Sunday, February 4, 2018

Wild Odyssey in India

Kanha National Park

Guests at Courtyard House

Mark & Karin Anger ; France
Denise Anfrui : France 

The drive was high in expectation a wild odyssey was in making as we boarded the taxi at Jabalpur Station and drove towards Kanha National Park. The enthusiasm of the visitors was palpable from their looks and they expected me to deliver which I did.

The guests were expecting to see some Central Indian wildlife after a visit to Gir National Park in Gujarat to see the Asiatic Lion.  

The next part of the journey was few days at Bera the popular leopard habitat in Rajasthan in Western India. 

The Kanha trip was a great success with excellent tiger sightings, bird watching and other enchanting mammals. 

Here are some of the images sent by Denise Anfrui.  

Monday, June 5, 2017

Tiger Safari Videos - India

Tiger safari video - Tigress at Link 8 Kanha National Park

Massive Male Tiger at Waterhole - Kanha National Park - Kisli Zone

 Legendary Munna Male Tiger at Kanha National Park in India

Early Morning Encounter Tigeress at Kanha National Park

Friday, May 19, 2017

Conservation Ethos in India - Impact of Vedas

With the passing away of Mr. Anil Dave a seasoned politician and river conservation enthusiast a great loss has occurred. The loss is not of a political party alone, it is a serious setback for the conservation in India.     

Albeit the scope of river conservation (NCRD) under the ministry of Environment and Forests is greater with inclusion of lakes and other water bodies. It nevertheless points out to the value system we uphold in this country. 

Most rivers in India have always had a holy status with the usual connotation of "mother." The connotation does not point out towards the belief as being illogical it should be seen in wider perspective. This is a shrewd way of according importance to an element of ecological importance. The credit goes to the Vedic system which originated about five thousand years back during the peak of Indus Valley Civilization in India.

As Indians we should believe in the system as Vedas have had an indelible impact on our lives since time immemorial. Likewise the connotation specifying things as motherly or holy are used in many instances especially elements which are of ecological importance like, trees, animals, reptiles, birds and others. 

Hence the status Mother or Holy is applicable to Ganges or Narmada since they played a significant role in upbringing ancient civilizations in the country...they still do. Such connotations just act as a subtle means of adding value. The Vedic civilization has been instrumental in creating such a value system during it's prevalence all over India. The value system is logical address to creation of cultural values rather than being religious in nature.          

Whatever may be the causes of degradation of environment in India. An impressive shred of environmental degradation is history of imperialism, the impact has also been brought about by our greed, ill planned land use and rabid industrialization. 

The negative impact has been mitigated by this value system to a good extent. By this I mean there is still hope for saving the tiger and other species, cleaning the polluted rivers, regenerating niche ecosystems, and bringing about responsible change how we govern the country and our society.  

The ethos of Vedic System is ingrained in our psyche consciously or otherwise, It is perpetually instrumental in auguring us towards a more conservation oriented approach vis a vis nature. The results of impact are obvious whence we take into consideration the efforts being made towards conservation of animals, birds, rivers, habitats and environment as whole in the country.      

The ancient Vedic civilizations in India were fully cognizant of impact of environmental degradation on our lives. It was well known since ages that human activities could cause disruptions in weather patterns, temperature, rainfall and agriculture. The ancient scriptures contain references to aspects of ecological importance and how to prevent damage and augur forth a positive impact.

With all the knowledge stored in ancient treatise we should be at the forefront of conservation and hence climate change in the World. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Searching For Tigers

My First Tiger Sighting

With trepidation, my heart thumping madly I got on to the hawdah tied on the back of the elephant. The contraption made of thin steel rods and a wooden plank was nowhere near to the assurance I needed on my first jungle adventure.   

I was at Kanha National Park sometime back in the early seventies. We were on the way to see a tiger. The ride on the pachyderm was anything but comfortable as it trudged past bushes and grass in the rugged terrain. I had a tough time tackling bamboo clumps that brushed past us like sharp edged swords. The elephant, huge as they come was in intense conversation with the mahaut oblivious of us on its torturous back. 

Tigress - Uday Patel

As a young lad I had been introduced to forests quiet early. My family was in bidi business and every year there was a visit to Central Indian Jungles in order to purchase tendu leaves.   

This was my first ride on an elephant and quiet an unnerving experience it was. The mahuat pointed out to a big cat painted yellow black and white sitting beside a shallow water body in bright sunlight.   “Tigress,” he called out and then went silent. I could feel the fear rising higher within me. The cat sat listlessly and did not even bother to look at us. 

So this was the much touted tiger, the King of the jungle. A terrible roar and a charge was what I was expecting from huge animal. They did not arrive. Man killer, blood thirsty, ferocious all deadly notions started to flood my mind. But the nonchalance and the ease with which the tigress sat amidst the humans grouped around her changed by views. She was at peace with herself and the surroundings. This set to ease trepidation within me and my notions about this magnificent predator changed dramatically. Over the years I came to understand the tiger as part of an ecosystem which was connected to the environment upon which we all depend. That day I had become a tiger lover.   

My brother clicked from his simple black and white camera. The photo was a pride possession and it decorated the walls for a number of years.          

Interview: Mr.Sanjay Shukla Park Director Kanha National Park

Interview: Mr. Sanjay Shukla - Field Director Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh. Interesting answers on questions posed by Last Wilderness Organization based in India

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Dryland Forests

Scarcity of trees defines these water scarce forests. Most of these in India are heavily populated or have number settlements which have contributed to their mistaken classification as urban land. Relatively low density of trees makes it difficult to classify them as forests. But nevertheless they contribute to ecosystems with carbon absorption capacity. 

The dryland forests are generally classified as arid or hyper arid and contain varying degree of water and floral elements. These type of forests are widespread and due to weak tree cover are often usurped by settlers, urban colonizers and by industries. 

Water scarcity in these biomes does not mean complete absence of water rather the crucial element is present on surface. The biodiversity does support million of people. 

Ironically most arid tropical forests have turned into dryland after severe deforestation in countries like India.  Most of the agriculture takes place by using stored surface water during a suitable period.

It would be interesting to study wildlife prevailing in arid conditions. Most of the open country mammals and birds should be present in the dryland forests.

Interesting Reading on Dryland Agro Forestry 

Global Warming & It's Impact

Also termed as climate change, the phenomena revolves around rising temperatures and unnatural disasters caused as a result. Earth is in ever in a state of evolution due internal geological and external atmospheric changes, these by all means are slow and study. The effect appears after passing of millions of years which may not be much as per historical timescale but is significant whence human history is concerned. 

But the geological changes are in no way related to climate change vis a vis human activities. The factors that affect climate on Earth and fetch about unwarranted changes are all man made. The unwarranted changes are rising temperatures, drought, deluge, rise in sea levels, desertification, extreme weather, melting of ice in the polar regions and disasters that bring about harrowing misery. These happenings are some how related to widespread disease prevalence among the young, occurence of rare virus disease, physical deformities  and so on. Global warming may also result in species extinction.  Hydro-meteorological disasters result in famine and hunger giving rise to poverty.         
The impact of this change differs from region to region, and it is not universal. Earth practically exists in a state of equilibrium where composition of air, water, climate, geography and resources make life sustainable. In return life also sustains abiotic elements in order to assist in maintaining an equilibrium. This is a complex web which humans have to understand and respect in order to survive on this planet.  We gauge the environment on the basis of it's support to life. This means stable conditions should exist without any untimely disruption such that life may flourish.

Some of the external forcings out of human purview are changes in solar luminosity, high volcanic activities, disastrous meteoric activities. changes in atmospheric composition brought about by the emission of greenhouse gases can also effect sustainability of life on Earth.   

Since the industrial revolutions in most part of the World, the emission of greenhouse gases like Co2, Ozone, vapours and methane has rising dramatically and continues to do so.  It is essential to repeat this in the article that fossil fuels and deforestation are two major factors responsible for this anomaly in the Earth's systems. But there are certain non fuel chemical process responsible for climate change as well albeit to a lesser scale.   

What can we do?
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an organization that is supported by many countries with the objective of mitigating or preventing anthropogenic climate changes.  

Reduction in harmful emissions brought about resorting to fossil fuels, prevention of destruction of forests and other natural lands is important in order to fetch stability in the climate. The use of alternative energy although in a nascent stage can also assist by reducing dependency on fossil fuels and thereby reducing emissions. Sustainable use of natural resource help us leave a better carbon footprint profile. We as responsible citizens can aid tremendously here by conserving energy.     

Increase in industrial production and unchecked population growth are factors responsible for high levels of C02 emissions. These are the factors we can control. 

As technology advances hopefully greater impetus will be accorded to prevent disastrous climatic changes on Earth.  

For extensive reading visit Wikipedia Article on Global Warming.