Monday, December 31, 2012

Three male Tigers electrocuted around Bandhavgarh in Nov Dec a

It is pity that we don't find any proper record of Tigers outside of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve.Tiger which died near Khitauli was actually carrying a cow when he hit the live wire and fell on it. Position of his mouth was still close to cow's neck, His face,belly and hind portion were completely burnt. In my opinion it was a simple accident. Tiger was male.

Second incident happened near Shahdol where poachers laid out the electric trap for Wild Boar and they got the Tiger.
This was also male Tiger.

In a very similar incident another male Tiger was electrocuted near Katni.
This was a very beautiful young male Tiger.
Why all these male Tigers were roaming so far away from the forest? This is the question I am being asked quite a few times in last few weeks. My answer is No they were in perfect jungle. Tiger near Katni was hardly 5-6 km away in crow flight from Katni town. He must have been surviving on cattle and he must had a huge territory. That's why his cattle kills were never reported from one area or he was never treated as menace by villagers.
There are quite a few Tigers reported around Shahdol. That area have good forest and prey base for Tigers include Cattle. 
Male Tiger that died in Khitauli was between two ranges of Bandhavgarh so that must have born and brought up in some part of Bandhavgarh.
What I understood from these three cases is that male are moved out of park area and they are moving far away from surrounding area of park. This shows that hardly any space left for more male Tigers around here.
What ever the case but I don't want to see any more dead Tigers here. Hope 2013 will give us better hope of their survival than this year.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Kabir Panth Pilgrimage in Bandhavgarh India

Wednesday was rightly chosen for this pilgrimage this year. There were much more pilgrims than last year. I have my own doubts on me writing them as pilgrims because Kabir never wanted to start his own sect. I am still not able to get the right figure for today's pilgrims entered the park but in any case they were far more than last year. Last year figure was only below 15 thousand. One thing I could not understood that why this was advertised as Bandhavgarh Yatra by them. 

Today morning Shashi aka Bamera male walked in to Chakradhara meadow and finally found the resting place in Charanganga just after Jamunia junction. He stayed there till 10 AM holding the pilgrimage at Tala entry gate. Forest officers  (Mr Sharma and Mr Mishra)did a remarkable job in controlling the crowd although they had to face quite a few adverse remarks in the process but they never lost their cool.

Guides volunteered their services in controlling the crowd from breaking the bamboo stick and using shortcuts in hills. Last time few people slipped and injured themselves in using the slippery shortcuts.
Best thing happened this year was that whole crowd was stopped near Banyan tree at main entrance near river.

Pilgrimage started at 10 AM and people were stopped entering the park at mid day. People who could not reach Sheshshaiyya by 1300 hours were not allowed to proceed further. At about 1430 they were asked to start their return journey.

Some people have faith that they should have a bath before starting the pilgrimage. Morning was cold. They forced themselves to complete the rituals and some even did not let their underwear get wet. It was the biggest crowd gathering what the Tala village has seen in last few decades. One who could afford were sleeping in hotels with comfort, others found the rooms in village houses and rest spent the night under open sky near fire.

I hope few villagers has got the idea of having a one or two room in their houses for Tourists to gain some extra income. They should start Home Stay type accommodation. 
Forest department has to clear the rubbish in next few days from the park and villagers has to face the stinky smell for a week. Park Director himself was in the park till dark making sure that no one was left behind.     

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Why Lakshmi got killed in Bandhavgarh??

Lakshmi, was the daughter of Pyari from her second litter born in April 2002. She formed her territory next to her mother in a thin long strip of forest from Judwani - Jamunia to Chorbehra - Dhobiakhol - Thauni with some part of Chakradhara meadow. Chakradhara was owned by her mother so they had a very quite understanding about the area they posses. There is no record of any fight between them was ever recorded.
At one time when Pyari and Durga's movement were restricted in to a small area of their territory, Lakshmi claimed a good chunk of forest from their territories.
Lakshmi never had good prey base in her area. Often she use to leap over the fence to look for some easy prey in village area. In one of these outings she got her hind leg caught in fence and pulled the muscle very badly. After this incident she was never able to put her weight on this leg and limped for rest of her life.
Once her mother left the area and a new young tigress came in she started facing more challenge in her territory. By this time she herself was finding it difficult to feed her cubs or feed herself regularly on natural prey. Park authorities knew this fact very well. So they started feeding her on live bait. Tourism drivers knew this fact very well. Sometime when they were under heavy pressure of finding a tiger for their tourists some of them sneak to Judwani to have a quick glimpse of tigers. Often Lakshmi with her cubs was sitting near Judwani pool with a gifted meal.
When this new tigress started exploring the area she found this spot too where she could see Lakshmi enjoying her meals. She must have imagined this area as a very rich in prey base without knowing that all these meals are not earned by Lakshmi but gifted.
She started chasing Lakshmi. 
Most of their encounters took place in Chorbehra. Lakshmi could have come out as winner if she would have had the strength to hold herself for few more minutes on her hind legs. She got a very good grip on the face of this intruder tigress but because she was almost disabled from her one hind leg she may not had the power to hold the fatal grip for long enough to win the battle. Without getting herself injured Lakshmi injured her very badly on the face. One of Lakshmi's right top canine almost punctured her left eye. A big wound near the eye and another canine wound on right nostril made her bleed for months. Luckily no maggots were formed in these two open wounds.
Fierce fighting on few occasions set their rivalry strong. Now this intruder was always looking for Lakshmi. Lakshmi started keeping her cubs away from Judwani Chorbehra area. She found a safe and secluded pool before Thauni near main road Siddhbaba but hunger often brought her back to Judwani for free meal.
On one of these occasions when she came to check the free meal instead she found the intruder on road. She ran towards hill for safety but not for long. She was attacked from the back and that evening the intruder win the battle for good.
Cannibalism is reported in tigers. Most of Lakshmi's body was eaten by this intruder. Domestic cats eat their dead babies or first time mother cat often eats their babies in confusion or pain. A small piece of Lakshmi's hind leg portion ascertain her identity.
Intruder is now known as Vijaya means Victorious.   



Friday, December 21, 2012

Vijya's cubs

Our first sighting of Vijya's cubs was on 17th December.
Some tourists saw them in the morning around Badi Gufa. As usual we entered the park late. We were not in a hurry so we were literally going very slow. We checked Gopalpur where not a single Lapwing was sighted. We did not met any other jeep in the park so far. Jungle looked very quite. No alarm call of any sort. It was Kay who called first Tiger, and there we saw a cub running crossing the road about 200 meters away from us. 

When we stopped she suddenly said there is another one drinking. Now we had enough time to park at appropriate place. The cub who ran away was V2 and his other sibling V1 was busy drinking from a smallest dirty puddle. When we checked this puddle there was hardly a liter water was left. He drank for about solid ten minutes then stroll back slowly in the forest to join his other siblings.

Two days later we were visiting Magadhi zone when Premlal Guide brought some pictures of these cubs to be uploaded on Tiger Nation. We had another entry ticket for Tala zone for 21st Dec morning As per our allocated route we were suppose to reach Sheshshaiyya in the last lag of our route. Jeeps met us at Rampur hill told us the story of another good sighting of these cubs at Sheshshaiyya. Another jeep at Ganesh Pahadi showed us the spot at Sheshshaiyya. 

We found these cubs walking on hill slope. V2 who ran away on other day was playing with his sister today.

They were sitting very close to the road so other jeeps a head of us on road had better view of these cubs playing.
At last word reached to the forest department about these cubs near the road so Rapid Action Vehicle came for their rescue?? 


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tiger electrocuted in Majhgawan Shahdol.

A tiger was electrocuted by few young man in Majhgawan forest near Shahdol. They never intended to kill a Tiger. They just laid an electric trap for wild boar or some deer. They put a live wire about more than 200 meter long on ground connected to 11 KV line. When they heard some short circuit noise they thought they got the wild boar. When they saw their bounty they were shocked and scared. They collected the wire and rolled him over in near by  nallah. Later in the day they discussed the matter with other close associates who happen to be their relatives. Some one suggested them about the money they can fetch by selling the skin so next night they came back again to skin it. 
Crows and vultures found the carcass. Most of the organs and intestine were eaten by them. Blue bottle and other flies laid their eggs so maggots started eating the flesh.
This Tiger has a very different stripe pattern than what we see in Bandhavgarh. Majority of Tiger population in Bandhavgarh is from Sita's bloodline and this tiger is different. This is a good news as far as the genetics are concerned. This different bloodline will be very helpful in future if they mix up with Sita's bloodline. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Gautam, The Dominant Male Elephant of Bandhavgarh

Nayar Mahavat along with his family, Kuttappan and Gautam elephant reached Itarsi on 1st August 1971. Nayar Chachi remembers the day too. It was sunday when we reached Itarsi Hoshangabad and then to Bori. Kuttappan was a young man and so the Gautam. Kuttappan thinks "he must be around 18 yrs of age when we reached Bori." By this he is around 60 yrs of age. 
Nayar was the mahavat and Kuttappan as chara cutter when Gautam reached Bori in August 1971. Nayar Chachi says Gautam still listens to me. I was his chara cutter. I cooked his food and fed him. Chara cutter use to just bring him from the forest put the hauda and give him a nice scrubby bath in river. Chachi dont like today's chara cutter. " They have spoiled my elephant. Look at his tusk?? Now they looks yellow. No one cleans the mud from his tows or between from his tusk and lip. He looks dirty. He should be given a proper scrub with stone at the time of bath. Yes Gautam does not looks fit to his age. 

Kuttappan became the Mahavat on Gautam after Nayar's death. This was a great loss for Gautam because now he lost the soft touch of his caretaker Chachi. Chachi was a non paid chara cutter of Gautam. She was never paid any money but because that was the elephant her husband use to ride she took care of him. 
When I was posted in White Tiger I remember Chachi coming up to the fence to call Gautam for food. Gautam use to run hobbling. I saw Gautam obeying all sort of verbal commands. Nayar use to tackle him well. Gautam use to almost stand on his hind legs to reach top of the tree.
Lata, Tara, Toofan and Anarkali consist his harem. He was the sole male here as Shivaji was the young male in Kanha. Dev Bahadur was getting old and so it's Mahavat Imamuddin. This made Shivaji to become a dominant male there.
First elephant calf from captive elephants in M.P. National Parks was born in Bandhavgarh in year 1983. Gautam sired it. In fact no one had any clue about the pregnancy. Female was working till last evening. When chara cutters went to bring the elephants back in the morning they found an extra body there. Chara cutter ran straight to inform Tala Ranger (Late Ashutosh Dubey) with this extra ordinary news. We saw Bandhavgaj suckling surrounded by all the females.
Bandhavgaj did not survive long. He died of poor medication. Badhaini, Sundargaj, Vanraj, Siddhnath, Sudarshini and Ashtam are the few elephants that were born here. Gautam sire them all. 
Gautam lived with Nayar family for good twenty years of his life. He became use to of TLC rendered by Chachi. Then suddenly he was given to Kuttappan. 
Kuttappan was good but all other jobs that were done by Chachi were missing from Gautam's life. Gautam lost his old master.
One day Gautam was ferrying tourists in a Tiger show. Suddenly Kuttappan dropped his Ankush. He got off to collect the Ankush but now Gautam refused to get him climb back on his back.
Kuttappan decided to take him back to Bathan camp on foot from Mahaman pool. We thought this could be risky. So Kay and me followed Gautam in our good old Greeny. 
Now when I think about this I feel it as one of my most foolish mistakes.
If Gautam turns on Kuttappan we were not in a position to help him?
And if he turns back on us Kuttappan was not in a position to help us, neither I was in a position to reverse my vehicle that fast.
Some where near Badhaini junction we found Phool Singh coming on Siddh Nath. He put his elephant next to Gautam only then Kuttappan could jump on his elephant.
Gautam is a very short tempered male. I think they all are.
Once I saw Kuttappan riding Siddh Nath in Chorbehra. While I was talking to Kuttappan about tiger presence in the area, Siddhnath sniffed my both hands, found empty, lost his temper and by the time I or Kuttappan could think off what he is doing he threw me over the Gypsy.
I was put on the back seat of Gypsy, almost unconscious.
Later on doctors found four fractured ribs. Those few months were very painful. But I learned my lesson to never feed an elephant with tit bits. Even if you want to feed him then let the mahavat feed him.
Every time Sundargaj comes close to any jeep his trunk starts exploring all the bags. Some tourists lost their lens and once I lost a bean bag.
Gautam is still a dominant male here even in the presence of Sundargaj and Vanraj. Last month one night he hobbled all the way from Amanallah to Charanganga to hit Indrajeet. 
Gautam is in his prime age. At present he is in Mast. Few days back he chased jeeps at the gate. Ultimately jeeps has to enter the park from forest rest house. Yesterday afternoon we saw him in Bhitri. He is in mast, and wants to be left in the company of elephants he likes. 

Now he has gone very slow. It doesn't mean that he has become old? No, it's the mahavat who has made him lethargic. Now they use him in training the other elephant like this wild elephant. who is chained with his hind legs to follow him in the jungle.

Gautam is another elephant with character. 
We wish him a good life with lots of TLC, which is rare to find in Mahavats world now.  

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A lot is being said about this Tiger who died in Khitauli range.
What I could make out from that scene and from those two dead bodies is that this male Tiger killed the cow some where close to road or for him that place was not peaceful enough to eat the meal so he was dragging this cow to a safer place and in the process he hit the live wire with 11 Thousand volt current. This shock was good enough to put him down instantly so his body fell on wire. He could not change his position or there is no sign of struggle. He died instantly. His face was burnt instantly and when he fell on wire his stomach and hind portion must have burnt in quite some time. In my photograph one can see the burnt stumps of his ribs. Every single organ in his stomach was burnt. I showed his burnt malehood to Mr Khare from WPSI and Mr Pushpendra Dwivedi, Journalist from Umaria. we are sure that it was a male Tiger. We tried to identify him but failed. In our opinion he was a male tiger that was born in Khitauli Magadhi area in last 8-10 years. 
No one raised any question about the loose hanging electric wire??
Both the animals body were laying there since more than 36 hours as we could see the similar size maggots on both.
A tragic end to a beautiful Tiger and poor farmer lost the compensation money for his cattle.