March 17, 2017
Where: Tadoba -Andhari Tiger Reserve,
Best time to visit: March to May
and October to December
You need: 3-4 days
Maharashtra’s largest national park,Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve spans about 625
sq km and has one of the top tiger densities in India. On the record, there are around 70 tigers in the park, as per the recent tiger census, but some tadoba tiger safari operators & guides say there may be more;closer to 100 is their approximation
as more famales have given birth to new cubs in the Tadoba reserve in the last 5 years
The Tadoba NationalPark and Andhari Wildlife Sanctuary jointly outline the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve. The exotic tadoba
tiger safari is widely popular amongst the wildlife lovers and people who are seeking toescape the chaos of city life.
If you are planning to explore the authentic wildlife in Maharashtra, then you simply can’t afford to miss Tadoba wildlife safari
which is positioned in the nucleus of Vidarbha region. The wildlife comprise of sloth bears, leopards, tigers, sambar, gaur, wild dogs, hyenas, panthers & so on.
The national park is enormously overshadowed by the canes and hike along with puzzling scenery of marshlands, rocky cliffs, small lakes,
etc. Along with being acclaimed as the biggest tiger safari in India,
Tadoba Reserve Park also consist of diverse fauna and flora that draw thousands of people towards the park. Further,Tadoba is renowned for the existence of rare species like Leopards, Sloth bears, Wild dogs and Bisons .Along with exploring Tadoba
wildlife safari,people also witness the sight of several species of reptiles, rare insects and birds living in these dense forests.
Administration Zones of Tadoba-Andhari
The astounding reserve has 3 administrative zones: Kolsa, Tadoba-Andheri and Moharli with 6 different entry gates. The Moharli gate has
more popularity among public owing to its close proximity to Chandrapur city.
It is really vital to plan the trip well in earlier manner via online
safari booking in Tadoba,since the reserve park includes few locations for safari facilities and accommodation. The mind-boggling national park will not only
endow you some delight,but also facilitate you to take pleasure in the elephant rides. When you decide to make an online safari booking in Tadoba,you
must collect complete information about the visiting hours and some other helpful facts. The national park is at all times open, but the best time to travel around is from the month of November – May.
Thrillingwith Tadoba Tiger
Safari in India
If you have already tadoba safari
booking plan for autumn/winter, you will acquire an opportunity to witness the tigers and some other wildlife species near the watering ponds with an exquisite
tadoba jeep safari. Typically, the tigers can be spotted in the months of April & May&Oct-Nov. In addition, prior-tadoba safari booking also
allows you to enjoy jeep safari/ jungle safari in the park without any hassle. The advance booking process facilitates you to enjoy your wildlife safari in a simpler manner.
The best way is to go for tadoba tour
packagesto avail the better-quality facilities that will really make your trip unforgettable. You can book the jeep that will pick you up from your staying
place half and hour before the tadoba wildlife safari begins. In order to get the convenience, you must take into service a reliable tour agents like Mumbai Travellers who will arrange the best tadoba
tour packages for you and your family. The tour agents will not only bring you some important services,
but also explicate complete information concerning the safari timings.
About us - We are India’s Biggest and Most Unique travel portal for Wildlife & Photography tours. We arrange Wildlife tours and safaris across various National Parks
and sanctuaries for Domestic & foreign tourists , school & college students in economic budget.
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Head office : 408, Samarth Plaza, Opp Mulund Station, Mumbai - 400080
Call : 8422049888 / 8692022777 / 7039023777
Email : info@book–my–safari.com
January 24, 2017
Snow Leopards are natives to the cold climatic regions where human population is very scarce. They live in harsh conditions on earth. Their white-grey coat perfectly blends in with the snow-clapped mountains of Asia and protects them from
the adverse climatic change. Basically these wild cats are from carnivorous family and breed on sheep, ibex, hares, and marmots. They’re usually found at high, rugged mountain landscapes at heights of over 3,500 meters. With the increasing number of days,
months, and years, the numbers of snow leopards is diminishing and very soon they will soon become extinct. If proper measures are not taken to save snow leopards by the responsible citizens of the countries and government authorities, very soon our ecosystem
will experience a shift that will cause discord.
According to a recent study, there are only 7,500–4,500 snow leopards left and they are too under attack for various reasons. These snow leopards are found high in the mountains of the Himalayas and in Central Asia. They are sporadically
distributed across the globe in countries such as Central Asia, China, Mongolia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Nepal.
Saving snow leopards is the need of the hour. These snow leopards are everyday under attack and their number is depleting rampantly for various reasons. One of the major concerns for their loss is climatic conditions. With global warming
scenario all over the world, it will first affect the high snow and mountainous regions. Unfortunately, these places happen to be the habitat of these snow leopards. If their habitat is destroyed or changed, they move towards other nearby areas for survival.
Again, these nearby areas are densely populated with humans. Humans feel a threat with the snow leopards and start attacking them.
The human-animal conflict is the second important issue that needs to be tackled. The snow leopard preys on mountain sheep and goats. With less or no snow leopards, these herbivores will feed on all the grasslands and vegetation, thereby
leaving no food for other wildlife. The same landscape makes available food and other important resources for the inhabitants; including medicine, heat, wood for shelter, and fuel. So by
saving the snow leopard, we’re benefiting the whole natural ecosystem in these areas and the people who rely on them.
Third and the saddest reason behind the decreasing number of snow leopards is poaching or illegal wildlife trade. As their natural prey becomes difficult to find, snow leopards are forced to kill livestock such as horses, sheep, goats,
and calves for survival. The farmers in turn hunt these snow leopards and put them down.
Saving snow leopard and its natural habitat is critical in protecting the environment and the ecosystem as a whole. There are many wildlife conservation groups that are working with local communities to monitor snow leopards and reduce
their killing. There are reports of the government bodies working in close connection with Kanchenjunga conservation area in Nepal and their inhabitants to protect the snow leopards and reduce the conflict between the animal and the local residents.
November 26, 2016
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PANORAMIC 150 GAME CAMERA
The Panoramic 150 is a specialtyMoultrie game camera for capturing high quality, super-wide digital images ofdeer and other wild game on your land or hunting camp. With an incredible150-degree
field of view, Moultrie Panoramic cameras cover more than 3 timesthe area of most traditional game cameras – giving that elusive trophy buckvirtually nowhere to hide. With rugged construction that stands up to theelements, and stealthy design that make it
virtually invisible to game, thePanoramic 150 doesn’t just work hard; it works smart. It’s a big world outthere, so make sure you’ve got a game camera that can capture it: the MoultriePanoramic 150.
Super-Wide Panoramic Field of View:
Ideal for open woods or fields, thePanoramic 150’s super-wide field of view lets you see so much more of the worldaround it. The 150-degree field of view is almost 3 times more than most gamecameras,
so you get a more comprehensive picture of your territory.
Decked out in Mossy Oak® Treestandcamouflage and powered by Moultrie’s advanced 100-foot Low-Glow infrared flashtechnology, the Panoramic 150 is designed to capture images of nearby gamewithout
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The Panoramic 150 employs a passiveinfrared (PIR) motion sensor that’s triggered by heat and movement within 45feet.
MOTION DETECT DELAY:
Delay is a low-power "sleep"state entered after image capture. Longer delays extend battery life and limitthe images recorded in high-traffic situations (e.g. – on a very busy gamefeeder). The
camera can be set for 5, 10, or 30 second delays as well as 1, 5,10, 30, or 60 minute delays.
When using the Motion Detect function,multi-shot mode allows the camera to record multiple photos per trigger. ThePanoramic 150 can be set to take 2 or 3 photos in succession after motion isdetected.
Still photos are taken when an animal isdetected. When any of the sensors detect an animal, the camera will take aseries of three photos, one at each position (right, center, left) and combinethese
into one panoramic photo.
Still photos are taken when an animal isdetected. The number of photos taken when an animal is detected is configurablein Settings. The position in which the photo is taken (right, center, or
left)depends on which sensor detects an animal.
Timelapse mode disables the PIR sensorand instead triggers the camera through a countdown timer that will activateduring sunrise and sunset, and is adjustable from 1-4 hours.
The camera can be triggered by both itspassive infrared (PIR) motion sensor and a time-lapse program.
The Panoramic 150 resets rapidly afterimage capture, taking only 1 second after a motion trigger until the camera isfully ready to detect motion and capture more.
The flash is equipped with 30 LightEmitting Diode (LED) lights. This 850nm Low-Glow LED technology is minimallyintrusive and can illuminate game up to 100 feet away in total darkness.
MOTION FREEZE / EXTENDED FLASH:
For night-time operation of the camera,you can select between reduced motion blur or extended flash range to maximizeimage clarity and visibility.
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Features a 150-degree diagonal viewingarea recorded by the camera.
BATTERIES & BATTERY LIFE:
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CONSERVE FOREST & WILDLIFE
March 22, 2016
Wildlife photography has different charm accompanied by related benefits and drawbacks, read some and be prepared accordingly
for a jungle tour ahead
Benefits and drawbacks of wildlife photography
It is really tedious to become a wildlife photographer. Just getting a SLR in hand is not sufficient for making one a good photographer. One must possess skills as well as creativity
required for capturing top candid moments.Taking photography of wildlife is the trickiest of all. Although currently it is not much in demand,
wildlife photography does hold some benefits and drawbacks, let’s read on and find these.
Benefits of wildlife photography
It makes one understand and blend with Mother Natur
The photography relates one’s life with animals that are living in the forest
It can easily be completed in bendable hours
It permits one to closely watch the way animals stay alive in jungle
It is the perfect hobby which provides a complete mind recreation
The photography and the money invested in it is never a waste. The reason behind this is all digital photos can easily be edited as well as deleted depending on the requirement
No extra cost is needed for processing and filling
The job of wildlife photography is really required in channels for instance Discovery and Animal Planet
Wildlife photography possesses the prospective of fetching money only when it is done in a professional manner. This is done by people who have interest of capturing photos of
wildlife in India.
It permits one to capture wildlife moments which are quite precious and can be shared with friends and all.
When people book
wildlife holiday package to any India tiger reserve, they usually do keep a camera that will help them capture such moments which are truly priceless.
There is threat of getting wounded by wild animals
In some situation wildlife photography taken in an
Tiger reserves of India
may be quite an annoyance to wild animals
One cannot shoot best moments during night time
In monsoon seasons, it really becomes very complicated to shoot best wildlife photographs
The competition in the wildlife photography is really high
One has to be stretchy and alert throughout the day
For any holiday in India especially a wildlife holiday, photography is an inevitable part of it. Thus if you are too ready for a wildlife safari tour then you must be prepared
accordingly after reading the plus and minus point as mentioned.
March 22, 2016
Taking a jeep safari in Tadoba National Park is like spending few days in an ambience where there is zero
pollution level and moreover it also offers a chance of meeting wild animals who are our wildlife
companion. Book Accommodation Tadoba tiger king Resort
Taking a jeep safari in Tadoba National Park is the most feasible option for those who want to discover
the beauty of the Tadoba National park. This jeep safari is no less than Tadoba jungle safari which takes
one in discovering the wilderness of Tadoba National Park. Jeep safari is indeed the safest way exploring
the national park since it keeps one away from all kinds of threat that comes with animals of the park
including tigers and other animals. The jeep safari is the best option to explore the park, however
wandering all alone can expose one to threats which may possibly occur.
The jeep safari gives one the chance of viewing the topography which is really liked by adventure lovers.
Although it is impossible for one to travel the entire forest and spot maximum animals but wandering in
the forest on feet is really tiring and risky as well.
Experienced guides who have experience in organizing such safari tours, they give guests a chance for
enjoying wildlife safari where guests can stare at the wild fauna and flora while sitting in the jeep. Who
ever chooses safari ride experiences the game view which are memories that will last for lifetime.
During this India wildlife safari a tourist can easily take seven to eight persons along with her/him.
These tourists will be escorted by trained guides who will accompany them throughout the journey
making them aware about the beauty of Tadoba which is simply amazing.
These trained guides are organized by renowned resort in tadoba who accompany the driver and guests
to take the jeep to a desired location in the forest.
These guides ensure that guests are far away from any possible threat and throughout the journey they are
conscientious enough for reacting to any unexpected danger. This type of safari tour where everything is
properly planned and arranged makes one experience the tour in the best possible manner. Such tour
makes one feel the thrill of wildlife which so far they have only heard and or read.
Tadoba National Park, the national park near Nagpur is the largest and most famous national park in
Maharashtra. The flora and fauna of this park is truly amazing, offers a complete relaxation zone to those
who need a break from the hustle and bustle of city life. Spending few days in this national park is no less
than health tonic for the body, mind and soul. One not only gets a chance to see tigers in India but also
gift oneself a chance to spend few days in the arms on Mother Nature where the ambience has zero
pollution level. The jeep safari in this national park is taking a joy ride and meeting wildlife companion
who are responsible for the survival of human beings.
February 21, 2016
1) The difference between a Leopard, a Jaguar, a Cheetah and a Panther. Are they all the same as the people tend to think?
-Certainly No, they aren’t the same. Here’s the difference:
Scientific Name: Panthera Pardus;
The leopard is the smallest of the four ‘big cats’ in the ‘Panthera’ family, along with tigers, lions and jaguars.
Differentiating Characteristic: They look similar to the jaguar, however they are smaller and lighter and the fur patterning is slightly different; on a leopard, the ‘rosettes’ (circular markings) are smaller and are more closely spaced, and don’t usually have
the black spots in the center of the rosettes like jaguars do. Leopards rosette pattern and overall color can vary slightly, however, depending on where they live.
Scientific Name: Panthera Onca;
Differentiating Characteristics: The jaguar is often confused with the leopard due to the markings on the coat. Jaguars are, however, heavier, larger and sturdier than leopards, and the ‘rosettes’ on their patterning are larger, less closely packed, and usually
have black dots in the centers.
Scientific Name: Accinonyx Jubatus
Differentiating Characteristic: The fur is short and coarse, and has a pattern of evenly spaced black spots.
There is no actual species called the panther, however ‘panther’ is a name given to either leopards or jaguars which are black in color due to an excess of the dark pigment melanin. They can also be referred to as melanistic leopards/melanistic jaguars.
The coat is almost completely black, however sometimes the rosette markings can just be seen if you look closely
2) What is the difference between a Crocodile and an Alligator?
A Crocodile has a V-shaped snout while an Alligator has a U-shaped, rounder snout.
When a Crocodile closes its mouth, the fourth tooth in its lower jaw can still be seen, which is not seen in an Alligator.
3) Difference between a Tortoise and a Turtle.
Dwells well on land;
Heavy, dome shaped shells;
Short and sturdy feet with bent legs.
Dwells well in the water;
Mostly flat, streamlined, light-weight shells;
Webbed feet with long claws.
December 28, 2015
Thank you for turning up and reading my article.
My love for wildlife was merely an accident. I along with a few friends just landed up at Ranthambore National Park, Sawai Madhopur Distt. Rajasthan India. This was a very unusual trip for me since i have always loved luxury and relaxing holidays, but little
did i knew that once i enter the forest lovingly called as Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, I instantly felt a strong connect with this place.
I hardly had any interest in wildlife and was doing absolutely nothing except for looking at a few deer's roam around and a few birds here and there and then to my surprise i was asked to sit back tight as the gypsy caught up with unusual adrenaline and it
seemed like i was on the last ride of my life.
For good two minutes i was rather angry for being there all covered by dust and splashes but than it all came to a halt and in a split second it changed my outlook for wildlife forever, A gigantic roar from across the bushes was enough to send chills down
my spine,lips sealed i looked to the other side of waters(Rajbagh Lake) and it was a sight to behold and treasure. A female tigress(T-19) aka Krishna showed up frowning towards the maddened rush of gypsy and canters, As a few hundred eyes lit up seeing the
beast walk around the bushes. It was an amazing thing to experience but what happened next was a mere dream.
The light started to fade away and as the tigress walked, from the bushes i heard another unusual sound and yes there it was a dream for many wildlife lovers, She was followed by 3 beautiful cubs. What more could you ask for, I stood admiring the beautiful
relationship of the mother and her 3 adorable cubs who walked beside her in a straight line unaware of surroundings and soon disappeared in the habitat i now know as Malik Talab at Zone no. 3 of RNP.
Amidst the hustle bustle of my daily life coming into a jungle where i could literally hear myself breath,inhaling that fresh crisp air that brought peace to my mind, a feeling of a different world, a glimpse of a relation of a mother and baby which wasn't
too different from real life human relations and that was the point RNP became a addiction and a wonderful 2nd home to me, I visit almost every month familiar to every Zone(1-10) and very familiar to almost all named tigers, May it be courageous story of T-16(Machli)
or the Ravishing T-24(Ustaad) or the hunkT-72(Sultan) and many family like names to me now.
Do love Nature, Protect Wildlife, Respect Animals and pledge to help make earth a better place for all to live in..!
October 01, 2015
The leopard in the above picture is the very embodiment of helplessness and misery. A young subadult, no more than 3 years old, it probably made its way from Rajasthan’s Kumbhalgarh National Park to Rajsamand district’s Sardul Kheda village, where its head
got stuck in a pot, probably while it was looking for water.
This story has a happy ending ; the villagers who found the shell-shocked leopard roaming around with its head trapped in the pot informed the Forest Department, whose personnel tranquilized the leopard and set it free in Kumbhalgarh’s forests.
But numerous incidents of leopard “straying” dont end in the same way; in June this year, a leopard that had entered Tatuarah village in West Bengal’s Purulia district was brutally killed and strung up on a tree. Its paws and tail were hacked off. In August,
another leopard was beaten to death in Assam’s Sivasagar, which has been a hub of man-leopard conflict for a long time.
The Purulia leopard, which met a grisly end.
Pic : deccanchronicle
According to estimates by the NTCA, India’s forests may host 12-14000 leopards,
though there is a lot of debate surrounding the veracity of this figure, as it is based on the arbitrary extrapolation of an estimated population of 7,910 leopards dwelling in tiger habitat.
One of Bandipur’s leopards, captured on a camera-trap unit.
Pic : Ullas Karanth
The most adaptable big cat, leopards are capable of residing in almost every conceivable type of habitat, ranging from the tropical evergreen forests of the Western Ghats and Arunachal Pradesh, to dry scrubland surrounding villages in Rajasthan and Gujarat,
and the tea gardens of Assam and North Bengal. Leopard-human conflict is extremely common, as more and more of them are forced to dwell cheek-by-jowl with humans who destroy their forests and hunt their prey. Panicked residents of cities and villages who spot
the big cat in their midst frequently attack it, without realising that the vast majority of leopards don’t see humans as prey. Untrained, under-equipped and overstretched forest department personnel are often forced to confront bloodthirsty mobs without police
support. The ever-increasing nature of human population means that such incidents are becoming more commonplace.
September 07, 2015
The boma in Chattisgarh’s Udanti Wildlife Sanctuary has a unique resident- Asha, one of Central India’s last wild buffaloes. At first glance, she looks strikingly similar to her domestic kin, but a closer inspection reveals the massive spread of her horns
and huge bulk, which are unmistakeable characteristics of the wild buffalo.
Asha’s proud ancestors would once have roamed across much of Central India and Northeastern India. The eminent hunter-naturalist Dunbar-Brander, writing in the 1920’s, wrote of their abundance in the forests east of Balaghat, with their biggest stronghold
Unfortunately, the wild buffalo’s range and population have undergone a massive contraction since. A survey in 2007 by the NGO
Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), estimated their total population in Central India as being less than 50 individuals. Indravati, home to the largest population ( of about 25-30 individuals) ,
was in the grip in left-wing extremism, and hence, no conservation programme could be taken up there. Udanti in Raipur district was found to have 7 wild buffaloes, of which only 1 was female. The decline has been particularly steep in recent times, since in
1993, Chattisgarh itself was believed to be home to around 250 buffaloes, with both Indravati and Udanti having approximately 100 individuals each. Healthy populations of these giant bovines continue to exist in quite a few Protected Areas in the Northeast,
such as Kaziranga, Manas and Dibru Saikhowa in Assam,
Balpakram in Meghalaya and Dayang Ering in Arunachal Pradesh.
A wild buffalo with its calf in Kaziranga National Park.
Pic : alamy.com
However, many of the Northeast’s 3000-3500 wild buffaloes are believed to have been adversely affected by interbreeding with their domestic kin, and the remaining populations are also threatened by the destruction of their wet grassland habitat and poaching.
Asha, with one of her calves, at Udanti.
Pic : Dr R.P Mishra, WTI
WTI, with the assistance of the Chattisgarh Government, swung into action immediately. A “Wild Buffalo Conservation Project” was framed. Conservation initiatives could be undertaken only in Udanti, as it was the only habitat of wild buffaloes which was free
of naxal violence at that time (sadly, naxals have extended their control over much of udanti, and neighbouring sitanadi, since 2009-10. However, attempts to conserve the wild buffalo continue).
Given the very low population in Udanti, conservationists were determined to prevent any unnatural deaths, which could lead to the extinction of the population there. A “boma”- an artificial enclosure was constructed for the last female buffalo of Udanti,
aptly named “Asha”, or hope. She has given birth four times since. Conservationists, however, could truly rejoice only when she gave birth to a female calf, named “Kiran” for the first time earlier this year. Her previous three calves had all been male. The
male calves grew up in the boma with her, before joining the herd, which spends most of its time in an adjoining grassland, with some boisterous males frequently visiting the adjoining villages to mate with the female domestic buffaloes there.
One of Asha’s calves gets a health check-up.
Pic : Dr R.P Mishra, WTI
Not wanting to take any chances, Karnal-based NDRI (National Dairy Research Institute) cloned Asha in January 2015, producing a female calf named “Deepasha”. These three females represent the last hope for Chattisgarh’s beleaguered wild buffaloes. Asha herself
is 13 years old, and a female wild buffalo is normally reproductively viable for about 15-17 years of her lifespan, which is usually 20-22 years.
Even though administrative apathy and a steady rise in naxal presence in the surrounding forests have stymied initiatives, several attempts have nonetheless been made to preserve the buffaloes of Udanti. These involve the inoculation of livestock residing
in fringe villages, the deweeding of grasslands, and the providing of incentives to villagers encouraging them to sell off domestic buffaloes, so that interbreeding between domestic and wild buffaloes, leading to a contamination in the genetic stock of the
latter doesn’t occur. Attempts are also being made to procure genetically pure wild buffalos from the Northeast to boost Udanti’s tiny population.
In spite of so many measures, however, the path ahead is still treacherous.
In 2009, a tiger reserve, covering 1,842 sq. km (with a core area of 851 sq. km) was eked out of Udanti and adjoining Sitanadi wildlife sanctuary. The Udanti-Sitanadi tiger reserve suffers from several management lacunae, however. These include a highly
complex administrative set-up which is not conducive to tiger conservation, with the Field Director’s office being located in distant Raipur. Moreover, protection infrastructure such as anti-poaching camps and vehicles for patrolling, is severely lacking.
The DFO’s managing these sanctuaries are often burdened with non-wildlife conservation related tasks, dealing with the management of the surrounding territorial forests. A massive overhaul of the protection mechanisms currently in place need to be carried
out by the State Government.
This will be very hard to carry out, however, given the ongoing naxal insurgency in the landscape. Udanti-Sitanadi should not be written off, however. Along with the contiguous Sunabeda-Khariar forests in western Odisha, it forms part of a compact forest
block extending over 3000 sq. km, which serves as an important habitat for many species of Central Indian flora and fauna. Proposals to denotify such “lesser” forests are based on a poor understanding of their ecological potential, and should not be acted
Tigers with cubs have been reported from Udanti and surrounding forests in recent times, and, for the first time, a tiger was camera trapped in 2014, an event which put to rest niggling doubts regarding the presence of tigers in the landscape.
A map of the Udanti-Sitanadi Tiger Reserve.
Pic : cgforest.com(Chhatisgarh Forest Department)
Attempts have also been made to conserve the other viable population of wild buffaloes in Central India, in the Indravati landscape. Indravati itself may be out of bounds to the Forest Department, but neighbouring Kolamarka, in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli
district, frequently plays host to a couple of herds. A 181 sq. km area in Kolamarka was declared a conservation reserve in 2013, for the conservation of wild buffaloes. Inspite of recurring incidents of naxal violence, a dedicated team, led by RFO Atul Deokar,
have been diligently monitoring the wildlife of the region, while undertaking numerous conservation initiatives with the help of the local villagers. Kolamarka is also an important habitat for Maharashtra’s state animal, the Indian giant squirrel (
Ratufa Indica). To sustain these initiatives, support from the State Government is key. Kolamarka’s forests are threatened by habitat destruction and poaching, and conserving the small wild buffalo population here (estimated at around 10-15 individuals),
will be a stiff challenge.
“Treasures of Kolamarka”-a book detailing the biodiversity of Kolamarka conservation reserve in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli and is a product of the untiring efforts of RFO Atul Deokar and his team.
Pic : RFO Atul Deokar
Of late, the Central Government has also taken an interest in wild buffalo conservation, with the buffalo being one of the five target species for which recovery programmes have been implemented. Moving these plans from the cramped confines of the bureaucrat’s
office to the field in the badlands of Udanti-Sitanadi is of the utmost essence.
The Central Indian wild buffalo has never received the same amount of conservation support as the tiger or the elephant, with the result that it is poised on the brink of extinction in a region that was once its historical stronghold.
Asha, the last adult female of Udanti, embodies the hope that the noble bovine will recover from the brink of extinction, and reclaim those forests which they once lorded over.
August 30, 2015
After filling up our boat with foodstuffs and water, we – myself, two forest guards, the owner of our launch, and his assistant, bid adieu to civilisation, leaving the small town of pakhiralay (located opposite to the entrance to sajnekhali wildlife sanctuary)
far behind, as we journeyed into the heart of the throbbing wilderness that constitutes the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve. This reserve, spread over 2,585 sq. km, is the only place in the world where wild tigers exist in a mangrove habitat. We were participating
in the initial phase of the quadrennial tiger census carried out by the NTCA (National Tiger Conservation Authority).
The world’s only mangrove tigerland.
Enumerating wildlife scientifically involves demarcating “transects”, or pathways, in the forest and then noting down signs and direct sightings of the various species which are encountered while the transect is being negotiated. In the sunderbans, the various
transects coincide with the innumerable creeks which dot the mangrove forests.
A map showing the transects in Panchamukhani block of Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary, STR.
Our transects lay mostly in the Panchamukhani and Pirkhali forest blocks, a part of the 362 sq. km Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary, which forms the north-western part of the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve.
We had to fill up several forms stating the time and GPS location of each of our sightings of the various species and their signs. At half-hour intervals, we also had to state details of the flora noticed- the various mangrove species encountered, how tall
they were, etc.
Such sheets needed to be filled diligently!!!
We negotiated each river bend in extreme caution, hoping to spot tigers at the very next one. Unfortunately, the big cat itself remained elusive. But tiger pugmarks were everywhere-we even saw the pugs of a tigress and her three cubs at a riverbank. Another
set of pugs appeared to belong to a mating pair. These are the welcome signs of a thriving population.
Pugmarks left by the king of the mangroves.
Not that this population isn’t affected by any threats, though. Man-animal conflict is a significant problem in the Sunderbans, for this is an ecosystem where man is still preyed upon by quite a few species- the Bengal tiger and the estuarine crocodile being
the foremost among them. We saw two crocodiles during our boat survey, however, they were extremely wary and rushed into the water as soon as they saw us.
An estuarine crocodile basks in the sun opposite the Nature Interpretation Center at Sajnekhali.
The vast majority of those who get killed by tigers and crocodiles in the Sunderbans are honey-collectors and fishermen. Crab fishing often yields fair returns, but it is an extremely dangerous occupation, which, sadly, the poorest of the poor have no option
but to take recourse to. Numerous ecodevelopment initiatives have been launched by the authorities in the fringe areas of the Sunderbans in the recent past; however, many people continue to remain heavily dependent upon the forest. Sometimes, poachers sneak
into the reserve in the guise of crab fishers. While the direct targeting of tigers for their skin and bones has never been a common occurrence in the Indian sunderbans, there should be no let up in vigil.
The fisherfolk of the Sunderbans.
Naturally, there are few permanent residences for the forest staff of the Sunderbans which lie on terra firma. Several boats have been converted to “floating anti poaching camps” , for more effective patrolling. Nevertheless, the average age of a forest
guard in the Sunderbans is 52 years, and several posts lie vacant.
After having met no humans during the first day of our survey, we stopped at the first floating camp we came across on the second day. The guards there told us that a tiger had crossed the creek where the camp lay only half an hour ago. And sure enough, we
saw his huge saucer-shaped pugmarks on the opposite shore.
Our next encounter with Homo sapiens was of a different kind, for a boatload of tourists chanced upon us, as we were headed off towards our next transect. They initially thought that we were an errant tourist-carrying boat that had strayed into a
part of the forests where tourists are forbidden to go!!!
On that very same transect, we came across a small herd of chital- some 4-5 members of the group were visible. Chital, or spotted deer, form the bulk of the tiger’s preybase in the sunderbans. Chital sightings in sunderbans are few and far between, since they
are heavily reliant upon the few fresh-water ponds which exist on the Sunderbans. Poaching for meat has also played a significant role in depressing their density, which, at 13.3 per sq. km (according to a WII survey), leaves a lot to be desired.
Chital form the bulk of the tiger’s preybase in the Sunderbans.
Tigers in the Sunderbans also prey on rhesus macaques, wild boar(of which there are few), and monitor lizards, some of which can grow up to 7-8 feet in length.
Rhesus macaques are commonly seen at Sajnekhali.
After 3 days, the hectic census finally came to an end, with our sheets full of data regarding the time and GPS location of each sighting of wildlife and their signs. Even though i am a novice birdwatcher, i was able to identify common sandpipers, great
egrets, ospreys, purple herons, golden orioles and 4 species of kingfishers- black-capped, brown-winged, small blue and white breasted, among others. The Sunderbans, with over 230 recorded species of birds, is a dream destination for a birdwatcher.
A common sandpiper.
Great egret (Ardea Alba).
The results of our hard work were made available a year later- 76 tigers were estimated to exist in the Indian Sunderbans, compared to 70 in 2010. The need of the hour is to strengthen conservation initiatives in the Sunderbans, especially when it comes
to patrolling and monitoring. The mangrove tigerland, with its enchanting habitat, fierce tigers, lurking crocodiles, and soaring egrets is a unique component of our natural heritage which deserves to be jealously protected forever.
Postscript : This article is a tribute to Panchanan Mondal and Ghosh Babu, those awesome forest guards whom i accompanied during the census, and whose dedication and knowledge was a source of inspiration. These brave foot soldiers of the Sunderbans
are doing a wonderful job in possibly the most inhospitable tiger landscape in the world- serving with dedication day in and day out, inspite of having lost colleagues to tiger attacks in the past.
I also thank Joydip and Suchandra Kundu, eminent Kolkata-based conservationists, for their help and support, and Subrata Mukherjee, the then field director of STR, and his team. May they receive all the support they so earnestly need, in their war
to protect the mangrove tigerland.