Saturday, February 22, 2014


I was never agreed with Gaur trans location here in Bandhavgarh and will never buy any argument by anyone on this subject. I have my firm belief that Bandhavgarh has too young forest for Gaur, it does not have that kind of undergrowth that's needed for Gaur to browse. Many people in field still don't agree with this trans location but in our bureaucratic system their voices are never heard or they are never allowed to put their opinion.  
Last year a retired PCCF and CWLW of M.P. saw them feeding on Ghiriya / Bhirra / Chloroxylon swietenia.
He was shocked and surprised so much that he brought a branch of this tree to confirm his doubt on identity of this tree.
On numerous occasions when we saw Gaur we always saw them in search of food on trees. Hardly ever I saw them feeding on ground cover.
Anyway it's all done now so there is no need to moan any longer.
Out of a herd of 11 Gaur we saw 8 of them together with Bull. they were all busy munching Sal leaves here and there. An young female was cleaned by an older female. At times they both were cleaning each other but it was difficult to photograph. Good behavior seen but no photo. We saw Bull sitting chewing his cud.
There were few nice portraits. One of them may go in a book next year.
Some times general public don't understand the logic presented by Scientists. Such as the case here. If you see these adult Gaur, you will see their tip of the horns sawed off. 

Tourism Tool

This is one of the best example why Tourism should be allowed in all the areas of the park and every road available should be open to the Tourism.
I can state here one incident. Once in one of the meetings I asked Field Director that all the ranges should be open for Tourism. His instant reply was, why you want to go there I always see cattle and villagers there. I said Good let people pay and see the cattle and soon people and cattle will stop and we will start seeing wildlife there. This is when Magadhi Khitauli and Panpatha were opened for Tourism without any route system.
Magadhi and Khitauli became very popular and within two season we started seeing more wildlife and less cattle. Tourism brought the news of a Tigress with her three cubs in Khitauli Marjadgarh and a Tigress in Damdama. 
In my last three game drives I did not had much to show or write here but this morning although there were no Tigers but Gaur kept us busy for some time. And we were happy with our morning drive.
When we reached to Kitkiya, we saw that a Tendu tree is being cut and left on the road. This happened this morning. Some villager entered the park and cut this tree right next to the road on A route and while he was still in process of cutting it in a Balli (Log used in House building ) size some Tourist vehicle came and he ran away by leaving the log behind..

Majority of lodge owners or Tourists don't like going on A route because it runs along the park boundary for few kilometers and you dont see much in this stretch. I say this as a contribution of Tourists towards the park they visit. This is one of the best patrolling effort and very effective patrolling. I don't know why no one could convince the Supreme Court. Last year villagers were seen by tourist carrying a wild boar kill in Bhitri area, again on A route. 
This year my guests saw women carrying firewood from the park and leaping over the fence but by the time they reached the spot they already jumped the fence. When Guide and Driver told them that one day a Tiger will have you, they just laughed. Here are few pictures from that day 16th Feb 2014.

Minimum 5-7 villages on eastern side depends on park for firewood and for their other domestic needs from the forest. One can see footpaths everywhere on A route. Most of the labour that is engaged for patrolling in the park just walk on road and that too at the time when Tourist vehicles are already patrolling the park. This is the one reason why tourist vehicles should be allowed in the park at the time of dawn and dusk to control the illegal movement of villagers in side the park. Sorry to say this that Tourism industry always fight for timings of the park, things get decided at top level but at ground level it never materializes. In hindi we call it Fir Dhaank ke teen paant.
One Field Director allowed Villagers to use Lakhumar meadow for agricultural use. I immediately objected on this. My argument was that you don't have the authority to supersede the law.
Of course he didn't like this but because many other officers present and Retired like Mr J J Dutta agreed with my point he has to withdraw his order or asked the villagers to leave, I don't know, but animals got their land back. At the same time a person built the house right next to park boundary in Damna village. This house proves that wildlife doesn't affects crops as much as it's cried by the villagers. This house thrived in last ten years even after sharing their fence with the park.
Since last few days we could see a Loudspeaker on top of the roof of this house blaring music all the time and today I saw them throwing rubbish over the fence in park.
This must be stopped.


Friday, February 21, 2014

Fire line

Fire line is a tricky business in forest now. People have lost the idea of using Fire Line as a tool in Wildlife management.I still remember when all the forest staff in Kanha was asked to sit on ground in front of Kisli Rest House and Mr H S Panwar taught them the A B C D of Wildlife. Fire Line was one of the topic in that. Due to my profession, many times I had access in this kind of meetings. Nagpure, Tripathi, Choubey, Tiwari and Gulab Singh were few people who were Forester at that time and key figure in the field. In fact in those days (1978-84) I was posted in Kisli and I know for sure that in Kisli Sh B.R.Nagpure, Sh Budhailal Gope and Late Sh Ramsingh Khushram aka Kakka were the key persons in field. By mid October fire lines were cut and burnt. Fire lines were wide and long. Even on road side they were 8-10 feet wide.
Similar practice were adopted in Bandhavgarh too but only during those days when staff from Kanha was transferred here. Mr Hasan and Mr R.C Sharma as Director, Mr Ashutosh Dubey as Ranger  did lots of work here but that's an old story. 
Fire line produces new shoot for herbivores and when one meadow was burnt in previous year then next year it was divided by long and wide fire lines. Fire lines becomes a favorite spot for herbivores. Few years back when Chakradhara and Rajbehra meadow were divided by wide and long Fire lines herbivore and carnivore both enjoyed them.
Now we are seeing these fire lines being cut and burnt in the park.
It is an activity for the name sake that needs to be fulfilled. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Can Tiger see ultraviolet.

Here is an article on this subject.
This has raised another question. Can Tiger see ultraviolet? I have to discuss this issue with some Vet friends in UK and States who may have some answer to this question.
Other question that was always bugging us was that why female Tigers produce more male in their first litters.
One of our scientist friend told us that a male would like to produce more males in his first few litters so he could get rid of them while he still young and strong and in later stages only the strongest gene will survive.
We have still not seen any effects of inbreeding in Tigers although they breed in same family that we have seen in Bandhavgarh.
If any one has any other record of this please mention.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Young Tigers in Tala zone of Bandhavgarh.

All the trouble what Shashi / Bamera facing now is due to few young tigers which are about 33 months old. Their hormones are kicking and Shashi doesn't wants them in his territory but at this age he is not strong enough to fight two tigers at once. These two male cubs W1 W2 are sired by him. W code comes from their mother Wakeeta.
I am using my photographs to identify these Tigers. Shashi aka Bamera was born in Chakradhara and he left his mothers home only when he was at the age of three and half years old. He stayed this late due to that chain link fencing that was put around her mothers territory, a kilometer left of the forest rest house and on other side going all the way up to Wakeeta's territory to Damna village and beyond.
This was the worst thing to happen for Tigers in Chakradhara meadow because Pyari had four cubs and they were forced to live in her territory for extra 20 months. This meant a complete age of young generation was spent by them in Chakradhara meadow. These four cubs diminished the prey base in their mother's territory and forced her to push herself in Lakshmi's territory for her survival.
This was a very tricky time where two Tigresses were striving for  survival but they never had any actual physical fight. Thie condition of low prey base in their area forced them to delay their next litter.
The difference between Pyari's two litters was about three and half years and so was Lakshmi's.
It's a proven fact that cat's don't get pregnant if they find that they will not be able to support their litter or if there is a male conflict in their territory.  This was the time when Shashi aka Bamera came back to his motherland at the age of 5 + years.

One of Shashi's sibling's found the place for her (P13) survival in Bhitri and often she was visiting her mother Pyari and Lakshmi's territory. She was sexually matured but because of a poor territory and conflict  
with two males (Shashi her brother and B2 her father) forced her not to get pregnant.
Her brother Shashi aka Bamera was visiting her territory but never mated with her.
Siblings don't mate but father do mate with their own daughter and son mate with their mother.
Both cases are recorded in Bandhavgarh.  
Later she (P13) was shifted from here to Panna. Other three cubs two male (P10,P11)and a female (P12) moved towards Bamera village in Panpatha sanctuary.
Why towards Bamera? 
Because that was the safest area they found to be in and the Chain link fencing was open at the end of Siddhbaba on main road towards Umariya from where they could go out and come in without any interference.
Tigers need to visit an area many times before they finally choose to shift. In normal condition they do this at the age of 22 months +. Some mothers try to dump their litter by making a kill far far away from their territory and slip away quietly leaving them on kill.
A tigress here use to make several kills for the cubs. Same behaviour is noticed in domestic and other cats. (Paul Leyhausen)
Tigers do go out to look for food by leaping over the fence but that's not their favorite choice. We all know that Lakshmi got her leg struck in fence and then she limped for rest of her life.
And this does not mean that fence height should be increased to 16 feet to stop the Tigers.
We don't want to make National Parks like a zoo where animals are kept without giving them a chance to find their home by their own efforts. Fencing is already diminishing the possibilities of providing them open corridor to spread out in other areas of thin density which was one of the prime objects of creating National Parks ans Sanctuaries.
  When Shashi came back to his homeland his father B2 was a dominant male and his mother Pyari was raising her last litter. 4 Tigers were surviving in a very small territory where their father B2 was always an unexpected guest to share their meal. One day we saw Shashi aka Bamera conflicting with his mother Pyari and he slapped her so hard on the face that she could not get up for few seconds. He snarled at her, she meowed and finally left the area with her three cubs. She survived around Dhobha village mainly on cattle kill.
Now Chakradhara was empty of a female. Lakshmi's territory was so poor that often her cubs use to get starved for a week or more. Two daugters of Durga in Rajbehra were flexing their muscles. Their mother had already declared them unwanted in their homeland. Jaya overpowered Vijaya and pushed her towards Chakradhara.
Aha place is empty.
She started living their with hardly any prey. Once pushed and defeated by her own sister, gave her the experience of fight at early age. She knew what victory means, she saw that with her own sister who owns the best territory now and started pushing herself more further down in Lakshmi's territory. 
Lakshmi was a beautiful tigress. The most beautiful Tigress Bandhavgarh saw after Sita.
 Lakshmi defended her territory well but her disability of standing on her hind legs during fight made her a weak competitor. In those days Lakshmi was stall fed and when Vijaya came to know this she started visiting that area more often for a quick meal. Vijaya was moving more further in in Laksmi's territory. By now they had several fights. Vijaya almost lost her life once but survived by having an injury on face and lost eye muscles.
We presume that one day Vijaya surprised Lakshmi and her disability of getting on her hind legs gave Vijaya an upper hand.That was the last day of Lakshmi. At this time she was raising her two cubs who were about 17 months old.
These two cubs use to starve for a week or more. We think that in this situation these cubs must have been chasing every moving object that they can find. In a very similar case three cubs of Lakshmi's last litter female, were penned in Bandhavgarh. One died, other one released and one cub from that litter is still in Bahera enclosure. Thanks god that these two cubs of Lakshmi didn't go in enclosure. Vijaya knew their presence so she started visiting their area and pushed them further away on other side of main road. Although no one saw any confrontation between Vijaya and Lakshmi's cubs. Probably they themselves were avoiding Vijaya. At 17 months of age their first kill was of a Porcupine and probably with their joint effort their next kill was of a Bluebull. This proved that they could survive without external help and they formed their territory in Khitauli range but often used a water hole in Tala range.  

Last year it was said that this cub is fighting with Vijaya / Kankati's cub but the male Tiger photographed by Kim Sullivan does not match with this Lakshmi's cub.
A cub that was found dead on 4th July 2013 behind Tala rest House was said to be the male cub of Vijaya / Kankati. (Staff confirmed me). I was not here in those days so I dont have any photograph to match the stripes of that cub with any other Tiger. This year on 23rd, 24th and 25th January one of our guest saw a Young male Tiger in Hardiya area and when showed us the picture we were confused because his stripes did not match with any living Tiger in Bandhavgarh but did with that which was supposed to be dead on 4th July. 
Here is a picture taken by me on Dec 2012 in Chakradhara meadow when he was moving with his other sibling and mother.
This picture below is taken on 24th jan 14 in Hardiya area when this cub was crossing the road.
 You can see that these both the pictures are of a male Tiger and by matching the stripes on his left flank we found they both are same Tiger. His presence is well tolerated by dominant male Shashi/ Bamera only because he has not shown any sign of threat to him. 
By now in January 14 Vijaya's female cub, who is supposed to be living on fort plateau is also about 27 months old and sexually matured.
She should be looking for mate?
Why is she never seen in Chakradhara meadow by any tourist or anyone?
Only time will tell us the answers of all these questions. Here is a picture of this female cub of Vijaya / Kankati.
Shashi is having tough time in his territory. Last year he got badly injured in a fight with this new intruder Tiger in Jamuniya and probably that shattered his confidence. He was hiding for weeks,licking his wounds . 
He pushed his father out and now history is repeating itself. His two cubs from Wakeeta are at such an age where they are high on testosterone's and posing a threat for him. On few occasions we saw Shashi chasing them away but when both are together Shashi finds himself on the weaker side.
These two male cubs of Wakeeta / Banbehi female are still roaming in their parents territory and occasionally in of Tulsi's.
I saw one of them few days back and he looked hungry. Certainly they are not able to share the meal with their parents.
At this age when they are high on testosterone's, frustration makes them more aggressive and presumably one of them killed the Wakeeta's cub few days back.  
Now the question is that if we don't recognize tiger's individually than is it possible for anybody to obtain this kind of information? 
When people read the research paper of Mr Clifford Rice on Nilgiri Tahr they wonder that how accurate an information he has produced. People know very little about his technique now. He identified each and every animal individually. His method may be questionable but not his work.
So what we want to do with the Tigers?
Shall we recognize them only with their sex? and be happy with numbers?
When B2 was found out of the park he was recognized as a young Tiger of about 2-3 yrs of age. Whole staff could not identify him properly until we saw and gave them the photographs to match. 
Similarly the Mahavats and some other people feel that Shashi / Bamera was born in Bamera and he is 13 yrs old.
In India every park needs to do what Ranthambhore has done i.e.keep the photographic record.
If you try to recognize them by code nos then in a similar manner it's easier to recognize them by name.
See the example of Daddy, Banka, Charger, B2, Sita and Bachchi in Bandhavgarh and Machhli, Noor Sultan etc etc in Ranthambhore.
Since the Tiger Nation has started putting out photographic record now tourists are more curious to know about the fate of the Tiger they saw. Regular visitors always try to see the same Tiger again.
In Rajasthan the then Minister herself was contributing to Tiger Nation and naming the Tigers. There all these names have become very popular and tourists monitor them on day to day basis.
Do readers think that after seeing the popularity of names they can be monitored easily?
Would like to know readers view on this. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Pushpraj, a young Tiger trying to have a territory in his own fathers Kingdom.

Morning was cooler than previous two mornings and sky was mostly clear.  February is always a busy month in parks due to grey weather in Europe. This is the time when everyone, if could afford, would like to go out of Britain or Europe. There was hardly any Tiger sighting since last two days due to rain. Yesterday afternoon when a Tigress was sighted on Rampur road every vehicle, barred one or two, in Tala zone was there to catch a glimpse. She was behind the bushes munching a Sambhar.

We did not see any activity of any Tiger in Chakradhara and Rajbehra meadow so we decided to move on to Banbehi. A herd of Gaur was browsing near Bathan. We followed them for half an hour. Two female with collar were there in this herd.

We were driving slowly on Andhiyari Jhhiriya road when suddenly we saw a Tiger walking along the road. He was not at all concerned with our presence or with Spotted Deer. He was sniffing the ground and tree trunk but did not tried to spray. This shows that he is not comfortable in this area.
Few deer gave alarm calls and this diverted his attention. He tried to stalk them but failed as once the cover is blown away it's blown away for good. Every animal knew his presence now and he knew this well too so at last he decided to keep on moving in the forest.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Bandhavgarh National Park.

Criticizing the park authorities is not my aim but I just wants to put here on record that how our system works now. Orders are passed from top to bottom and by the time it reaches to working staff the whole aim of that work is lost. Person who is controlling the labour has got his own idea of working. See this newly made waterhole this October. Forest guard knows only one language of the earth work that it should be measurable so he put the edges straight upright. Now how the animals will come for a drink is not his headache. Most of the time it happens because of lack of supervision in field.
Similar thing happens at the time of fire line cutting. Fire lines are decreasing in numbers and getting narrower and narrower. Fire line is a very important tool and it should be used widely. 

Shashi aka Bamera was out yesterday and he was out till this afternoon. There is nothing new or wrong for a Tiger to be out of the park but when they make cattle kill constantly then it becomes a worry. 
Whole of this country agreed with that demand that Tiger population should be double by 2020. No one provided any answers of few questions related to this tiger population growth. Do we have enough space to accommodate that many Tiger? Even if we have space do we have enough prey base for these Tigers? Look at the condition of our major National Parks Kanha and Bandhavgarh in M.P. 
Kanha Tiger population is always questionable since last 5-6 years and prey base density in Bandhavgarh is always low. If you dont agree with this point then please tell me that why most of the Tigers in Tala zone does cattle kills regularly? 
This picture was taken yesterday when Shashi killed a cattle in that house last night in village Sarai. Chain link fence has proved useless to stop the Tiger from going out of the park. In my opinion Chain link fence should be removed immediately. It blocks corridor. Govt is spending so much money in protecting the corridor then why we are blocking them from using the corridor. There is a faint chance but it's possible that Tigers can move in to Sanjay National Park naturally through this thin corridor. I just heard that Pench is willing to spare 5000 Spotted Deer. This opportunity should be grabbed by Bandhavgarh. This will solve some problem here. 
Wildlife Protection Act needs to be re written completely. It's written with lots of sentiments. That law hardly gives any chance to do any research work in the field or do some proper habitat management. As far as I know people are very scared of cutting a tree from grassland or doing something else.

Most of the small grassland meadows are taken over by Bamboo or Ghriya / Bhirra / Choroxylon swietenia. Many open places I knew in Bandhavgarh are taken over by these. These should be removed to provide more space to herbivores. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Shashi aka Bamera the dominant male of Bandhavgarh enjoying his freedom.

Shashi is enjoying his life. Somebody mentioned that he is inside the park and making kill but this morning we got the news that he is well outside of the park in village Sarai on a cattle kill sitting in lentil field. Forest department was there to get him back in safety of the park.
 And for this whole operation hats off to park staff.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Wakeeta's cub killed by a Tiger.

Wakeeta has the most poor territory in Tala Range of Bandhavgarh National Park. Only meadow she have is Lakhumar which is of no use for any animal to graze so that doesn't help her to find the prey. She survives mainly on cattle. Often she is reported to be in Matri ji's Bada on a cattle kill. She lost her two cubs in Nov 13 and death of cause was Starvation. When she kills a prey out side of the park she leaps over the fence but her cubs can't leap over so they remain hungry for days. One of the cub was even put in a small enclosure to be fed but he died later.
Cub was killed behind Amanala camp near the fence. When I was looking at my pictures I found that this cub tried to defend himself but he was too young to fight with an adult / sub adult tiger.


Vijya's cub killed by a Tiger in July.

It has become a great mystery. Which tiger was found dead in first week of July behind Forest Rest House in Tala?
In Jan 2014 an young male Tiger was sighted for three days in Hardiya area. After identifying this young male we found this was one of Vijya's male cub. So where was he living for all these days?
Some forest labour did tell us in Nov, Dec and in Jan itself that a male Tiger was seen by them in Chakradhara but because we never got hold of any photos so we could not confirm his identity.
Forest Deptt says and believes that the cub got killed was male and remaining female cub is living at Fort plateau.
If she is living at Fort plateau then some time she should have come down in Chakradhara meadow. By now she is about 28 months old, sexually matured, then why she is not looking for mate? 
Fort plateau alone can not feed a Tiger? There is not enough prey base. Tigers living in Chakradhara do visit Fort plateau for a day or two but comes down regularly. 
There are so many questions on this issue.
It's a minor mistake but it can be corrected. It looks like as forest deptt is not interested in Data records. I am told that now they recognize them as a Tiger. I agree with that too but minimum one should know about the male and female population ratio in the park.
Why Rajasthan Forest Deptt recognize it's each and every Tiger by No's and name? They are using Tourism as a Toll much better than any one else in the country.
Everyone accepts this theory that if you know an animal by name then you follow news about him and becomes more concerned when you don't get any news about him. As it use to happen here with B2 and Charger.
Here is a picture of this Tiger taken on 17th Dec 2012 while he was walking in Chakradhara meadow with his two other siblings and picture in the bottom was taken on 23rd Jan 2014 while he was crossing the road near Hardiya.
Anyway. This Tiger is well alive and kicking for his survival in his fathers territory where his two other cousins are also putting pressure on his father. Poor Shashi / Bamera is getting injured here and there by these youngsters. They are too many for him to fight.  


Second visit to our place of Mr Peter Th Mann.

Mr Peter visited Bandhavgarh last year with Nature Images Tour and stayed a week longer. At that time only he decided to visit the park again in 2014 so he was again with us for a week in January.
Sightings were poor in Jan due to several reasons. Apart from rain the Ghost Tiger also disturbed Tulsi and her cubs.
One day we found Tulsi and her cubs sitting out side of park boundary. Still don't know why these chain link fencing are put because they do not serve any purpose. If they are there to stop cattle from coming in then Tigers goes out and kill cattle. Man leap over the fence to take bamboo and Timber for their need. Many pugdandee's (Human trail) can be seen in and around Bhitri. So practically they don't serve any purpose. This picture of Tulsi and her cubs proves it. That day they killed a cow and a buffalo.

Later on next day when they were feeding on cattle, that was dragged in by the forest deptt, 4 labour walked in literally to see the tigers. Everybody was thinking, What is this happening in presence of tourist vehicles. Where we are? Is this a National Park? But there was no one to answer these questions and tourists left frustrated.
Jaya sighting was good. We were told that she was seen in this area around 4 PM.  We were returning home so we decided to wait for few minutes. No call or any other sign so we started moving and there she was walking towards us.