National Parks

TRIP TO CORBETT NATIONAL PARK.

Posted by salil sharma on October 20, 2012

 
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                                                                    Our Corbett Visit


The day I am sharing was just like another normal scheduled day to work when I was getting ready & was about to leave home for my job. Suddenly my husband asked a very surprising but interesting question Hey! Would you like to visit Jim Corbett National Park. Amazed & awed unable to make out I said “no” I cant, I have to reach my work place in time and moreover I have not applied for any leave. During this time, examination were going on in the college and I was on examination duty. But unable to control my zeal and emotions I applied for leave, got it approved and within an hour of packing and arranging we left for our journey to Jim Corbett National Park. The most interesting part being, no bookings were made in advance, neither did we have any idea of the way to be followed. Unaware of anything we decided to move on. From Chandigarh we started at 11.30am & through Jagadhari , Yamunanagar & Rorkee at 5.12p.m. we were at Haridwar.  Now there was no idea and while on the way we checked for hotels, resorts and jeep safari ‘s on the internet. We got in touch with a travelling operator who kept us guiding from New Delhi. He gave us the address of a resort called ‘ Jagaar Jungle Resort’. Lateron we came to know that he was the owner of the resort and the couple handled their business from New Delhi. I would like to mention that they were cooperative to an extent and kept guiding us till we reached the resort.

From Haridwar taking a right turn towards Nazibabad  we were on the state highway 34.While moving towards Nazibabad we were crossing an area that was under Reserved Forests just close to Raja ji National Park. On the way we could find sign boards showing “ Elephants crossing Area; Drive slowly”. This made us more anxious and little fear had also taken over us. We were heading towards our destination on an unknown road. This led to make more frantic calls to our tour operator asking him every now and then which way to follow, are we on safer road or not? From Nazibabad we moved towards Nagina-Dhampur-Afjalgarh-Kashipur.Our resort Jagaar was close to Kashipur touching the buffer zone of Jim Corbett National Park. It was 9.40 pm that we reached the resort following an unpaved road through a village in pitch dark. The aura and ambience of the resort was completely raw. Small thatched cottages with wooden doors and little bulb lights on the path leading to our cottage gave the resort a complete wild look.As we were enjoying the dinner, conversing with the staff of the resort we came to know about various stories of the tiger especially the man-eater which was killed by the villagers 2-3 months back. Only one small latch on the door was the safety in the cottage. Initially unable to sleep, both of us were lying silently without talking to each other and hearing some strange noises from outside, we slept saying good night as early morning at 5 we had to get a wake up call from the resort staff. At 1.00 a.m. my sleep was interrupted by some noise and I could see my husband still lying in the same position with his eyes wide open.Shockingly I asked, what happened and back came the reply I am unable to sleep.Some stupid scary noises kept him awake.

 So at 5.00 in the morning we got a call and within half an hour, the resort staff handed over to us our breakfast packed and guided us towards Ramnagar the tiny town 8 kms away from the resort. We drove by our own car to Ramnagar. Here I would like to mention one very strange thing. At 5.30 or so we were at Ramnagar and the whole town was bustling with life. Markets open, people shopping at early dawn. I never saw such a thing in my life. On asking some local people we came to know that from this little town buses move to various higher reaches of Uttrakhand which are far away. So markets remain open at Ramnagar to facilitate people who are travelling.  From the Ramnagar forest guest house and ticket counter we took tickets for Dhikaka forest range. We got tickets for a canter i.e. a huge truck open from all sides. Corbett National Park is situated in the foothills of the Himalayas. The present area of Corbett National Park is1318.54 sq. km .including 520 sq. km. core area of and 797.72 sq.km.of buffer area.  Corbett has four forest ranges: Dhikala, Domunda, Sonanadi, Bijrani and Jhirna. Main vegetation found at Corbett National Park is sal, khair, ber, bel, semal, khingan, rohini and bamboo. River Ramganga is the most important river and its tributaries are sonanadi, mandaland palain. River Kosi runs proximate to the park and is also a prominent resource. We were little late and almost all vehicles had already left for the Dhikala range. Our canter started at 7.00a.m.. As we entered the forest we first saw a Sambhar who was about to cross the road but stopped because the canter was too noisy. Suddenly the canter got slow and driver was showing us the pug marks which were fresh. He told us that the tiger may just had passed from here few hours before after having water from the nearby Ram ganga rivulet. This raised the anxiety of every person sitting in the canter. People started watching more cautiously and we were lucky to spot peacock and wag tail within first 10-20 min of our tour.

The canter was so noisy that everyone was getting irritated because as soon as we could spot something the driver was unable to hear us.  It was really surprising why the government has allowed such noisy vehicles inside the forest range. The animals will not come close to noise. Even as the forest department is charging hefty amounts,the vehicles are not properly maintained. What to talk about the tiger, we could see small animals and few birds retreating from noise. Some spotted deer could be seen near the river bed. Wild Boar were moving in a group following a straight line with parents leading their off springs.  Suddenly we asked the driver to stop as a Brown Eagle was sitting in the middle of the road. We clicked 2-3 good shots and moved ahead. But we were only thinking about TIGER keeping our fingers crossed,praying just to have one look of the beautiful creature in the wild. As we approached the Dhikala guest house we spotted tamed elephants nearby. The area was fenced with electrified barbed wires. As the driver parked the canter we saw a big Vulture on the nearby tree, feeding its young ones. People were talking about its extinction due to excessive use of Diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug used by farmers to ease pain in cattle. The canter had to stop for 45 minutes so this was the time to talk to strangers exchange views photographs and get fresh. We had maggi and omlette and hot tea. There was a notice board where people shared their tour experiences. A group saw leopard and tiger an hour ago near guest house. So the excitement grew more and we started moving ahead through the grasslands.  As the canter moved through the thick long grass we were gazing every spot with eyes wide open only searching for the tiger. The canter stopped in the middle of the grasslands where tamed elephants were eating grass. Suddenly an elephant came so close that its trunk was almost inside the canter smelling the strangers. The driver told us about the Ramganga river flowing nearby which also is a home to ghariyals, turtles and also a major source of water in the park.  By this time we were exhausted and sad but still we were hopeful to spot a tiger. So we decided to go for another safari to Bijrani but now by a jeep.

We came back to the resort, got fresh had lunch and asked the resort staff to  arrange a jeep safari for us. The booking was done for at 3.30 in the afternoon. It was a tough nut to crack as only limited number of jeeps is allowed to enter the forest in the morning and evening. Now we drove again till Bijrani gate by our own car which is 12 kms from Ramnagar. The zone can be entered via Amanda Gate and the Bijrani Zone can be found 5 kms from there. The tourists are taken around the area by a jeep and presence of guide is mandatory as they help the tourists understand the importance of the park and also the habitats of the animals in the zone. The jeep was waiting for us and we two along with a guide and driver entered the Bijrani forest. The guide a young chap with an experience of over 5 years started telling us about the Bijrani forest its flora and fauna. But we kept asking him so many questions on tiger. He told us what to do if a tiger approaches. Keep your body still without moving and making noise let the tiger go. He told us a story of a group who were forced to stop because a tiger came suddenly in their way. The guide told everyone to sit and the tiger smelled the entire jeep then went. It gave us more anxiety but fear had gripped us by now as the forest was too thick. As we were heading toward Malani, a forest guest house in Bijrani, we spotted a wild tusker near the river. The guide showed  us a big owl on the tree. As we moved ahead we stopped the jeep for some time to hear the calls of the Monkeys, Grey Langoors and Deer for tracing the Tiger. But within minutes we were fearful that if the tiger is around then it can be dangerous so we started again. We saw Wild Boar, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Red Jungle Fowl, Brown Eagle, Grey Langoors, Rhesus Monkeys & Black Crane. The canopies of the trees were too thick and the forest was very dense. All the jeeps inside Bijrani meet at a centre place where there is a watch tower. The tourists and the guides exchange their tracking routes of tiger spotting if any. The slopes were steep and at times gentle. It made us to think what would happen if the tiger comes as the path followed by the jeep was undulating. We also saw the places were tiger usually comes for drinking water. Some were man made while others were natural sources. Sun started setting and we had to move back as the time for the safari was coming to an end. On way back we saw few settlements near the buffer zone where the forest department had put fenced barbed wires but the people had taken them off and they were fearlessly living inside the park. So the safari was over but tiger could not be spotted. In comparison to Dhikala, Bijrani is more drier and also has more diverse vegetation. Sad yet still excited we came out and to change our mood we entered a souvenir shop where things related to tiger were being sold like t-shirts, caps, key rings,paintings etc. We were back to the resort, had dinner, shared about our tour with the resort staff. Since we had to leave next morning so we slept in time.Next morning after having tea we were taken to a water pump near the fields where the resort had arranged for a rustic bath. My husband enjoyed bathing and then we had our breakfast and packed our stuff. We started our journey at 12.30in the afternoon and halted at Haridwar. Here we went to see the holy river Ganges and we bathed at Har ki Paudi. Since we were running short of time we just picked fruits from a roadside vendor and moved ahead. We had tea at Ambala and reached Chandigarh at about 8.45p.m..Though we could not spot the tiger but we enjoyed the nature at its best!

Environmental Education

IIM Ahmedabad News letter

Posted by Susan Sharma on October 11, 2012

 
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My article which appeared in the Newsletter of IIM, Ahmedabad.  The article is based on our Community , IndianWildlifeclub.com.  You can read it online at the link
http://www.iimahd.ernet.in/egov/ifip/jul2012/sharma.htm

Wildlife

India Wildlife

Posted by Gajanan Bapat on September 25, 2012

 
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Indian Forest

Anthropomorphism

Wild Life

Posted by Jasoprakas Debdas on September 08, 2012

 
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Bio-Diversity

Mangarbani

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 05, 2012

 
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Read the interesting piece about Mangarbani at the link
http://forbesindia.com/printcontent/32350


.... The spry-at-78 Arthur F. Bentley professor of political science at Indiana University, however, backs Mangar villagers and conservationists because she does believe in the durability of traditional community-based models of preserving and judiciously using common resources such as water, fisheries and forests. ......

Ostrom’s research is particularly important for India which is struggling to manage its commons, be it forests or water. Flashpoints are becoming frequent as demands of a burgeoning population and its development needs put pressure on common property. The 600-acre Mangarbani, for instance, falls within Faridabad’s new 20-year development plan that would allow construction and other projects in eco-sensitive areas. But what they fail to grasp is that the forests are crucial to the maintenance of an ecosystem that helps recharge the aquifers beneath the Aravalli hills. ......







Bio-Diversity

Mangarbani Virgin Forest, Gurgaon

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 01, 2012

 
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5km to the side of Gurgaon -Faridabad four lane road, driving through a thick forest of Vilayati Kekar trees interpersed with construction sites, you enter Mangarbani village (wrongly spelt Manger at the direction board on the main road).




The Art and Craft Hotel raises a few eyebrows just before we enter the village.  Builders are already in possession of Dream plans to convert the ancient village of Mangarbani into a "Tourist Paradise", the Hotel is probably waiting for those Dreams to take wings.


 Entrance to Mangarbani


At this sleepy village of about 300 hamlets we ask our way to the Bani.  As we reach Bani, the three soldiers from Mangarbani village who started the fight to save Mangarbani against seemingly odd barriers,  greet us.  We, a few friends who learnt about Mangarbani through the film "The Lost Forest",  had decided to devote the Sunday Morning to see the forest for ourselves. 


"Heavenly'" " So cool'" "Longest tailed peacock" "Beautiful bird sounds"  remarks kept coming as we walked. The residents pitched in with their knowledge of the Bani.  The first and last rule of the Bani " Do not pluck or cut anything from the Bani.  If you graze your animals inside, you raise the wrath of  Gudanya Baba  whose Samadhi in a cave is worshipped by the villagers.


 Broken Kadamb branch-Remove it at your peril!


 Here is an excerpt from the magazine "Down To Earth"


---What sets the Bani apart from the surrounding vegetation is that 95 per cent of it comprises a slow growing tree called Dhau (Anogeissus pendula). The tree has a unique feature. If it is nibbled by cattle, it spreads out on the ground or over rocks like thick prostrate undergrowth. If left undisturbed, it grows into a middle-sized tree. The 13-meter-tall dhaus in Mangar Bani testify to the forest’s antiquity, points out Pradip Krishen, the author of Trees of Delhi. ......


Sacred grove of Dhau trees seen from temple top


We saw Desi papri trees, Vat  and Dhok trees , Seetaphal trees and Kadamb trees which were fruiting and Dhau, the endemic tree of the area which were sprouting all over after the rains.



 Fruit of Kadamb tree


Sweet fruit of Seeta Phal tree



Dhau sprouting through rocks



Take the Dhau outside Mangarbani and they refuse to grow.  The Dhau is believed to be one large organism in Managrbani which propagates through root grown saplings only.  Untouched by the British ( The British never discovered this village tucked away in the interior, according to locals) and the Forest Department, Vilayati Keekar is absent in the village.  No bougainvillas and no lantana bushes are seen anywhere.      The Forest has remained natural as it was 3000 years ago.  A Natural Museum worth presrving for the next generation!




Under the shade of ancient trees


Mangarbani, a serene forest



Besides the Bani being the Preserve of fauna and flora endemic to the Aravalis (probably the only patch in Rajasthan-Haryana-Delhi, where Aravalis have survived in their original glory), this unspoilt forest is most likely responsible for water recharging and safeguarding water veins underground.  Destroy this vegetation cover, build on it and we could end up blocking/destroying any number of water veins under those impenetrable rock-systems.  

Gurgaon and Faridabad have seen Surajkund, Badkhal and Dumdama lakes disappear within the last 25-30 years, once vegetation in Aravalis was destroyed and hilllsides dug up for minerals/stones for construction and/or levelled for putting up buildings. The ban by the Supreme Court on all mining cant restore those water bodies, they are gone for ever.

Will the Gurgaon-Faridabad-Delhi residents let the unspoilt Aravalis in and around Manger Bani disappear? They could be destroying the most important water-recharge System/Preserve that could have sustained the coming generations by providing much needed elixir of life 'WATER'

SAVE THE ARAVALIS THAT WE STILL HAVE------REHABILITATING THEM MAY BE BEYOND ALL OF US. AFTER ALL THESE MOUNTAINS TOOK MILLIONS OF YEARS TO BECOME OUR BENEFICIARIES------


Listen to the young men from Mangarbani making an appeal

Little Known Destinations

HOLIDAYS AT BAROT IN HIMACHAL PRADESH NEAR KANGRA

Posted by Major Sunil Kumar, SM on August 12, 2012

 
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ONE PLACE WHERE YOU ALWAYS FOUND YOURSELF WITH A CUTOFF FROM YOUR CELLPHONES, COMMUNICATION, AND YOU ARE NOT APPROACHABLE UNLESS YOU WANT YOURSELF TO DRIVE OUT YOURSELF 23 KMS AWAY FROM THE LOCATION TO LOCATE YOURSELF THROUGH MOB SIGNAL TOWER. THERE ARE QUITE A GOOD GUEST ROOMS OF FISHERY DEPARTMENTS, ELECTRICITY BOARDS AND THERE IS NO HOTEL SYSTEM.....WHAT PEOPLE CALL THERE IS SWEET HOME CONCEPT. THE BUILDING IS 4 TO 5 STORY AND IN THE GROUND FLOOR THE OWNER HAS MADE HIS LITTLE SHOP TO PROVIDE YOU THE LITTLE EATS WITH LITTLE AMOUNT OF OVER PRICE....AND THE ROOMS ARE RS 200/- TO 300/- PER DAY NO BEDDING REQUIRED, JUST YOUR OWN CLOTHS TO WEAR..... IN BAROT ITS A TROUT FISHING FARMING PLACE AND PEOPLE WEAR WARM SWEATER 24X7 365 DAYS.... SO YOU CAN IMAGINE... YOU GET FISHING ANGLES TO SPEND TIME AND THABAS THERE FOR YOU TO EAT YOUR MEALS....IF YOU THINK YOU CAN EXPLORE THAT AND WANT TO GO.....FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME .....i AM NOT AN AGENT I AM JUST A TRAVELER LIKE YOU AND WANT MORE PEOPLE TO KNOW AND LIVE THE MOMENT IN LIFE...i WILL TRY TO POST THE PICS ALSO IN CASE YOU WANNA ASK ME ... WITH LEAVING LITTLE OR MORE QUERY IN YOUR MIND .....TAKE CARE ....WARM REGARDS....MAJ SUNIL KUMAR.

Green Jobs

Which would be much better: IFS or M.Sc in wildlife Biology

Posted by Amith Jain on August 12, 2012

 
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Respected Sir/Madam,

I've finished my engineering in biotechnology with 66% aggregate and 2012 pass-out. 
In recent years while pursuing my engineering i gained interest in conserving the nature, specifically the wild species and all the wild environment. I was just searching any particular jobs in this field, but could hardly find any, and even volunteering options were less, and those which i found had no proper follow up. 
Now in last month, I started my search again, I've tried in several places like WRRC, WWF, CWS, SOS, ATREE for volunteering and got a call from one or two. I had to reject because I was running short of money to travel till there and also couldn't make up to other expenses. Can you tell some place which gives a volunteering opportunity with just a little stipend that could cover up my travel expenses in bangalore.
I desperately want to enter into this field and make my career in this field. But my parents say its of no use and income is low and other stuffs, Is the Income really that much low?
I've tried all possible ways to convince them. Can you help me with some other ideas to convince them.?And
I've come across IFS and M.Sc in wildlife Biology, I wanted to know which would be a better option to continue with, and what is the future scope of either of the field or both.

Green Jobs

Volunteers for 'NEWS'

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 11, 2012

 
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Given below is an invitation for Volunteers from http://www.naturewildlife.org/

Inviting Volunteers for Internship Oppurtunity

 

Nature Environment & Wildlife Society (NEWS) are looking for active students for internship programme in our organization for 1/3/6 months. We would be requiring students with background from Sociology for livelihood and awareness programme, and Zoology, Botany and Environmental Science students for biodiversity programme.Students are required to have a good knowledge in Bengali (read, write and speak), English and should be computer literate.Certificates will be provided to the students at the end of the programme. The activities will stretch over:

              * Intense field work
                 * Two three day outstation visit per week, ( if any)
                 * Scientific data collection, analysis, management
              * Community outreach activities
                 * Report writing and documentation
                 * Students are expected to visit office daily

    Students would be paid a stipend of Rs 1000 per month and all the field expenses will be taken care of by NEWS. Each student would require a permission letter from there institution (either from their Principal or from the authorized head of their respective department)

    TO apply please send your recommendation letter and your CV at :

    Nature Environment & Wildlife Society
    Email: news_kolkata@yahoo.co.in
    10 Chowringhee Terrace
    Kolkata-700020
    Ph. 033-22234148

Environment Awareness

Invasive species in Western Ghats Rivers threatens the endemic aquatic fauna

Posted by Harikrishnanbhaskaran on July 19, 2012

 
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Western Ghats, the ancient mountain range in the southern India which is older than Himalayas is a new entrant to the league of Word Heritage sites for its rich biodiversity. However, new studies show that incidence of foreign type of organisms in these riverine environments is a main hazard for this World Heritage site. These non-native organisms introduced in the rivers of Western Ghats for agricultural purposes or as biological controllers, are gradually wiping away organisms found in these rivers, according to certain research outcomes.

Plants like Eichhornia crassipes and Pistia stratiotes serve as good examples of alien plants in these rivers. Similarly, Salvinia molesta, Hydrilla and Ipomea fistulosa were first introduced as ornamental plants in aquariums but later became major weeds in these rivers. They cover the water surface, often increasing the rate of sedimentation. They also hinder the daylight which is essential for the underwater plants for photosynthesis. Mikania macarantha, is a similar plant now threatening biodiversity in the area. It forms a thick layer over the river surface and the connected riparian forest, blocking the sunlight. 

Exotic fishes add one more name to the list of foreign organisms causing threat to innate organisms in the Western Ghats Rivers. Introduced to control mosquito and diseases caused by them, these aquatic organisms have turned out to be enemies in course of time. Gambusia affinis, was widely introduced as a biological agent to control mosquitos. But now they have entered Western Ghats streams, raising stiff competition for resources with native species, wiping away them locally. This is dangerous when for the endemic fishes in Western Ghats Rivers

Clarias gariepinus, was brought in by farmers who wanted a fast growing fish which eats up everything including waste from slaughter houses, to increase fish production. But the fish known for its ability to survive in drastic conditions has turned out to be a serious threat to native species of fishes and other organisms when invaded main stream rivers.

Unlike other threats which destruct a river ecosystem, foreign species and the extent of the damage caused by them are often invisible for the naked eye for a long time if detailed research is not being carried out.  So the current studies show that there is a need to conduct more in-depth studies and take up conservation efforts to help the world heritage site from degrading further.there is also an urgent need for the government to formulate and implement a policy for the management of the invasive species in India. 
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