Saturday, November 24, 2012

Indrajeet died day before yesterday.

In last one month every time I entered the park I saw poor Indrajeet tied to a tree near Charanganga. He looks sad, slow in his actions and restless. On 22nd afternoon I saw whole team of forest officials around him. Presence of Water tanker raised few questions in my mind. What is happening?? Are they tranquilizing him and needs water to keep him cool? Gypsy has a ladder and some pipe in it.
I asked vet and he said no he is constipated so we are treating him.
My reply was even if you leave him alone I think he will die in a month or fortnight. I see him loosing weight constantly since last one month.
Conversation ends.
Yesterday morning at 0500 AM,  Hariom, my younger brother told me that Indrajeet is dead.
All those memories of seeing all those Tigers from Indrajeets back came in my mind. best was with gordon 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

T.B Infested deer in Bandhavgarh

This is not the first time when I have photographed deer infested with T.B. in Bandhavgarh. I have seen Sambhar, Spotted deer, Wild Boar and Barking Deer in similar condition.
Don't want to write much about this because it will be just a repeat of my some other blog.
This picture was taken near Muram Pit on Rajbehra road near Badhaini hill. More than a mile away from entrance gate in crow flight.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Forest department of M.P. bought Indrajeet from Sonpur animal fair. His purchase is recorded on some documentary. When he reached Kanha National Park he was limping with one of his hind leg. He was kept in Kisli under Sabir Mahavat. Who traied him well. My friend Ramchandran's, who was Range officer Kisli at that time, son Vinod use to call him langdi haathi. Then Vinod was about two or three yrs old. At that age he became expert in changing the jeep gear while I drive. 
Indrajeet spent few years in Kisli and I think that was the best time of his life. In late 80's he was sent to Bandhavgarh. None of the good Mahavat's were free to take charge of him so he was given to some new characutters. He never liked them. He lost his Master who use to love him and take him for bath in river. I saw him obeying each and every verbal command in those days. Sabir and his chara cutter never even used a stick to trained him. And here in Bandhavgarh, Chara cutter used spear to make him obey the command. I have seen poor Indrajeet lying in river and spear put right next to his head in sand. He never liked these Mahavat's here. Quite a few times he chased his chara cutter and Mahavat. At one time we were thinking that Sultan will make a very good Mahavat in coming times but suddenly one day he resigned from the job. Sultan was chased by Indrajeet. Then and there he decided that this is not a safe job. Today he works for some lodge.
As I mentioned in my previous blog that after reaching here he lost his Master, family, friends, status and all that TLC that he became use to in Kanha. Here he was hated by other dominant male elephant. All the females never supported him. He lived here a very frustrated life. Few years back some idiot cut his tusk raw. He was in pain. Imagine the pain with maggots deep in the tusk almost close to his eye. Almost for a year he was tied to a tree and food was thrown to him. Tourists were not allowed to go near him or to that camp. After almost three years still his tusk cavity is filled with some medicine and sealed with plaster of paris. At present he is in Mad or Mast. Now even the Mahavat can't go near him. I am just told that chara cutter still throws Roti towards him. He is tied to a tree in Charanganga.    
I wish an early death to this elephant. I think that is the best for him. He never had a happy life here in Bandhavgarh. Once an elephant was required in Pench so the then Director decided to transfer Indrajeet. Within few months he himself got transferred to Pench. He saw Indrajeet there and sent a report that this is an useless elephant so should be sent back to Bandhavgarh. Poor Indrajeet again landed back in Bandhavgarh.
He literally killed Chanchal Pyari. A tiger Show was going on at Judwani junction on Barua Nala Road. All other females use to prefer Gautam for the job and only Chanchal Pyari never went to Gautam. He tried on her many times but she never allowed him. That day Shuklu was riding on Chanchal Pyari and Mantu on Indrajeet. All the mahavats use to take their elephant away from Indrajeet. Shuklu did the same. But today Indrajeet was thinking different. Tourist were coming back on Indrjeet back after seeing the Tiger, Shuklu was putting Chanchal Pyari next to a jeep to take the next load of tourist for Tiger Show. Suddenly Indrajeet pushed Chanchal Pyari. She tried to control herself from falling over on jeep but she pushed the jeep so badly that that jeep never came back on road again. I was sitting on front seat thinking if I survive I will have to collect some mince meat from back seat. Luckily we all survived but Chanchal Pyari got badly injured internally. Mantu was shocked. He used Ankush to control Indrajeet but he didn't listen to him. Mantu somehow got his tourists off and took Indrajeet back to camp. Chanchal Pyari was in late 40's and died as virgin.
Later he started stroking Badhaini. It was fun to watch him. He use to take so much care of Badhaini that other female elephants became jealous of her. Once Toofaan charged on Badhaini only because Indrajeet gave her some tree bark.
I will write more on this story later. Today Deewali demands more attention then anything else.       

Monday, November 12, 2012


After our one game drive in the park on 8th we had another chance to visit the park with our guests. Somehow I dont like to visit Khitauli or Magadhi so often. As Mr Booby Nowis said Sighting in Magadhi are not photographable. I agree with him. Driver's behaviour in Magadhi is very bad. I dont know what they learned in Driver training or they completely ignores the rules. In next few months vehicle nos will be reduced more then it will be even more calm in the jungle. Now jungle looks same as it was 10 yrs back with ten vehicles, + 5 off course, in the afternoon.
Chakradhara is still not sorted. Remval of Sacred munja or elephant grass is not the solution. As we have seen it in past few years that Chakradhara lost its moisture. So to keep the area moist my suggestion is to have broad and long fire lines in the meadow and this will give the same effect as one gets from periodic burning or uprooting of Elephant grass. Spotted deer numbers has gone down in Chakradhara. It could be because of poor habitat and they had to disburse in forest areas.
Absence of Serpent and Changeable Hawk Eagle also proves that there is something wrong in the meadow. Grasses are too tall and coarse.
Why, all of a sudden, there are so many sightings of Leopard??
Tiger population has not gone down but because Tigers in Chakradhara and Banbehi are basically surviving on cattle so spend long time away from their territory that's why Leopards got a chance to recover/survive. Otherwise Leopards always lived under the pressure of Tiger's. We hear more alarm calls for Leopard than for Tiger.
Sanjay, our Driver, is getting better and better year by year. His sighting of Hare in Chakradhara was great. We all would have missed it. Probably he saw him moving.

But in a similar case Kay's sighting of Sirkeer Malkoha was equally good. All what we could see in the bush was two white spots, under tail of Malkoha.
Somehow there are many Amla/Aonla tree, full of fruits, in the  Jungle. Looks like Ranger has done a good job this year. Villagers didn't got the chance to pick it raw for local market. Monkey's are enjoying Aonla. I have just posted a video of this on youtube and on Tiger Nation.

There were some good Sambhar and monkey sightings but nothing unusual. Vulture numbers has gone down more. If last year they were below 100 then this year they are, looks like, about 50.  So far I have not seen more than three vultures sitting on tree near Bathan. Last year there use to be more than a dozen.
I am still not happy with the guides. Most of them told me that Sheshshaiyya is closed. How it can be?? Sheshshaiyya is a landmark for Bandhavgarh National Park. Yesterday again I was told by guide that Sheshshaiyya is closed then I asked the Director and his reply was "never".
God knows how many tourists in last three weeks has left the park without visiting Vishnu statue.
I am amazed that all the hoteliers are worried only about the vehicle nos in the park but none of them has so far approached to the park authorities about fort visit. Fort is still out of Tourist Zone. Looks like everyone is worried about their business but none cares about the tourists. Present Route system is worst. Half of the roads are closed, putting more pressure on roads, increasing silt. I asked Park authorities about fort visit and it will be start from day after tomorrow.
We had three had game drives without a glimpse or any good sign of a Tiger. Yesterday afternoon when we were hardly a kilometer away from the gate we saw the jeep a head of us reversing and asking us to reverse. Bamera is coming was the only hint Pinku gave. We also reversed. We parked our jeeps at Judwani junction. we knew if he has gone in he may come out on this footpath. Noise of leaves cracking and twigs/branches breaking can be heard from more than 100 meter. First noise of leaf breaking made our head turns to each other like confirming or asking Did you hear it?? I stand up to hear it better. We knew that he is coming but "where" is the question.
I put my camera ready for action focusing on footpath. I knew if he is coming he will appear on this footpath later or sooner. Pinku saw him first or he shouted first. That was enough to put camera's in action. It was 17.15 when we saw him first. Anyone shooting on 800 ISO had very little chance of getting a picture. I was four times than that. He came, walked pass us to show us his bum end.

But no, he wanted to oblige us more so he goes straight to a bamboo bush and start sniffing.This he did only because we did not followed him down the road and gave him a chance to do what he feel like to do. Most of the drivers are Tourist / Photographer don't do that. They just push their vehicle right up to his bum. That's why you see funny ears of a Tiger. One ear facing front and other one at back. At this moment a driver of third jeep wants his vehicle to move for better position. This showed his in-experience in the jungle and greediness of the tourists who were asking him to move. Unfortunately I had to shout to stop him from causing a disturbance to the tiger.

I don't know how I was the only one who was shooting in my jeep Kay said that she couldn't see him when he was sniffing the bush. About a meter horizontal distance can make the difference in the jeep.
He stretched his neck, almost in a straight line to his fore legs. He was very interested or confused with the smell on bamboo leaves. He sniffed for quite a long period. I was expecting him to turn around and spray but he left without spraying the bush.Sighting of few seconds looks like of many minutes.
 When he was walking away towards Judwani we decided to reach gate in time. We had 5 more minutes to stay but in that excitement no one looked at the watch. Only Kay reminded us when she got dust in the eyes.
Next morning we were following his pug marks everywhere in the jungle. His pug marks were seen in Barua nala, Ghorademon, Badi Gufa, Chakradhara and he was literally seen at Banbehi and went towards Madoli camp. Shashi still proving his name.
Indrajeet is in mast or something wrong with him. This elephant had a very miserable life. He was bought from Sonpur in a very early tender age. He spent few years with a very good Mahavat in Kanha. When he developed a good rapport with his master and accepted in the family of local elephants there he was transferred to Bandhavgarh. He lost his love ones. He lost his Master. Came to a place who use to treat him with spears. He lost his dignity and status. Initially he was a discarded member of the elephant family here. Gautam was always the dominant male here. He never let him feel independent soul. At one time he was the most frustrated and temperamental elephant in Bandhavgarh. Badhaini use to comfort him. But before that he tried on Chanchal Pyari. She was virgin never liked the company of any male for that reason. One day Indrajeet pushed her so hard that she fell on a jeep, full of Foreign Tourist and unfortunately I was leading the group, got up but never recovered and died within a month.
Indrajeet looks thinner than Sundargaj or Gautam. I hope he is alright. He is a very good elephant. After Sabir in Kanha he never had a TLC from any other Mahavat here. Most of the Mahavat now are basically characutter or you can grade them below than that. Forest department never looked after their elephants properly either. Mahavats are used as a driver. They never developed a rapport with the animal they are with.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Visit to Forest of Betul area in M.P.

This was a long pending visit since last one year. I reached Betul early in the morning and within hours I was deep in the forest.
I was following the few names mentioned by Late Sh Jamshed Butt in his book but I couldn't find any except Padhar.
I travelled about 200 km in 2 days time and stayed on the bank of Moran river without hearing a single alarm call of any sort.
Most of the area I saw was a young forest. Some of the area were under teak and bamboo plantation. These are one of the best plantations ever I have seen in my life. Here I saw that how villagers are mis using the Forest Act. Now they just makes a tree guard in middle of the forest and through some Mango seeds in it later they erect a temporary hutment in the name of protecting the plants to claim the land for farming later on.
  Only animal sign that I could find along the Moran river were Flying Squirral, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Blue Bull, Jackal, and Hyena. I never thought that wildlife density will be so poor here.
Staying in a small hutment was fun. Never realised that there was no electricity. Had a sound sleep of more than 8 hours and by 0530 in the morning I was out to check the mist.
Butterfly density along Moran river was very good. I saw more than 30 no's of Lemon Pansy within an area of 1000 sq ft feeding on wild flowers. Except Grey Pansy all the other pansy butterflies were seen. Yellow Pansy was lowest in number. Plenty of swifts and Bob but I didn't photograph any. For Swifts and Bob identification one should have open and close wing photograph otherwise even the experts will comments "swiftly can't say which swift is this". 
  Lime butterfly was seen in good numbers roosting in middle of forest. There was no citrus tree around so they must be breeding on some other tree specie in the forest. Other butterfly I was happy to photograph was Painted Lady. She was seen in different sizes means scarcity of larval host plant.
   We saw a sign Kodaroti on NH 59. Instantly I became curious to know about this KODAROTI. It is a village about 4.5 km from main road. At one time this village did not had any irrigation facility and villagers were solely dependent on monsoon rain to grow the crops. Only crop they could grow was Kodo, a kind of rice. They use to cook it as rice and use to make the chapati of it by mixing some wheat flour. I don't understand this. To me it looks completely impossible but I am writing here what I heard. So that is how it got it's name Kodaroti.