Adventure

Adventure is………

'I believe any trip in search of wildlife can be coupled with physical activity and elements of cultural diversity to form a thrilling opportunity '
John H.Eickert

When it comes to adventure, often it means thinking big. To go boldly or travel widely, maybe even placing oneself into a desperate situation, which creates a heart-pounding event. Or it is that ‘once in a lifetime opportunity.’ Some consider adventure a venue for physical test and suffering. These are three examples and I am certain each of you can think of more or maybe have your own definition. I thinkadventure is what happens when you take a chance and go in an unexpected direction, a kind of cognitive stepping out of the norm just for the sake of stepping out of the norm. So, using my definition, adventure can be big or small.

The last time I was in Darjeeling, I had just come down from a trek in the mountains near Kangchendzonga. Odd, but I was the sole traveler staying at a guesthouse named the Pagoda. Though it was not yet monsoon season, it rained. Not that kind and gentle pitter-patter of drops from the sky, but a hard pounding, sting your naked skin downpour. I sat in the lobby of the guesthouse and wondered what to do. I had planned to hang around Darjeeling, trek up Tiger Hill, and then maybe out into the tea plantations. Plans change with the weather.

The lady at the front desk came around and over to me. She offered a suggestion. “Take a taxi to the Everest Museum,” she said. Everest Museum, in Darjeeling? I knew that Tenzing and Sir Edmund had begun their first ascent of that mountain with a trek in from Darjeeling, but a museum. This I had to see. The lady chased a young boy out into the downpour to fetch me a taxi. I stood at the front door feeling sorrow for the boy and hoping he could swim. In time, a taxi pulled round and the boy jumped out. I jumped in. The taxi dropped me at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and Everest Museum. I just had to walk through the zoo to get to the entrance.

The late Tenzing Norgay had headed the museum and he had donated some of the interesting items. There is even a display recounting Everest attempts going back as far as 1857. I did not know there were attempts so long ago. There is mountaineering gear from many generations and attempts. One of the more surprising curiosities is an old powerful telescope given as a gift by none other than Adolf Hitler. I spent much of the day considering all the displays and their meaning. When I went out to go back to my guesthouse, the rain had stopped.

Everything smelled fresh and the path appeared just washed. I walked all the way back to the guesthouse and thanked the lady there for her suggestion. It had been quite an adventure. I went somewhere I hadn’t planned to go, inspiring me to think and see in new ways. Life is an adventure, if nothing at all. Cheers.

Visit http://www.numbum.net or call NumBum Adventurers at 406-777-2228

Answers To Quiz Of The Month

Right Answers to Quiz on Extinction of life forms

This month no one have agiven all right answers, but dinomaniac@rediffmail.com has given 9 right answers.

Right Answer toQuiz on Extinction of life forms

1.James Audubon, a famous illustrator, wrote about seeing a column of birds filling the sky so that the “light of the noonday sun was obscured as if by an eclipse”. In 1914, within 50 years, the last of this bird, ---------------died in captivity in a zoo. This was
  • The Dodo
  • The Passenger Pigeon
  • The pink headed duck

  • 2.There are several obscure species, which have let time and the changing world pass by with little change in their gross anatomy or their habitats. Such animals that have survived beyond their era are termed ..
  • living fossils
  • exceptions to the extinction rule
  • endangered

  • 3.In India we have a living fossil that has persisted over 300 million years. It is called the
  • The rhino
  • The peripatus
  • The horse shoe crab

  • 4.Man became a serious causative factor of extinction only during the last ---------------years of earth history.
  • 500
  • 1000
  • 200

  • 5.The heath hen of North America became extinct by
  • 1731
  • 1931
  • 1831

  • 6.The pink headed duck from India was last seen in the wild in ……
  • 1900
  • 1835
  • 1935

  • 7.The cheetah from India was last seen in the wild in--
  • 1912
  • 1849
  • 1949

  • 8.The flightless great auk of the high northern altitudes, counterpart of the penguins of the Antartic, was slaughtered to extinction by
  • 1944
  • 1844
  • 1744

  • 9.The pygmy hog, the lesser florican, the hangul and the swamp deer face extinction
  • As they share their grassland with domestic cattle
  • As grass and swamp lands are converted into agricultural lands
  • Both the above

  • 10.“You can fence out people but you cannot fence out their effects” Who said this?
  • Valmik Thapar
  • Sunita Narain
  • David Ehrenfield

  • Please try this month quiz on Rhinoceros

    Eco-travel

    Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary

    -Susan Sharma

    The beautiful dancing peacock has been an inspiration to all Indians to aspire for beauty and dignity. On one of my visits to Himachal Pradesh I visited the pheasantry at Sarahan where I saw the other relatives of the peacock-members of the pheasant family. The Himalayan Monal with the stern and clever look and a rainbow on its tail feathers left a lasting impression.

    Both my husband and I are happiest when out in the wilderness and before long we were planning a trip to Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary, in Uttaranchal India, the home of the Himalayan Monal.

    The forests of Kedarnath Sanctuary is the catchment area of Alaknanda River. The forests comprise a Musk Deer Sanctuary and also reserve forests where villages exist, supporting reasonable good forests where one can hear the call of the koklass pheasant and monals early in the morning. Sighting monals is not that easy as these birds are extremely shy and vary of human presence.

    The peaks of Kedarnath which can be reached after a 14km trek transport one to a heightened spiritual experience. It is no wonder that the majority of Indians who trek these mountainous routes or bridle up the bridle path are seeking spiritual fulfillment. The peak “Kedarnath” is believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva.

    We travelled by road, driving from Delhi to Rishikesh on the first day. After halting at Rudraprayag, we proceeded the next day to Chopta via Mandal and Gopeshwar. Once in Chopta, you already soak in the mountains of KedarNath Wildlife Sanctuary.

    This biological reserve of Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary is 975 Square Kilometer in area. It is home to a number of endangered animals such as Musk deer, Himalayan tahr, Serow and Pheasants. The sanctuary is part of the Garhwal Himalayas.

    The vegetation is diverse and most of the forest types are sub-tropical, temperate, sub alpine and alpine. The undulating terrain ranges from about 1700'( 518m) to 22,901'( 6980m).

    From Chopta you can take up the bridle path to Tungnath temple (trek/horse) –about 5 km-and you will flush monal en route.

    Photographs by Shashi and Susan Sharma:

    From top :

    1. Head of Himalayan Monal Pheasant
    2. Vegetation of the Sanctuary
    3. Kedarnath Peaks at Sunset
    4. Garhwal Himalayan Peaks from Chopta
    5. Undulating terrains which are Monal habitat

    News and Views

    News & Views

    News…………

    Wildscapes.net product store is soon going to have some new VCDs from IndianWildlifeClub.com! These are,

    1. Wilderness Nepal :

    The film looks at the wilderness of the Himalayan region with special reference to Nepal .

    While depicting the natural beauty of Nepal , the film also projects the 'community forests' concept in Nepal which has proved a success in maintaining the wetland area of "twenty thousand lakes", a paradise for bird watchers.

    The evolution and extinction of species is looked at in the backdrop of the spectacular natural history event by which the Himalayan mountains were formed sixty million years ago. Digital animation techniques have helped visualize the event.

    Decrease in primary and secondary forest area is posing a question mark on the future of the Bengal tiger and in particular the Asian elephant in Nepal . Elephant migrations do not respect country boundaries. The future of the Asian elephant in India is therefore closely linked with its fate in Nepal .

    2. Seoul -Where Modernity Bows to Tradition:

    The film is a travelogue on Seoul , the capital city of the Republic of Korea . The film is a study of the synthesis of the modern and the traditional that S.Korea has achieved. It depicts the natural beauty of Korea in the backdrop of its violent and tumultuous history. S. Korea comes through as a Society which is truly at peace with its tradition, culture and modernity. The film also brings out parallels between India and Korea , two ancient countries striving to set a high pace of development.

    The film depicts Korea through the ages and has footage on

    • National Museum and Folk Village
    • Bukansan National Park
    • Royal Palaces
    • Incheon Port
    • Modern Seoul City

    3. Living With the Park- Ranthambore NationalPark

    This short film looks at the popular tiger reserve as an integrated universe comprising its animals and people in the adjoining areas. The forest connects the two and neither one can flourish without the other. So is the policy of segregating the park as a preserve for animals alienating the people who lived in harmony with the park for decades, helping the Park? There are no quick answers. The camera shows people around the Park voicing their pride in and reservations about the Park. Is the Park management listening? For in the interest of preservation it seems foolish to ignore the distilled wisdom of people whose lives are in tune with nature.

    And Views…………….

    …poverty came to be defined across the world through a single metric-income poverty- and the solution to poverty was economic growth. The reality, we now realize, is that “standard of living” can actually be quite high in places where GDP per capita is quite low. Bhutan, for example, where people still provide for many of their own needs and produce beautiful art and music, is considered to be one of the poorest countries of the world because its gross domestic product is virtually zero. With GDP as the metric, no distinction is made between homeless beggars who live on the street and the Bhutanese or Ladakhi farmers. In both the case, there may be no income but the life behind the statistics is entirely different.

    In this way, poverty has been used to define whole peoples not according to what they are or what they want to be, but according to what they lack-(income). This, it turns out is development’s fatal flaw. It has systematically failed to recognize the wealth of indigenous resources and alternatives. ….As a consequence, we have committed the better part of 50 years to using one size fit all solutions to what are really complex, diverse and unique problems.

    Traditional societies such as Ladakh have been systematically disrupted by the development process. As peasants, nomads and tribal people have been either lured away or driven from their land to urban slums in search of wage labour, poverty is often the result not the cause.”

    -- Stuart L Hart, Capitalism at the Crossroads

    Poem

    Fading Earth

    By Vinita Agrawal

    flattened forests;
    grandeur on its knees.
    newly-felled trees
    smile valiantly
    like sentinels
    green is so white inside.
    Fading widths



    beheaded mountains
    smoky, reminiscent,
    their aura still croons
    the pied piper’s tune
    of dependability.
    Fading heights

    cringing streams
    trickle;
    bedrocks jut out
    their shadows strut about
    in the introductory sunlight.
    Fading depths



    dishonored zephyr.
    the breeze- a ballerina
    who will never dance again
    pock-marked with fumes
    and poison‘s bad-breath
    she swoons at my feet.
    Fading earth

    Story Of The Month

    Fresh water Tiger- By Shivani Thakur

    - Shivani Thakur

    Dolphins conjure up an image contrary to other mammal species. They have been known to help people in distress. The stories of saving a many from drowning and bringing back to shores are among them. Their intelligence is one of the factors for their use by US marines in wars. Also they are being used for programs designed for disabled people. Their patience with human beings has resulted in success of such programes. Very few people are aware that dolphins are not only found in seas and oceans but also in rivers. In the world there are only four river systems, which have fresh water dolphins. The Ganga River is one of the systems. Platanista gangetica is the name by which it is known. In the local language they are also known as ‘shushuks.’

    These giant mammals survive on fish and planktons. A study conducted in 2004 by Patna University’s R.K.Sinha, - who is also a member of IUCN- puts the sightings of Gangetic dolphins at 473. According to him it is difficult to trace the dolphins in the summer but in winter’s upstream survey, in over 500km stretch from Manihari (bordering West Bengal to Buxar bordering UP, the total sightings reached 777. But, now these mammals have been put under Red List of Threatened Mammals by IUCN. Dolphins are decreasing day by day because of rampant poaching and loss of their habitat. Poisoning of water systems from industrial and agricultural chemicals has resulted in decline of fish as well as planktons, which are the main diet of dolphins. The toxicity of the river has also resulted in decline in their population. Their breeding patterns have been affected.

    The dolphins are also hunted for their meat and oil. The meat usually ends up as an exotic dish for tourists. Since it is found in fresh waters it is consumed as any other local fish. The oil extracted from them is used as liniment, as an aphrodisiac. The oil is also used as bait for catfish. The dolphins also get caught in nets meant for other fish. Due to all this R.K.Sinha has come up with a viable solution for the oil. According to him, fish scraps can be used as substitutes for dolphin oils that fishermen use for catching bakus or sukwa and bacha fish. The scraps are made of peritoneal extracts of three species rohu, katla and cirrhinus mrigale. These scraps will improve the catch and in turn save the Gangetic dolphins from being poached.

    Recently, a 45 km stretch of the Ganga from Garhmukteshwar to Narora was declared as Ramsar site. This will make the wetland species as protected as the tiger. The forest department will patrol this site and any activity against the local fauna will be made a punishable act under the Wildlife Act. Tall and well equipped watch towers will also be set up where dolphins are mostly seen. Also, the Ganga tends to meander and flows over shallow areas. This will be prevented by setting up crate wire spurs containing stones or various vegetation to act like dams on the sides of the river and will act like a natural boundary.

    The Gangetic Dolphin is still an unknown creature to most of us. Their gentle nature is also a bane for them but so is ignorance about them. It is easier to save man-made structures but it is impossible to save a species. And our dolphins have been in existence from the time of King Bhagirath according to legends. They were given the task to protect the river Ganga by Lord Shiva. Thus, they are part of our culture, and heritage and their protection should be our duty.

    ( The stamp in picture was issued in 1991).




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