'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

Today the air is cold and raw, and brings a blush to my cheeks. The sun is weak and provides little more than light. It is hard for my mind to not wander to warm places and sea breezes. I think of Goa.

Few outsiders realize some of the finest beaches and most incredible sunsets in the world can be found in India, a very short train-ride south from Mumbai. Most of the beaches in and near Goa are wide, white, and lined with coconut palms. I had not originally planned to visit those beaches, Goa apparently being too tame for a hardened adventurer. Advice from some male travelers changed my plans, I decided to go and see what there might be to see.

I found a room in Panaji, I think it was a hotel named ‘The Pearl,’ and walked out to Gaspardias Beach. It was a wonderful day, warm with soft breezes. I strolled down through the vendors; a person could buy anything here. I settled on a bit of sand, applied sunscreen, and relaxed. Suddenly, a young woman broke my relaxation, she explained some men had been harassing her and following her, could she just sit with me for a while? She was certain the men would leave her alone if she were seen with me. I looked closely at her, long curly sun burnt hair and friendly smile. Her eyes were green. She was very attractive. I introduce myself and where I was from. She replied she was from Great Britain and named ‘Lauren.’ She sat down next to me. She smelled of coconut and frangipani. We spent the most of the day talking and lying in the sun. In time, she shed her clothes to reveal scant beachwear. She asked that I apply sunscreen to her, as she did not wish to get oil on her hands. It was okay by me! I felt a bond growing between us. Later, as the day wore on, I sensed she was troubled and asked if I could help. She was still concerned about the men from the morning; after all, they knew where she was staying. I suggested she could move to my hotel, actually, I suggested she could stay with me. My room had two beds and was paid for. My lonely heart leapt when she agreed. She asked that I accompany her to her hotel, help with the moving, and check out.

At the front desk of her hotel, she found all her money had been packed and would I be a dear to pay her six-week hotel bill for her. She would pay me back when we got to my room and she unpacked. Of course, I paid her bill. We walked to my hotel. I carried her duffel bag while she shouldered her backpack. Along the way, she remembered something she had left. Lauren quickly told me she would run back and then catch up before I could miss her. She kissed me passionately and ran off before I could think. I went to my room and waited. I waited into the evening. Finally, I looked into the tattered duffel, which I had carried for her. It contained wadded up sheets and nothing else. My cheeks blushed with realization. I never saw her again.

I spent the next week enjoying the sand, the sun, and the great food of Panaji. The lessons in life come in all shapes and sizes. I have since recommended the beaches of India to many people. As far as I know, none had a similar experience. There are all kinds of adventures. Cheers.

Visit or call NumBum Adventurers at 406-777-2228

Answers To Quiz Of The Month

Answers to Quiz on tiger poaching

This month no one has given all rigth answers, but, have given 9 right answers

Right Answer to Quiz on tiger poaching

1.The international wildlife trade has resulted in around ………….species being pushed towards extinction globally
  • 344
  • 622
  • 1435  

  • 2.Trade in tiger and tiger products are banned under
  • WCPA ( World Commission on Protected Areas)
  • ? IUCN ( The World Conservation Union)
  • CITES ( Convention on International Trade in Endangered species of Wild Fauna and Flora )  

  • 3.A country with the best foreat and wildlife laws and the worst "on the ground" protection mechanisms is
  • India
  • Africa
  • USA  

  • 4.Globally wildlife trade is second only to
  • Narcotics
  • Counterfeit currency
  • Hawala dealings  

  • 5.Despite hundreds of poaching cases caught in India the numbe of convictions are
  • less than ten
  • less than five
  • less than twenty  

  • 6.Which of the following is a tiger consumer country as per the tiger enforcement task force?
  • Canada
  • S. Africa
  • India  

  • 7.Unlike bone seizures, skin siezures have increased in India since
  • 1991
  • 1981
  • 1971  

  • 8."Sailong" promoted by China as a substitute for tiger bone in oriental medicines is
  • a common type of moli rat bone
  • a kind of rattel bone
  • a dog bone  

  • 9.Naxalite activity has resulted in a fear psychosis that prevents forest guards from freely patrolling the forest. This is true of
  • Kanha tiger reserve
  • Srisailam-NagarjunaSagar Tiger Reserve
  • Corbett tiger reserve  

  • 10.Throughout Dudhwa National Park( 680 sq. km) ……………Forestry Department men clear tracks and plant trees and also monitor for poaching.
  • 150
  • 250
  • 1200  

  • Please try our quiz for the current month on Wetlands


    Jungle Cat (Felis chaus)

    -Susan Sharma

    The genera Felis is comprised of the smaller or lesser cat species... cats that cannot roar. The largest of these cats is the cougar (mountain lion). Felis Concolor. Some of the other species also found in this genera are the ocelot, the serval, the lynx and the domestic cat (Felis Cattus... also known as Felis Domesticus). Like their larger cousins, many of these beautiful wild cats belonging to genera Felis are becoming more rare in their native habitats... due to loss of habitat and hunting or poaching. Again, sadly, many of these species are listed as endangered.

    There are 15 different varieties of wild cats in India. (WII). They can be classified as large, medium and small on basis of their body size. Unfortunately there are very few studies conducted on the lesser cats of India and one cannot be too sure of the viable populations of these cats in the country

    Central India is known to be the habitat for 6 different species of the lesser cats. 1) Caracal (Felis caracal) 2) Jungle cat (Felis chaus) 3) Desert cat(Felis lybica ornata) 4) Leopard cat(Felis bengalensis) 5) Rusty spotted cat (Felis (Prionailurus) rubiginosa)6) Fishing cat(Felis viverrina)

    The jungle cat, despite its name, is not strongly associated with closed forest, but rather with water and dense vegetative cover, especially reed swamps, marsh, and littoral and riparian environments.
    Jungle cats are frequently observed in the daytime. They feed primarily on rodents.

    Principal Threats

    Jungle cats do well in cultivated landscapes (especially those that lead to increased numbers of rodents) and artificial wetlands. However, reclamation and destruction of natural wetlands, ongoing throughout its range but particularly in the arid areas (Dugan 1993), still pose a threat to the species, as density in natural wetlands is generally higher.

    The jungle cat can be distinguished from other wild cat species within its range by its long legs and uniform coat colour, which ranges from sandy yellow to reddish brown. On closer examination, the adult jungle cat can be seen to have faint stripes on the legs and tail, which is tipped with black. On the head the nose and chin areas are often white, the rather large ears tipped with darker fur and in certain sub-species faint ‘tear stripes’ are noticeable beneath the eyes. As kittens, jungle cats are heavily spotted but these juvenile markings are generally lost at about six months of age.

    Jungle cats are common in India but due to their secretive nature are rarely seen/ observed. Ranthamhore National Park offers good sightings. They are very swift and exceedingly strong for their size (around 6kg) and although they prey mainly on birds and smaller mammals such as porcupines, they are capable of bringing down larger game.

    News and Views

    News & Views


    The online chat for February " Plight of lesser animals" was moderated by Mr. Mahendra Vyas, Supreme court lawyer and member of the Central Empowered Committee. ( Read more about MAHENDRA VYAS by clicking here). The chat attracted a good number of participants from all over the country. You can read the chat transcription by clicking here. Though India is prime habitat for llesser cats, very little information is available about their distribution and about the existence of viable populations. The chat also threw up suggestions for improving the contents of the website.

    ……….………sachdr "Maybe we can have an online space for sharing snaps that we think are worth sharing and mentioning some points about the situation when we took them + i think we should start something like, having an action item for the month. One example would be "the Bombay Zoo" , seriously..there cant be any greater torture for the poor animals...maybe we can collectively contact someone who can do something about it. Let's have a topic for the month similar to this chat forum, but the response can be sent throughout the month ( a message board of sorts). This will give those people who can't come on the chat to give in their inputs as well "
    "can we go for for some park visits "
    "what abt giving info about IFS examinations? "
    "everyone of us shall mail to the group about the parks and sanctuaries they have been to". ………

    Each month, we change the topic of our online quiz. It can be attempted online and you know how many questions you have got correct instantly. The correct answers are given in the next month's ezine. Two people answered nine questions correctly in the January quiz. They are


    …………..& Views

    What can animals teach humans? Everything, writes the environmental philosopher Paul Shepard, and he's not being hyperbolic. In Shepard's view, it was through the observation and emulation of animals that humans developed their abilities to communicate. The development of the brain and larynx depended on accidents of biology, on bipedalism and upright posture. But more, their development both hinged on and reinforced the desire of humans to communicate with each other, and to members of other species, about their existence in the world; as Shepard writes of one particular human mental skill, "grouping and categorizing is not something done by children simply because their biology requires it, but because the real animal world of each child is to be his concrete model of reality." The natural world, in other words, teaches us to think.

    All human culture, in Shepard's view, rests on our natural history, and the separation that has occurred over the generations between humans and the natural environment is to our detriment. Shepard imagines a future in which animals no longer have a place, their role in the world having been assumed by human inventions. Scholarly without ever being pedantic, Shepard offers a powerful argument for conservation and preservation. Thinking Animals, like many of Shepard's books, has come to be a key text in the literature of the animal rights movement and of environmentalism generally, and it is endlessly stimulating. --Gregory McNamee

    From a review of the book " Thinking Animals" by Paul Shepard


    The Tigress and the Actress

    Toby Ninan retired from Delhi Zoo about two years back. With his varied experiences with the wild animals in the zoo, he is the right person to direct your queries to. Hear what Ninan has to say about his life and chosen career!

    Rosy the tigress was among the best behaved animals in the Zoo and would be normally tied to a peg near the tiger house from where she could and would greet passers by. She only got a little excited when the trash collector passed by which consisted of a cart pulled by a buffalo bull – the bull would pass by nonchalantly but the tigress would do a minor rock and roll to the accompaniment of a minor roar! She would greet me on my rounds with some purring which entitled her a daily dose of patting and scratching under her chin, she would reward me with a prickly (her whiskers) kiss on both cheeks.

    Well all these acts did not go unnoticed and were known and witnessed by my close friends who came to visit me and my charges at the zoo. Among these friends was a lady who worked for the UNESCO and a great animal lover - who also kept a large number of dogs as pets in her palatial home – she was one of my great admirers and there by hangs a tale.

    You all must have heard of the famous Hollywood actress Liv Ullmann who recently visited Delhi for a film festival. Some years back she was the UNESCO ambassador –at-large to the children of the world and was visiting Delhi. Well my friend at the UNESCO told her a number of my animal stories and also casually mentioned about this tigress who also enjoyed a drive in a jeep and got by passers wondering whether they were seeing things that did not exist .ie. a tiger in the back of a jeep!

    My friend and Ms Ullmann came to visit the Zoo and was very excited to see and pat the tigress. I tried to tell her that the animal could be a little rough some times but she very keen to meet my friend Rosy.

    It was a bright morning and all three of us went to see the tigress –I introduced the actress to Rosy and she allowed the actress to pet her and scratch her under her chin .Rosy let out some furr furr purring sounds and I thought every thing was ok .but suddenly to my dismay Rosy stood up on her hind feet and put her fore paws on Ms.Ullmann’s shoulders. This was too much of a weight for her and she fell backwards on to the soft grass with the tigress right on top of her. I thought this is the end and had visions of the tigress tearing up the actress! I on my part jumped on top of the tiger and pulled her off from the lady but the tigress looked at me with a quizzical expression as if to say –Did you ever think that I would harm a friend of yours?

    Ms Ullmann was not hurt as the grass around her was lush and soft but she was quite shaken to say the least. I must say to her advantage that she regained her composure soon enough aided by some hot coffee which she graciously accepted to have at my home.

    She even wrote a nice letter thanking me and volunteering her services if I ever needed an actress at the Zoo.

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