont work according to Govt rules laid out for wildlife conservation. Pay Cattle compensation. We were paying them before and paying them today then whats the need of erecting a fence.


People were living happily with Tigers and even with more tigers in Raj period. Only our political system changed their mentality and made them more lazy. Now for each and every thing farmers looks at subsidy. They dont want to do any improvement work without subsidy either it is buying a tractor or digging a well.


Laxmi injured her leg in this Chain link fence. Another male tiger was seen and photographed with a wire struck in his pad.


I have seen many different Tigers walking along the fence in Bandhavgarh.


I wonder how many NGO's are supporting Chain link fencing?? Do they know the result of their act??


Just day before yesterday I was told by a NGO man that Lodges who run NGO does work only to keep a good relationship with park authorities so their lodge could run smoothly.


Aims looks far far away from wildlife.


Just think on this. With number of vehicles in each park in the country the poaching should have been stopped. Did it??


And they are still getting / demanding more vehicles.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sick Tigers or Tourists


Last month I saw a foreigner women crying at the gate because she saw injured B2. This thing made so much fuss that forest department has to put all the elephants of Hardia to track him. We saw him and minutely scrutinised those photographs for his wound and our view was that wounds are not so serious.
Once we were talking to a very experienced vet from Britain who works mainly with cats, all big and small, and after seeing our cats her comment was that until a cat is eating no need to worry about their wound. This works with all cats.
B2s wounds were dry and healing. None of his wounds were weeping and none had any maggots but even than poor fellow got tranquilised and later given an antibiotic. Now Mahavat says he runs for miles after seeing an elephant. Good old B2.
I am so thankfull to all those women who saw Vijaya or Kankati and did not see her wound otherwise they would have cried more than for their h....... death.
Her injuries were far more serious than B2. Now they are almost healed and even she is pushing the Laxmi ,Limpy Lady.
Cats have amazing power to recover. Most important thing for them is constant supply of food. An old and injured Tiger dies only when he is unable to find the food for himself. Charger survived on scraps in his last lag of wild life. If he was not found that day by villagers he would have died of starvation and dehydration.
So Vijaya or Kankati is doing well in Chakradhara. In search of food she has to make rounds and rounds of her teritory around Chakradhara. She did made few attempts to come on main road but failed to grab any substantial food.
She has pushed Laxmi in such a small area of Judwani Jamunia that next few months will be very important for both of them to retain their teritory.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tigers of Bandhavgarh.

Since last 40 days I am visiting park in the morning and as well in afternoon. Lots of tiger sightings. Few photographable and few simply superb.
I need to talk about different matters today, hope I remember them all.
First driving by different drivers in the park.
This year there are many new drivers are seen in the park. One of them I know was digging well on my land last year and this year he is driving. My driver tells me that there are ten more drivers like him. So what they know about the park and its animals.
Their total aim is to show the Tiger to their client from as close as possible to earn a better tip.
This is very good for other pro photographers because by this way drivers and guides comes in habit of driving it to close, even for photographers, and kills all the chances of photographing behaviour.
Same thing happened today. We saw B2 and we were asking the guide and driver to move on to give him some space to come on road so everyone gets a better chance of photography but Indian Tourists were happy by driving parallal to him. Little they knew that this Tiger dont look at vehicle but changes his course. And he did that.
Forest authorities never been able to control these drivers and guides.
Tourists needs to know What is a good picture?? A tiger walking parallal to jeep in woods or a tiger walking towards jeep from a distance??
Who will teach them?? Guides and Drivers can do this but they get carried away by the greed of Tips.
Thats why many times we dont see much of a behaviour of an animal in presence of jeeps.
Every one is talking about Kalua and Pyari chakradhara female with her 3 cubs missing from Tala zone. No one so far has found the right reason of them leaving the park area. All these people who are getting worried about Kalua and Pyari and cubs has to see the park again with wide open eyes. How much prey base is there in their area??
Is it suffiecient to hold a tiger??
I think if they will see the park again they will know the answer. They left the park only because of Food.
Things will g even worse in next few months.
Female cub from Rajbehra has found the chakradhara. She is becoming a mature tigress and she is pushing Laxmi out of Chorbehra.
Laxmi cant hunt independently / frequently and new female, known as Vijaya or Kankati is killing the remaining prey base from Chakradhara.
In Chakradhara I did not see more than 50 Spotted Deer yesterday. Which is not enough for a tigress. In search of food she is moving in surrounding areas of Chakradhara.
Similar things are happening in other areas of the park.
We need to keep an eye on this. How is prey base in Bandhavgarh?? Is it suffiecient for Carnivores to survive??

Monday, November 1, 2010

P10 aka Shashi


Yesterday everyone saw Lakshmi and her cubs. It was very early in the morning, people had some good portraits except me as I didn't took my camera to the jungle. I think I didnt miss anything as I already have similar or better close up of tigers.


Today we saw P10 AKA Shashi.


It was a fantastic sighting. We saw him late in the morning. Infact we were looking for a classic Spider web and he appeared. We followed him for more than an hour. No jeep in sight was another advantage. My two clients were using 500 and 600 mm Nikon lenses so we gave him enough space to do what he wanted to do. Lots and lots of behaviour shots. Spray, sniffing the tree, clawing the tree, climbing on the tree, licking the tree, chewing tree bark, eating bamboo leaves were the main pictures.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

TIGERS


Since last one week I am visiting park almost everyday. Had some good sightings. Rajbehra Female cub and Lakshmi were the prominent sightings. Pyari with her three cubs is out again. She is vunerable. Is she going out of her area due to lack of prey base or she is trying to dump her cubs?? I think there is not enough prey base left in the park?? These many tigers cant survive on such a thin population of Deers.

Some very nice Spiders were seen.

Lakshmi was hungry and limping more than last June. She is a beauty.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Park and Durga

Very annoyed since he day this Durga Pooja started in this village. not a single minute of peace in day or night. Three loudspeakers are in competition of making noise. I have heard that Sarpanch Pati was slapped by a lady because of this. Later no police action butloudspeaker gone more louder than normal. I put a complaint on M.P.Samadhan but no avail. This thing has gone so bad in this village that every person fears. Police and district authorities doesnt take any notice of any complaint in this regard.
Majority of people involve with these Durga Pandals belongs to schedule cast society means you cant go and ask them to turn it down to permissible volume limit because next minute someone will complaint agaist you in the ploice that you abused them and they all will stand witness to it this is enough for a person to lend in jail.
One of my friend who a house in next village but since last few years lives in UK tells us everytime we speak to him that why dont we go back to UK or New Zealand. But is that an option? Wont it be a very coward act on my part that instead of fighting I run away from this battle? I complained this to each and every department including MPEB who are ignoring the illegal electricity connection. Has this country gone so corrupt that people wont untill some money is involved in the case?
What is the solution?
I will go to High Court with this case thats the only sollution I find.
Park is getting more and more support for Fencing. It has already turned in to a Glorified Safari National Park. People are very happy with the present situation so Jai Ho Bharat Mata ki.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Park Rules

A quick Short note on the park fee in M.P.
Govt of M.P. decided to revert back the hiked entry fee and Premium Zone for this season.
So now Indians has to pay Rs 1000/ per vehicle per trip for 6 pax and Foreigners Rs 2000/ per trip / vehicle for 6 Pax.
I will advice to keep visiting Magadhi zone in the morning for Tiger Show.
32 vehicles in Tala zone + 3 vehicles entry power with forest deptt makes it 35 vehicles.
Fort visit is again back on foot from Sheshshaiyya. But now we have to shell out more money for this.
For charges and all look at www.mponline.gov.in
Best wishes.
Satyendra

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Park Rules.

Through these new park rules I think I wont be able to see many of my friends visiting this place again. They enjoyed visiting Bandhavgarh and helped a lot in getting it right kind of publicity in Europe. Iain Green wrote two books on Bandhavgarh but could not afford to visit since last 5 years. Ken Hawkins is the other friend who will think twice before coming here about the expenses. There are quite a few names like them to add in this list.

M.P.Govt decided to increase the park entry fee for Indians from 16th October 2010. Because none of the Tour operator or the travel agent or big lodge owners were going to affected by this so no one raise the voice against it and small lodge owners - jeep owners who are really going to affected doesnt have any plateform to raise their voice.

Yesterday I heard another rumour that Tala zone of Bandhavgarh is going to be declared as Premium Zone means Entry fee to this zone will be just double.

So Indians entry fee increased from Rs 500/ per trip to Rs 1000/ per trip in October 2010 and then again from Dec 2010 they have to pay Rs 2000/ per trip for Tala zone.

I remember one Chief Wildlife Warden of Madhya Pradesh saying that we need more and more teachers and families with kids to visit National Parks. This will help in spreading the conservation message to the future generation. Can they afford to visit National Parks now??

Lots of discussion is going on o diferent plateforms but will they raise the voice on this issue?

Once the vehicles allowed in a National Park are according to the carrying capacity of a park then what is the need of declaring it as a premium zone??

Where is the Experience of wildlife viewing in the park??

In order to please their guest with camera a driver can create havoc in the park.

This is what gave Bandhavgarh a very bad publicity.

Can situation improve??

How.

When a person spends this kind of money he wants some return. That creates the problem.

Thats the reason we dont accept day visitors at our place. Most of our clients stays with us minimum for five nights. Many of our photographer clients pack their camera gears by 8AM in winter and 0730 in the summer.

One photographer use to come with 5 film rolls on a 3 week stay with us. Once he had 40 sightings from jeep and more than half of the films were used on Baby Elephant.
That breed of Photographers is dyieng out fast.
How many Indian photographer can behave like Mr Nanak Dhingra??
Who comes just for a particular shot and for that one shot he will wait for weeks.
No pressure on anyone, neither on Driver and nor on Guide.
Let me come on Main subject.
So when vehicle nos are reduced according to the carrying capacity of the park than what is the need to declare it as a premium Zone??
Do they change their statics all the time??
Looks like.
Carrying capacity formula was created by NTCA and applied in all Indian National Parks.
This formula was created to control the vehicle numbers.
Later on NTCA, infact MOEF, asked all the State Govt. to regulate the tourism in Tiger Reserves.
In the name of regulisation this Premium Zone idea has come up. Off the record this is to generate the revenue??
Here comes another question.
Things of National importance such as National Parks, Archeological Monuments, Museums etc are run by Govt on tax payers money.
Each and every citizen have similar rights on them. In archeological monuments and Museums we pay a token money to enter. But in National Parks in M.P. we as partner / owner of the National Park as Tax Payers has to pay the cost to share the upkeep of the parks.
Is it justified?
Will it save the Tigers in long run?
Readers comments will help me in understanding the situation.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Pachmarhi Tour Sep 2010


At this time of the year Pachmarhi will be at its best for its scenic beauty, Landscape, birds, Moths and Butterflies.

This trip will provide you ample opportunities to photograph Pachmarhi and its rich Flora and insect life. Butterflies and Moths can be at its peak.

Finding the Pachmarhi Bush Brown can be a challenge. It's not being seen since last few decades.

Itinerary is here as under.

Day1. 22nd September.--- Arriving at Pipariya station for Pachmarhi. Pachmarhi is only 55 km from here. MPSRTC buses and Taxi are available from Bus stand, right outside of railway Station. 55 km journey to Pachmarhi takes about 90 minutes. Stay at hotel in twin sharing accommodation Non A/C room. All meals inclusive. Afternoon visit to jatashankar. Over night stay.

Day 2. 23rd September.---- We are using Gypsy to visit Mahadev, Handi Khoh, Water fall and Dhoopgarh. At all these places except Dhoopgarh we have chance to walk and look for butterflies and other things.

Day 3. 24th September. ---Today we will select the place to visit on our experience of previous day.Bee Fall and other places are on agenda. There could be some good walking involve today.

Day 4 25th September.--- Morning free. Feel free to choose your place through mutual understanding with other people, so you make a full use of Gypsy.

Early lunch and Check out at 12 noon. Bus to Pipariya.

This is the itinerary I have prepared for three days tour to Pachmarhi. I know this does not give us enough time to book your train tickets but now a days with little skill train tickets can be booked on Tatkal service through www.irctc.co.in

If you need more information or cost please write me back on skayscamp@gmail.com

Please spread the word in your friends circle, you might find a companion there.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Amritsar




After reaching Jammu we decided to see Amritsar. This turned out to be wise decision to use time wisely. We left Hotel under heavy rain. We needed a honest Auto driver and this time we had one. He took so many short cuts to avoid the traffic jam but where ever we went we found the worst situation than before. (see the picture above) Somehow we got a seat in Muri Express. Shailesh fell a sleep straight away. Finding a Hotel in Amritsar was another task. Shailesh knew that there are hotels right outside of Golden Temple so that was our target. We selected an innocent looking boy as our auto driver and asked him to drop us in a hotel outside Golden Temple. His instant answer was yes but minutes later he tried to dump us in a lane saying Golden Temple is just on walking distance from here. We knew this trick so refused to get off. He tried another hotel and at last refused to go to the destination we agreed for. We got off and decided to look for hotel by ourselves. A traffic man guided us and Shailesh found the right place to stay.
We had a quick visit to Golden Temple and dinner at Bharawan Da Dhaba. Naam bade aur Darshan Chhote. Food and service was not that good as we were told. That was disappointing. Shailesh missed his Chicken, god knows where that restaurant was.
Next morning again we visited Golden Temple and Jalianwalla Bagh. We both were impressed with cleanliness and with the behaviour of devotees and people at Golden Temple. I did not go to Vaishno Devi temple but Shailesh's comment was that he was pushed by police man at Vaishno Devi and hardly got a second to have Darshan. I knew this. Thats the one reason I have stopped going to the temples. I stopped it after my fathers death in 1974. Now I firmly beleive in my own God to whom I pray every day at home. Now I am not an orthodox religious person but prayer has become a habit.
I liked visiting Jaliyanwaalaa Bagh. One reason behind that was because we read about it in school days and that horror image was drawn in the brain that in order to save their life how people jumped in that well. Bullet marks, Well and the place from where they were fired completes the picture.
We still had some time to visit Bagha Border. We took a taxi for Bagha. There we found that visitors are allowed only after 1630 PM. Driver knew this fact but he didn't wanted to loose his business. We did see Atari railway station.
I salute to all those freedom fighters who lost their life that day.
That evening we took a train to Delhi. Next day Shailesh left for Jabalpur while I decided to go and see my family in Mainpuri.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Amarnath
















Visit to Vaishno Devi was tiring. I was alright but Shailesh had difficulty in walking on 5th. His excuse was that we came down very fast. He was calculating our speed, 6 km per hour. This was too fast for him while it looked a normal pace for me. He often asked me to slow down even on street.
We were getting very different news from our friends and family about Amarnath. Local papers were not talking about the disturbance on way to Shrinagar. Anantnag was the city we need to cross for Pahalgam. My family told me about stone pelting in Anantnag and curfew in that area. I checked the weather and that also doesn't look promising. I don't want to spend a night in any army camp was my major worry. Shailesh was still very keen to go forward with the plan while I was trying to go safe and use time wisely. We completed our registration formalities on 4th itself and got the permit on 5th. I went to see the pilgrim starting point at 5 in the morning. More than thousand people were waiting for Yatra to start. Some other pilgrims from Maharashtra staying at the same hotel already left at 0430 in the morning. After seeing all these people I, myself alone, decided to go forward and booked a taxi for us. When I came to room and told Shailesh that we are going his first remark was, you take decision very fast. I said when everyone is going then why left behind. Everyone will have the same fate so let us go.
We started from Jammu at about 0900 AM, asked the driver to stop for breakfast and ATM. Tandoori Stuffed Paratha with curd were best I ever had. Shailesh added some more butter and Dal to his breakfast. I was shocked and surprised by the amount of butter he eats per day. I warn him but he says he likes it.
We were sharing one mobile phone with local sim for outgoing calls only. So it needed its battery recharged more often than normal. By mid day battery was low and we needed to stay in touch with friends and family on hourly basis. BSNL is not the favorite phone service provider in the area. We realised this while looking for recharge voucher for our sim.
There were many Langars offering free food to pilgrims. In fact many people were en cashing the opportunity. We were stopped by Army at Mirpur. Pahalgam is another 70 km from here. Our plan was to reach Pahalgam before dark but now we are directed towards CRPF camp in Mirpur.
we were not the only people in the camp. Some pilgrims went to Amarnath via Pahalgam and came back via Baltal, thinking that they will go to Pahalgam to collect their baggage later by road but got struck here since 0800 AM. Army personal were friendly and so friendly that they opened their canteen for pilgrims. I saw many disappointed people here including Shailesh who couldn't get Alcohol from the shop.
One J&K police officer told us that Jattha will depart from here after 11 PM. Langar was on, tea earn was filled regularly, women started helping in making Roti. There were more than 200 vehicles by the time Jattha started from here at 11 PM. Shailesh commented on our taxi drivers driving that he drives very slow, everyone overtake him in daytime.
Within an hour or 70 minutes we reached Pahalgam. Baggage was checked again through metal detector and so the pilgrims. We asked him to take us to some Hotel. It must have been fixed. Hotel in which we landed did not had clean bedsheets, first he brought a blanket cover later the sheet he brought was too short on bed. After lots of argument we left the Hotel peacefully but finding the other at this time of the night was a problem. I asked Shailesh to choose the room this time. We checked many Kabootarkhanas and at last surrendered to one boy who offered a room in new hotel but little far away from the town. Without any more argument on condition of sheets and bathroom we just asked for another blanket and went to sleep.
Morning was good, crystal clear at 0530 but within minutes clouds started covering the hills. I took few photos and ordered tea.
After seeing their makeshift kitchen I asked Shailesh to have breakfast in town. Here we found a DAANAA PAANI restaurant run by a Sikh family. Food was good and again we filled our belly with stuffed Parathas and Dahi.
Yatra was stopped due to bad weather. Helicopter service was out of operation since last 4 days.
What to do?? How to keep our self busy? Decided to see local places. Taxi man suggested to visit Aru and Betaab valley.
Aru is a small village 12 km away from Pahalgam. Betaab valley, think of this name. What it can be. It is nothing but a nice site near a river where they shot Betaab, a bolywood film. Aru is much more scenic spot than Betaab. Horse ride could be fun in Aru but not in rain. Rain makes trails very slippery and dangerous to walk. Many pilgrims died this year. Omhari saw two horse with riders slip down in the gorge on Baltal route. Horseman simply said Ghoda gaya. He was not at all worried about the rider. 6 dead bodies of Amarnath Pilgrims were brought down by CRPF on 7th August and cremated in Pahalgam. Because all these things can affect their business so local people don't talk about it.
Betabb valley is a big park type ground. We saw local women cutting grass there so it is not a protected area. Lidder river flows through this park. Shailes noticed the smell around river area but we couldn't find the source. Later when we were walking along the river we found that smell was coming from the water. Thousands of pilgrims has polluted the river. No sanitation facility compel them to use the field.
Shailes did some shopping and we decided to leave Pahalgam in the evening. Again they were releasing all the pilgrim vehicles together from Pahalgam. So to join the Jattha we have to be in queue by 0730- 0800 PM. we left Pahalgam dot 1100 PM. I decided to sit in front to keep an eye on the driver. Driver somehow managed some booz for Shailes so he happily slept on rear seat. We reached Jammu by 0700 AM. Street in Anantnag was littered with wind screen Glass.
Weather was still cloudy and we drove through the rain. Driver Manjur in Pahalgam confirmed the rain on 8th morning. No helicopter flew and neither the Yatra was allowed on 8th. We felt happy with our decision of leaving Pahalgam early. We still have a day so we decided to visit Amritsar.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Vaishno Devi













Yes I had been to Vaishno Devi. We (Shailesh and Me) reached Jammu on 4th afternoon and on same evening we took a bus for Katra, the base camp for Vaishno Devi. Bus journey is like any other bus journey in the country. Bus will move only when the Driver and Conductor agree on passenger numbers. I was not at all in a mood to climb the hill in dark. we started our journey at about 2100 hrs on horse back and reached temple site little after mid-night. After seeing the display board, things you can't carry to the temple, I found it a good excuse to avoid the Devi Darshan. Shailesh decided to carry on so I come back to a dharamshala and booked two beds in Dormitory for us. Shailesh came back at about 0330 in the morning and went straight to bed. It was a nice and clean place, run by Trust. Their canteen is very popular. They serve food cheaper than Katra. After a cup of tea in the morning we decided to stroll back to Katra. Shailesh agreed. Little he knew about his health otherwise he would have refused.
We didn't had any dinner or breakfast so we both were starving. Looking for a decent restaurant for breakfast was tough. At one place where we decided to have b/fast saw a lady complaining about an insect in sambhar. I quickly changed my order to few chocolate bars.
Shailesh was hungry and tired so we decided to stop on next restaurant. At one place we saw fresh stuffed parathas on hot plate and decided to have breakfast here only.
By the time we reach Katra town Shailesh was completely exhausted. One Massage wallah saw his condition and tried hard to get the business. 20 rs is not a big deal for ten or fifteen minutes massage. This is dry massage. Oil massage cost five times more.
We used pony to go up. I will say that was a mistake. Best way is to take the pony uptill Ardh kumari or Tempo stop and from there just take the Battery tempo. This way it is cheaper and more comfortable. We both realised our mistake after an hour or so sitting on that Pony. One can do the same thing on way back, even from Ardh Kumari one can stroll back. It takes more than an hour with very gentle pace. We need to learn manners, only that can keep this site clean. I saw people throwing rubbish every where on path and on hills. And of course the trust itself do not try to keep the path and hill area clean. They empty the dust bin on hill.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Jabalpur-Bhopal via Hoshangabad.

I should have been in Bhopal on 14th but couldn't go there due to staff. Computer repair and plants were the two major jobs of this visit. Hariom dropped me at Umaria station to board the Ambikapur Jabalpur train. Very Good train for Jabalpur, hardly takes three and half hours to complete the journey. Kishan Pillai runs a Taxi now so I used his Taxi to go to SFRI and Other places.
Aristolochia was on top of my prioriy list. I found seven plants of it so I bought them all. Another plant was Stevia. I love it. Question is How long I will be able to save it from leaf tasters. It is sweet, bloody sweet.
Bhopal was wet, moving on scooter was difficult. Ajeet dropped me at the station. I was amazed that they allow him to drive car in night. Train journey was good, I slept all the way through uptill Madan Mahal.
Best thing I saw was Baya nesting in a well. Hardly 15 feet from the ground one can see about 12 nests in process of completition. Male trying to attract female through the display on their cup shaped nest. I didn't took my camera with me so cant show any photos but soon I will try to get it done.
Pyari is back in Chakradhara with her cubs after spending more than five months in Dobha forest.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Animal and Insect life in our Garden




Few days of rain and few open sunny days put the dead garden back in to life once again. This year summer was hard on plants. We decided to water only trees or those plants that can tolerate the heat and survive so many of our flower plants and food plants for butterflies died this summer but monsoon brought them back.
In the morning small Gulmohar, Yellow Elder and Zinia attracts Lime and Common Crow Butteflies. Few days back there were lots of Common Rose and Crimson Rose in the garden but none since last three days. Tridax attracts all the small size butterflies but surprisingly no grass yellows seen so far. All three kind of Parakeet visits the garden but different times. Plum Headed and Alexandrine come for Guava's in winter, than only Plum Headed comes for Mangoes when unripe and hard and once they are ripen than Rose Ringed Parakeet comes to finish them.
We have Dussehari (10 trees), Chaunsa (9 trees) & three trees of desi mangoes. Other animal that we have as a resident / visitor to the garden is a family of Indian Palm Civet. Now they are all adult in size and devouring the Mango, Guava, Papaya and Cheeku in the night. We see their poo every where in the morning. They comes to our Veranda. Here they poo every where may be because of cats. They just wants to to leave their scent mark on top of theirs.
It was great fun photographing them. Few years back I photographed them eating Mango and Guava. Our nieces Munmun and Mahi love watching them in the night. Sometimes these Civets ignore them completely. Once a female brought a big mango and started eating it about a feet away from Munmun's feet.
Crows are the other birds who always knows before us that which mango is ripened. They bring it down on ground then beetles and butterflies start enjoying it. After few showers of rain Mango's start getting bugs inside. This is because a moth lays its eggs in them.
This morning Common Crow, Great Eggfly and Lemon Pansy are seen feeding on ripen mango on ground.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Red headed vulture killing White-backed Vulture in Bandhavgarh


Bandhavgarh national Park is situated in Umaria distt of Madhya Pradesh India. Four species of Vultures Long-Billed Gyps indicus, Red-Headed Aegypius calvus,Egyptian Neophron percnopterus and Whit-rumped Gyps bengalensis -are resident here. On May 28, 2008 at 0701 am we spotted a White -rumped Vulture near a stream in the Dadra meadow. It appeared sickly in a sitting posture with head bowed. Nearby a couple of Red-headed Vultures were feeding on a carcass of what appeared to be another dead vulture. At 0705 am while we still watched the sickly bird walk further away, a Red-headed Vulture flew from a nearby tree and landed on the unaware bird, followed by another within seconds.
By now the first vulture was pecking at the white rumped as it sat on its back. The White-rumped Vulture tried to defend itself by counter attacking with its beak, but it seemed unable to escape the grips of the heavier and healthier bird anchored on its back. The second Red-headed Vulture appeared unwilling to join the attack, possibly due to hierarchy, and simply stood watching.
After ten minutes of suffering,the White-rumped Vulture manage to escape and hop off to safety after the Red-headed Vulture became distracted by more arrivals.There were no further attacks on the bird for the following fifteen minutes.
The following morning at the same spot there was a gathering of 8 or 9 Red-headed Vultures. They were feeding on the carcass of a recently dead White-rumped Vulture. One bird appeared dominant and as it fed the others stood around watching. It is probable that this was the carcass of sick looking White-rumped Vulture we have observed the previous day.
Vultures feeding on dead Vultures may not be uncommon in Bandhavgarh, however, it is the first time that Vultures appearing to attack sick looking Vultures for food has been documented.
Surely this does not mean that these vultures in Bandhavgarh are facing any kind of starvation. This could be a case of opportunist behaviour for getting easy convenient.
Expert Comments: The Vulture sitting on the back of the White-rumped Vulture is a regular posture of an attacking Vulture. Vultures do this for driving other Vultures from food or a perch. It is unlikely that a Red-headed Vulture was attempting to kill White-rumped Vulture. Vultures do sometime takes live prey, but only small ones like Turtles,Rats or Lizards. Vultures do sometime feed on other dead Vultures.
This was published in Bombay Natural History Society journal, Hornbill, Jan-March, 2009.
We thought and our thought were confirmed by Mr Patric Benson and Mr Munir that this bird was a juvenile Long-billed Vulture but BNHS people thought it otherwise hence it published as White-backed Vulture.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Newly born died in the Family

Since morning Littlen was crying to come in. At last we let her come in with Tea. Kay was stroking her suddenly she realised that she is leaking. We put her on floor. She was crying to come back on bed. I brought a bed for her and she was put in this box. She will not leave Kay for a minute so she has to sit next to the box. Probably Littlen has no idea that what is happening in her body. She keep on making rounds and rounds in the room, leaking. After an hour or so she started delivering the kitten. First kitten was born dead and premature. She ate it instantly. She is not feeling more pain now. Second kitten was born after another thirty minutes or so. This kitten was healthy and birth was quick. She cleaned him but didn't knew what to do. Left him unattended. This happens with young experienced mothers.
Third kitten was born dead and other way around. She could not deliver him. Half of his body was hanging outside and she was running around in pain. Kay got worried and asked me to get some help. I asked Kali to call Nurse from Vet. Hospital. By the time Kali could go she delivered it.
Out of three new two born dead, one she ate and one got buried in the Garden.
This took away our morning working hours.
Now Littlen is comfortably sleeping in her box with her one kitten.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bharatpur, Rajasthan


A day at home just to change the clothes in the bag and download the photos from Gir and again ready for Bharatpur.

Train journey was very quite except few mobile phones ringing in middle of the night. I wonder if ever country will have quite trains/coaches. Dinner packed by Kalicharan was very helpful in the train. Train reached Agra about an hour and a half late and this made us run to Agra Fort so we don't miss our connecting train to Bharatpur.

In Rome live like Romans so we cross the railway track at Agra Fort station to board the train. There was no other option except this. Cant go over the bridge in two minutes time was the thought in mind.

Travelling in A/C Chair car was a mistake. Suffocating and No fresh air in the compartment because A/C wont work in slow speed train.

We face the severe heat of Rajasthan, Temp was touching 47degrees. Spoonbill room walls were hot. Within few hours we decided to come down to comforts of ground floor room. We had a quick cup of Tea and within minutes we were ready for the Park.

Now park authorities are providing the bi-cycles. Good move with poor maintenance. Park was dry like bone. Dead turtles were telling the story of drought. We think that these Turtles could have been saved easily but after seeing the working of forest staff we could understand that how difficult it is for the management to get the needed work done. Lack of dedicated staff is the sad part of Wildlife Conservation in India.

Reason to visit Bhratpur this time was to attend the Marriage of Junie, daughter of Sh Arun Deo Sengar. It was a grand marriage. Everything up to the mark.

We met quite a few people there but meeting with Mr Girish Mehrotra was special. We need to see him some time in Allahabad.

we could not find any taxi to go back to Agra from Bharatpur. This was quite interesting. Someone offered his private car but his charges were much more than a proper Taxi. At last we decided to go by bus. Hot but faster journey to Agra. Bus took only 75 minutes to Namner. 5 minutes walk to brother-in-law's house. Quick cup of tea with lots of helpings of sweets from marriage filled the belly.

Train was again more than 90 minutes late. Kay missed her sizzler at Rieo. Journey back home was noisy. Too many crying kids with useless parents.

Reached home mid day and ask Kalicharan for a big Cup of Chai.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Gir, Sasan Gir Gujarat.




Uri Goleman asked me to meet him in Gir so we could discuss some future business together. It was very difficult for me to short out my visit on such a short notice but it all got arranged courtsy Railways Tatkal ticketing system. I asked Omhari at Hoshangabad to book my return ticket and I printed it in Ahmedabad. My journey from Gir to Tala I completed in three different class in the same train.
Initially I was not sure about my programme so Uri found some Mr Kamlesh from Rajkot to guide him in Gir. Uri came with his another friend Mr Thomas, a Photoshop expert. I reached Sasan on 6th evening but couldn't find Uri at Sinh Sadan. At about 11pm Uri knocked on my door. We discussed the morning plan and decided to go to jungle together.
Had a nice morning. I felt other people were not feeling very easy with my presence in the jeep. I was not at all in a position to help them so I decided to become a spectator.
After morning game drive Uri told me that Kamlesh says that it wont be possible for me to go along with them for day outing. I simply said "thats fine with me."
I booked my jeep and got the permit. I had two safaris by myself on 7th afternoon and 8th morning. Saw few lions but nothing for photo.


Uri came back on 8th afternoon. First I thought I wont join them but later I changed my mind. They saw nothing in last 24 hours. No photo opportunty of any sort. Uri claimed a Sunbird photo as a reward.


It was so secretive plan and the destination that I had no idea where they went for one night. Sleeping on ground was rough, as Uri said. Thomas was also not very happy by loosing a day. Uri said that we are finish with Kamlesh?? I didn't ask much on this but they revealed it later on. He does not have any knowledge about the photographers needs and neither of a foreign tourist. Asking them to drink normal water was too much for Uri.


I was shocked to see the behaviour and working modus operandi of forest guards and trackers there. It is very important for a tourist to know the local language or have interpretor or Fixer as they are called in Gir. This helps in making their trip successful. Lions are very docile animal and can be herded by a single man with the help of a stick. I have seen this happening. I was an outsider amongst our group there so our jeep was always moved away from the spot hence I never had an opportunity to photograph this drama. One evening we met two Dr brothers from Ahmedabad who were complaining about the trackers bahaviour. Some other Indian gentleman's jeep was taken off route to show him the Lion and he was asked to get down from the jeep to photograph Lion on foot and these two brothers were denied the opportunity. Their complaint was that everyone should have equal opportunities in the park. No favours to any particular tourist. I agree.


I felt very happy in myself. Minimum there is one person who knows the local language and still ignored by the local people in the jungle because they did not had proper connections there. These connections are made on the basis of how much money you can shell out of your pocket or to whom you know in the department.
I have never seen any other National Park in the country where money plays such a vital role in sightings. Many people left the park disappointed. It is a part of the game. It could have been more justified if everyone gets the same treatment/deal in the jungle. People with privileges in the jungle annoys tourist more than anything else.
I saw more people complaining about the system here than anywhere else.
The rules are very ridiculous for sharing the jeep with foreigners. I had to pay the camera charges same as foreigners. Many people dont agree with camera charges at tourist destinations. Every Camera used by visitors, big or small helps in publicity. People dont charge for showing their photo of the destinations then why camera fee is charged to them. Charging camera fee is really mean thing to do with that kind of Entry fee structure. We pay to enter our National Parks which are run on Tax Payers Money.
After my visit to this place I checked two photoagencies for Lion Photos, just to check the demand of Asiatic Lion photos. I was surprised to know that there were hardly any photos of Asiatic Lions. This is only because there is no demand of these photos in the market or destination is not popular amongst the foreign photographer. Every photographer visiting any place dont look for fixers. They visit destinations with a hope of getting some photographic opportunities through legal means as a general tourist.
After seeing the Lion herded by trackers I can not suggest this place to any of my photographer friends. Majority of them are true wildlifers who prefers to wait for opportunities in the jungle. Most of the photographs I see from Gir are very much touristic shots.( I learnt this word in 1989 while working with one of Indias top photographer. This was his comment after seeing a tigress with her three cubs sitting next to her.) Lion photography is difficult. You dont get a chance to observe the subject. People walking around jeeps distract their attention. I did not see them in relax mood. Even three female and 5 cubs sighting did not produce any extra ordinary picture.
Drivers drive their jeeps too close to follow them. Any animal would not like to have a vehicle full of shouting tourist at his bum end. I photographed this. Lion was not at all calm. He wanted to get off the road as early as possible but poor chap was again cornered by Tracker on motorbike. I think these lions have always accepted man as their master. At one time, when there were only few lions left, this must have been the way to locate them.


I did not found Sasan as a very popular tourist destination for foreigners. Food is the one problem. All the restaurant I tried were serving very oily-spicy hot food with very limited choice. I survived on Biscuits, fruits, Curd and Roti. All the Tourists do not go to stay at top end lodges.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tourism in Bandhavgarh

Since last 3 months I was visiting park almost everyday. Lots of Tiger sightings and lots of other things were seen. Other things means how the some lodges gets privileges in the park.
Some drivers are found driving off route all the time. They are driving some priviledge tourists. How they get priviledges is still a thousand dollar question?? In any case this does not gives any fame to the park and park authorities. I tell my clients in very open words. Who they are and what they are doing. This makes them more angry about our system. And as Hashim says Whole country is like that?? Corrupt.
The new rules are not helping the tourists. No one wants to miss the tiger by few meters, as it happened everyday in Rajbehra. If a Tiger lying on route A than route C people cant see it because they are not allowed to go 100 meters off the route. I discussed this matter with Park Supdtt. and he agreed with my point.
There is no control on drivers in this park and when they cheat the system guides also join them only because they see it as a fair thing to do for their clients.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

cattle kills

mahavats says it was lakshmi, the limpy tigress of chorbehra. She jump the fence and killed 3 cattles and injured one.
Kuttappan said the same so i beleive it was her.
B2 is seen by some other people and they said he is fine no sign of any wound.
yesterday jungle was very quite. did not sighted any tiger but that is how it goes.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tiger

So what is important today. My phone rang at 0330 in the morning. Tiwari ji Come quickly here. Rajesh and co are shouting on Siddhnarayan's roof to scare off two Tigers. They have injured a cow and killed otherone in other house.
Within minutes I was ready. Kay said You are not going alone? She joined me and within two minutes we were on the spot .
Pug Marks were clearly seen on road. Sultan came to inform that he saw pugmarks on Bijhariya road. We had to tell staff not to move in dark. Similarly other people and neighours were informed. Dont want any other case and tigers to get blamed for their death.
I had to call Ranger at 0445. Soon Elephants will be in the village.
Question is Who these are?
If I get any more news I will tell you in the evening.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Chainlink fencing

This morning I saw this porcupine running alongside the chainlink fence looking for a space to come inside the park area. She was seen near Andhiyaari Jhhiriya camp. Our guide Kanchhedi and Premlal guide were at the spot. Last year I photographed a Tiger trying to come inside of the park from outside.

These fencing are coming up in almost all the National Parks and sanctuaries in M.P.

Picture of a tiger can be seen here. Please scroll down the page. It is last picture.
http://www.ecoscene.co.uk/?service=search&action=do_quick_search&language=en&mode=&q=satyendra+tiwari&qw=&page=9&grid_layout=4

My purpose here to put this photograph is to ask your opinion on this point.

If after few years some researcher finds the ill effects of these fencing on Wildlife than Will the Government fix the responsibility of the loss on concerned people?

Your opinion on this point is very important for the future of wildlife in this country.

As Shri Lav Kumar Ji Khachchar said "If the army loose some teritory it can be taken back at some later date, but one species lost , or for that matter one mix of species disturbed and it would be impossible to recreate what is lost." So keeping this view mind please comment on pros and cons of chainlink fencing around N.P. and Sanctuaries in M.P.

Your comments will prove a valuable document at later stage.

Please comment on blog itself.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Visit to Bandhavgarh Fort


Visit to fort is always rewarding in one or the other manner. I tried to photograph Tomb Bats but my camera refused to work! Moody, like many other .....! Weather was not good to see vultures flying. Saw none flying at Bathaan. We saw a dead Spotted Deer near a pool on way to Badhaini view point. Our guide Vijay singh saw it on 1st of April and other guide saw it on 4th April lying there in same position.
Dead Spotted Deer is nothing for many tourists but for the people who care for the jungle is really worrying. Dead Spotted Deer was not eaten by any scavanger or predator. It means Vultures are not there and so the other preadors like tiger and leopard are also not there. What happened to all of them!
Things are not good here. Tigers are surviving on less than 4 sq km per tiger teritory. It is good for tourists who come here to see tiger but not good for tigers themselves.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

B2

Some guide saw B2 this morning sitting near Sita Mandap. He said B2 was limping badly. He was sitting after every few steps.
What happened to him! All we could think of is that 2 days back he and Bamera male, his own son, were together in same area. B2 may have tried to behave with him in similar manner as he behaved with Kalua. B2 may have injured in this tussle. We did not see him this afternoon. This seems to be the beginning of the end of B2 era. B2 got this teritory from Charger. In his last days Charger was almost blind due to cataract. We remember seeing him hitting the tree and slipping on rocks while walking. He was found near a village, weak and starved. Initially he was put in a makeshift enclosure at the spot later in another enclosure where he spent last 6 months of his life. So Charger never faced any challlange from any male from outside. Remember in those days park boundaries were open and tigers had free access to surrounding areas. B brothers became dominant males in Tala range at the age of 27 months. They have seen Charger fading out of the scene. Once we saw three brothers not allowing Charger to share their kill.
Only place where B2 can spent his last days in peace is to avoide Bamera Male and stay away from him. Let us see what happens!
I will keep informing you about the latest development in his life

Friday, April 9, 2010

Dont stay here get lost is the message B2 wants to convey to Kalua











Last month someone showed a small clipping to Kay about B2 dominant male intimidating a young Tiger named Kalua. We also witnessed this day before yesterday. B2 was seen devouring a cow inside the park. Later on he moved towards Ghorademon. When we saw him in early afternoon his one foreleg was visible in the gorge. At about 1715 hrs a young male about thirty months old alo walk in the same gorge. He was shocked after seeing his father the dominant male of the area sitting there. He sat down instantly and freeze his movements. We heard only one Tiger growling, so probably that was B2. After few minutes B2 got up and started circling this young male. Moving towards him he snarled. Young male got up and moved backward. He was petrified. He lay down in submissive position. He was so petrified that he urinated. B2 charged on him, circling him again and again and after a roaring sound he came out of the gorge.
Young male sat down in fear, expecting new attack from his father, he kept looking on top. B2 walked for few minutes on the gorge and sat on top of the gorge.
We left them in that position. Next morning B2's pugmarks were seen miles away from the last sighting place and young male also disappeared.
This young male had very unfortunate story. Few weeks before we saw him in his mothers teritory. That day when he saw his mother coming down off the hill he started calling her like a cub. She came snarling and told her off. So poor chap is being told off by his both parents.
That is life our kids needs to learn. Once you become adult leave the shelter and make your own home. A daugter is better than a son minimum she will leave you after 25 -30 yrs but if a son becomes useless he will torture you till death.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Company provides.

Last month I was assisting a photographer so I had a chance to go on Elephant for several days. Sometimes Mahavat smells liquor in day time so I asked what happened today! He replied Oh yesterday I had some clients from one lodge and I couldn't go there yesterday to receive my Free Booz Supply so i got it today. Company gives 2 bottle of Beer for day and half bottle Rum for the evening. Now we know that why certain lodge always gets favour from the employees. Certainly client must have charged by the lodge for this free booze.
3 days back a beat guard knocked at my door at around 7/30 pm. I was shocked that this person who doesn't recognise me in the jungle why he has come here today. I smelled something fishy.
His reason to come was to beg / borrow some money from me as he has to send his family to his hometown to look after his ailing parents. I gave him money only after this thought that this man must have needed this money badly otherwise he would have not come to me. But what shocked me was that why he did not asked to his collegues for this small amount of 3000/ Rs.
Strange strange people.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Bandhavgarh Tigers

I was replying to Mr Peter Dickinson's comment than I thought why not I reply it on blog few more things to tell. Yes u r right but why she has to move with cubs! If she has gone out to dump her cubs then why she is taking that much Time! Why she herself is not coming back in her teritory! Her last litter of cubs stayed with her up to the age of three and half years of age. Three cubs 2 male and one female left at the age of three and half yrs of age and one male came back to his motherland after a year. He is called Bamera male now. Now he is about 5 yrs 9 months old. We have seen her cubs staying in the same teritory more than normal and diminishing the prey base.
If she is the same tigress as Chakradhara female than it will be interesting to know the reason of her leaving the teritory.
Is it because of lack of prey base!
or she left this area to get rid of her cubs!
Can someone enlighten me on this, Do they go out of their teritory to dump their cubs!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Tigers

Tigers Tigers and Tigers. That is Bandhavgarh. I declared it 3 yrs back that this park started dying and that time people were laughing on me. People who dont know the situation may laugh on me now when I say that this park has turned in to a Glorified Safari Park! Yes it is a Glorified Safari Park. Tourists who visit this park uses it like a Restaurant where people go to enjoy the meal of their choice and dont care for the kitchen that how it was cooked and in what condition the kitchen is. Forest department is happy by putting the Chain Link Fencing all around the National Park. They dont consider it as a corridor blocker or teritory divider for the tiger. One of the my friend in Forest Deptt told me the equations of chainlink fencing. That equation leads towards money spending!!!!!
May I request to my readers to enlighten me on this question if they know any park that is managed in this country with scientific guidelines!!
Topic here is a Tigress with three cubs. Her cubs are about 18 months old now and she is not being seen in the Park since last 45 days. Forest department thinks she is out and she is responsible for the death of this girl last week in Kuchwahi village.
Now the question is that why this tigress has to leave the best teritory area of the park, Chakradhara meadow and fort hill, to go out of the park. One guide said that he saw her snarling on her cub of last litter Bamera Male, who has become the dominant male of the area and trying to push B2 further back in to the hills. But that day she was waiting for the cubs to join her on the kill. She did not like her presence near the kill and male slapped her. But these are daily routine incidents in Tigers life and any established female will not leave her teritory that easily. She is 14 now. What kind of prey other than cattle she is getting outside is not reported so far. She was never seen outside of the park before. Areas from where she could come in are all fenced with 8 foot high fence. I am sure that in next few years Tigers will be managed genetically in these National Parks. Tala Range in Bandhavgarh has all the Tigers from Sita And Charger blood line except a male and a female whose parentage is not confirmed. Dominant males of this park has not faced any challange from any intruder male since last 13 years so that tells the part of the story.
In this country where human population pressure has reached to the core areas of National Parks how one can have hope of their (tigers) free survival.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Late Miss Anjana Tiwari

Today morning Hariom , my younger brother, brought the news that a Tiger has killed a girl in Kuchwahi village . Kuchwahi is less than 3 km from my home and Park boundary in crow flight. Me and Kay reached there in minutes after getting the news. Forest vehicle was following us so we let them pass. Bablu ktpns said that they have brought the body in the house. Place was full of visitors. Police was there and so the forest deptt.
A tiger walk through wheat field to leap over the fence, walk through the village, killed a cattle, drag it through the fence by breaking it and start eating 300 mtrs behind a house. Anjana came out of house to collect the mahua flower under a tree that is 300 mtrs from her house and 30 mtrs from where this tiger was eating her kill. Tiger saw her as an obstruction and charged on her. She got killed instantly. Tiger dragged her few meters and left her there. Her body was not eaten by Tiger.
This case has left many questions to answer.
A sad story.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Kim

Kim, old friend and a famous wildlife photographer from Oklahoma, arrived on 4th March and from 5th we started our work in the jungle of Bandhavgarh. It is an old story of permission troubles. After reaching at the gate we found that our permission papers have not reached to the park gate yet. Since the 28th Feb case staff working for Tourism in the park were unable to found so I knock on the doors of Park Supdtt. at 0600 hrs in the morning. He gave me his copy that I could show at the gate to enter. Later on I learnt that I am not the new for this many other people dont get their permission papers in time but information is sent through wireless but this did not happened in our case.

Kim comes here for Tiger photography. She has enough pictures to publish a decent book on Tigers. She is coming here since 1998 and every stay is never less than three weeks.

We had some quite good sightings but they were not good for photography. Either the light was not good or some other obstruction. I was aiming her to get minimum few quality photos during this time.We spent most of our time looking for Chorbehra or Andhiyaari jhhiriya cubs. Infact apart from them there was no other tiger on which Mahavat could rely to find them regularly. Even these were not easy to find. Chorbehra cubs were rarely playful. We saw them growing in three weeks. In 23 days time we saw changes in their wooly coat. Their size changed. Although I doubt they get as much food as the other cubs on the other end of the park get.
We had few leopard sightings but none were better. Infact few sightings were better from jeep than elephant. It may be a great surprise for some people that leopard population in the park is as good as Tiger. There are minimum four different leopards between Tala gate and Chakradhara. One leopard we saw on road was very close to the park gate. Monkeys gave us the clue about his hiding spot and once his cover was blown away he decided to come in open. It was a good sighting but nothing for photo.
All in all 23 days were fun in the jungle. We had to face lots of red tape from the forest dept. lower staff. It will be interesting to know how the other people deals in these situations.
At last I would like to make some comments about the jungle.
Habitat degrading, Water holes drying, Low Prey base for carnivores, High density of Big Cats, Fence trapped the young cats to move out to look for their own home ground hence affecting the prey base. But all these things makes sighting easier and tourist happy.
Only thing we regret in these 23 days that we never saw Chakradhara female and her cubs and neither their pugmarks.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Lata. R.I.P.

Lata was one of the oldest female elephant in Bandhavgarh. She sat many records here. She worked till last day of her first delivery and same she did on her last delivery. She was retired from tourism work in 2006. Since than she was kept at different Elephant camps in Bandhavgarh but always with breeding elephants. She was a very caring Aunt. Starvation is the major cause for elephants death in nature. They grow 6 sets of teeth in their life time. After the last set of teeth's they cant chew their food. Lata was surviving on boiled Rice, Daliya and Gud.
Mahavat told me that last day she ran back from Milli camp to Sukhi Patiya camp. Destroyed her temporary hut and died that night. Why she destroyed that hut? Animal world. we can't read their mind just predict that she might have decided enough is enough. You don't me to stay here where I want then why should I let this hut stay here.
I am off.
Thanks.
Bye Bye.
Mahavats refused to puncture her body for postmortem. One said to me How can I do it? She fed me for so many years. Let her go peacefully but no Govt. papers has to be completed.
I salute her. She was a very good elephant. Munmun and Elephant Lata story is only of three sentences for which Kay has to draw a picture. I will show you that picture on some other day.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Jaipur


There is so much to write about the park and other things happening in Bandhavgarh but never got any time and now time is too late to write. But I will record these things here sometime in future.
We were again in Jaipur. This was my third visit to Jaipur in last three months. some people did asked me that what is attraction in Jaipur and I am telling you now there is no attraction in Jaipur. Spent four boring days in Jaipur, saw most chaotic mismanaged Elephant Festival. it was so chaotic that one of our friends wife left the place earlier than us by saying that I don't feel safe here. Peoples were running everywhere around elephants. Elephants came from Amber at 1230 hrs did not had any water to drink or a shady place to stand till sun went down. They were not allowed to spray their saliva on their body to cool down because that might have smudged the painting. People who came early and taken the seat their view was blocked by the people who came late and local management allowed them to do so happily. Kay commented that she wont go again in fact she was ready to leave even before the show started. Everyone was after a photo to destroy the photo of others. I could not see a single elephant without a person with camera standing next to it. There is nothing much for us to see in Jaipur. Albert Museum was interesting unfortunately zoo was closed on Tuesday.
We decided to visit Kheechan again. One of our guest Mrs Renate Seidi asked Kay if she can join us for kheechan. I hesitated to tell her initially that we dont look for luxury on our visits simply we cant afford and second thing is that Kheechan has nothing to offer except Demoiselle Crane.
She joined us from Jaipur. The person to whom I asked to arrange the accommodation for us booked us in such a shabby place that Kay and me couldn't sleep. Renate said she slept well. I decided that very minute that on way back we will look for accommodation ourselves.
Next morning we went to a place near Jodhpur to see the Chinkara. I had been there before but that day light was not brilliant so another visit was necessary. Kay and Renate liked the place very much and seeing Chinkara, Blue Bull and Peacock from that close quarter was a bliss.
After chinkara's we decided to visit the Endurance place to meet Philippa. She was there keeping the timing of Endurance horses.
By the time we reach Kheechan it was time to spread the food grain for Cranes. They put about thousand kilograms of food grain per day for cranes. About 7 to 8 thousand Cranes comes to feed. Kay and another German couple helped the staff in spreading the food grain. One boy said he was watching India SA match played at Gwalior. I also wanted to see that inning but missed. Later on someone told me that Sachin played 50 overs not out on 204 without a runner. Great What a record. Who will break it. Chris Gayle Sehwag are the two names who can do this but when time will tell us.
We saw Cranes at waterhole but couldn't see any at their roosting grounds. They roost in salt pan area of about 50 sq km. Difficult to be at the right spot at right time and sometimes they don't land after seeing the human beings on their landing ground.
We all spent a night in a cosy little room. We were ready before sunrise to see the birds. It is an amazing sight of seeing flocks and flocks of Cranes landing on Sand dunes. Than they just walk towards Chugga Ghar and jump or u can say little hoping flight to cross the fence of Chugga Ghar. We could count more than thousand birds at once inside the chugga ghar. Within two to three hours time every crane in the vicinity visits Chugga Ghar for feed. They rest on sand dunes after feed. By this time light becomes too harsh for photography.
We left at mid day had lunch on way and reached Jodhpur before dark. I checked Rajasthan Tourism hotel just to check their standard. Staff behaviour was as expected, lazy - careless. Two rooms were shown to us. Both were smelly with dirty shabby curtains. We stayed in Pan Haveli. Nice place to stay, very cheap for its value. Few things goes against the location that i will write on tripadvisor.com but the whole Jodhpur is that dirty for that matter.
Train journey's were as usual. Mobile phones ringing till midnight, people throwing rubbish and food leftovers under the seat and then complain about mice and cockroaches in the train, kids screaming for no symbolic reason except they are tired and parents taking no notice of them annoys fellow passengers. In our journey from Jaipur to Jodhpur one 5 yr old boy was making more noise than rest of the compartment together.
That is India! my dear.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tigers.

This is only to record that a bait was given to Lakshmi on 3rd Feb according to Guides memorandum dtd 06/02/10 to Lakshmi but later on she was seen hunting Spotted Deer in river on 14th Feb. Means physically she is all right. Guides were on strike from 11th Feb and they won on 13th Feb.

According to their press release Field Director came to listen to their grieveances on 12 Feb night and at 11.45 PM he agreed to take necesaary action on their demands.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Cattle Lifting in Tala village.

Hariom gave us the news yesterday about Tiger pug marks in Gitanjali Hotel on High Street of Tala village. Quickly I was there in minutes to photograph the pug marks. After reaching there staff told me the story that how they saw her moving in the compound and all, hard to believe but they were telling everyone what has happened in the night. They told me that later this tigress killed Raju's cow. Raju lives behind the school building. This tigress came out of Gitanjali and walked towards his house through pugdundee near hospital. He keeps his cow in his Veranda. Tiger took it from there and killed it 15 ft away.
By the time I reached cow was taken away by the forest department to give it to its new owner.
This morning Ganesh gave us the news that another cow is being killed in Gitanjali. Again we were there and this time we saw all the pug marks and cow too. I think cow was killed very late in the morning because a very small portion from the rump was eaten. She didn't had much chance to eat it. We heard dogs barking at 0515-0530 from the same direction and I said to Kay that looks like Tiger was again in the village.
Which Tiger it can be!
If it is Lakshmi, tigress from Chorbehra then she has all the right to come and look for prey.
She has very poor territory. She has less than two km long 600 mtrs wide strip of forest that is fenced on one side and otherside is hill. She has two dominant females neighbouring her territory so she cant flex her muscles. Prey base is decreasing day by day in her territory due to several reasons. Her territory is being divided by fence which she crosses by leaping over on it and probably by that, hurt her one hind leg. She has little trouble in walking since last 18 months but otherwise perfect.
There is no possibility of any other tiger to visit the village because if it is so than this other Tiger should show his / her presence in the jungle.
What is going to happen!
Will she be sent to Zoo!
Why? She is not guilty of any thing.
She has the same right to find his prey as the villagers have to find the firewood in the jungle.
If ever this thought takes place in the minds of forest deptt officials easiest solution is to remove the chainlink fencing from the main road and give her freedom back for her survival.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Kheechan




Kheechan is a village in Jodhpur district of Rajasthan where Demoiselle Crane comes in winter. I saw photographs of this place and since last few years it was on my wishlist . One morning Sunil and I drove to Kheechan. We had no ideas about their feeding place or anything but the moment you reach kheechan one can see the flocks flying in to one direction from all the side. We just followed them and reached to a place where more than a thousand birds were feeding in the compound. Someone from a nearby house asked us to come on his house roof for better view. What a view. I was completelty mesmerised.
Later on I saw thousands of birds landing on sand dunes and getting disturbed by people who uses these sand dunes as open toilet grounds.
Sevaram is trying to provide them a safer ground to live in Kheechan but without any monitoring help from from anyone. He is awarded for his work but as usual as it happens that awards are given to recognise the people and their work but not to support them in future .
He told me that he needs financial support to buy a vehicle to monitor these birds in the night. Presently he hires auto rickshaw to visit salt pan where these birds roost in the night.

Nagaur

I am hooked to Horse Photography or in other words I am spreading my wings in Photography.
After Dundlod Endurance I decided to attend most of the cattle fairs in Rajasthan, only if my pocket allows me.
I checked Nagaur for hotels but found none on Internet so I took the help of Sunil Kapoor in Jodhpur. He asked someone else to book a hotel for me in Nagaur. I reached there on 23rd and immediately I visited the fair. Attendance of people and animals in Nagaur fair this year was poor due to the local body election taking place at the same time. I found Nagaur fair very interesting for various reasons. Rajasthan Tourism Hotel is not an alternate to stay there. They may improve but I did not found that place "perfect for a peaceful stay". Shree Aditya Hotel where I stayed is also on main highway but back side room are more peaceful than front one.

Rusty Spotted Cat

Few years back Kay saw a cat sitting in our garden and she thought that this looks different than others so she checked it immediately with book and claimed that it is none other than Rusty Spotted Cat. I never saw this cat here in Bandhavgarh so I was not able to comment but she was very much sure about her sighting. This year someone photographed a cat in the park and put that photo on Internet labeling Rusty Spotted Cat. Yes it is and this sighting confirms that the cat Kay saw in our garden was also the Rusty Spotted Cat. So they are surviving here secretly. Yesterday I was in the jungle ans saw a dead cat near the road in the park. But due to the present scenario and the attitude of govt officials guide refused to check it properly. She was lying up-side down lower half portion of body was eaten but tail and upper half of the body was intact. I asked him to turn it over but he said time is gone no fun in checking these things anymore. Some naturalist from some other lodge was claiming it is a rabbit. (Good luck to the tourists with him)
So a new mammal for the Park. Rusty Spotted Cat.