Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Leopards in Trouble

The worst news for nature lovers is the death of the big cats. Critically poised on brink of extinction the big cats are entirely at the mercy of the poachers, greedy and the developers. Habitat destruction and systemic hunting have been the major factors behind the endangerment of this species.   

The leopards survive in wider habitats as compared to the tiger. They are more likely to be found near human habitations even those devoid of forests. The enormous ability to survive should auger a good future but this is not so leopards are being killed at rapid pace in India. They are the greater victim of man animal conflict than the elder cousin.
Leopard Dharmagiri

Recently two leopard were found in the vicinity of Barhi Forests near Bandhavgarh National Park. The dead bodies were found in a spate of few days. This does not augur well since the pattern is suggestive of organized poaching. Though the post mortem reports and viscera analysis drown in the length of the time this repeated tragedy is suggestive of poaching gangs operating in and around the verdant forests of Bandhavgarh National Park.  

I have been visiting the Barhi Forests as a naturalist at Muchmucha Lodge since some time. The wildlife is impressive by all means though the forest face denudation near the villages in this area. 
Leopard Dharmagiri

Most of the tragedies are taking place due to callous attitude of those in charge, while some may be involved in the nexus. There have been cases of electrocution of animals including the tiger in Central Indian Tiger Reserves. These have been happening since a number of years but no substantial solution is in the place. All this points to total disregard  for our wild denizens and their habitats. Conserving wilderness in protected areas is not enough there should be concerted efforts to protect it irrespective of the status of land. 
         

Wild Dog at Kanha

Last season I saw a lone dhole or wild dog at Kanha Ghat and then near Indri Road. In my subsequent visits this animal was not sighted my be nor reported by anyone. Wild Dog are secondary carnivores and an important functionary of our jungle ecosystems.    

Being pack hunters they are generally found in pack of 12 to 14 sometimes larger. Hence the sight of single animal was a cause of worry. I was told that there was a pair that had probably stayed put for mating and breeding. 
Dhole Image by Dharmagiri
But the pack is always together, so was there a tragedy. A deadly disease could wipe of large populations of wild animals. This could have happened to wild dogs of Kanha. Last I heard of them was of their being seen on the Banzar River bridge on the way to Courtyard House on the Baihar Road.    

This year I sighted six dholes in the Mukki Zone the sight was exhilarating but I was expecting greater numbers. We missed sightings of wild dogs recently near Shravan Tal at Kanha Zone. I have no idea as of the moment of the population of this wild canid, hope it is stable. Being diurnal predators they are known to migrate locally.      

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Imprints: A Tiger on The Stroll

Kanha National Park - MP - India  

I could sense the excitement as we awaited the arrival of the General and his entourage at Kisli Rest House. The alarm cries were emanating from the Karai Ghati Road. We were assigned the Kanha Zone and I thought it would be a good idea to explore Dig Dola passageway that leads to Karai Ghati.  

The General and his family arrived and the jeep began to move. As we reached the Dig Dola Road alarm cries from the valley on the left signaled presence of the tiger. Assuming that the tiger had already climbed uphill we proceeded towards Dig Dola. 
The General At Courtyard House Kanha

No sooner had we proceeded few yards we came across fresh pug marks. "Tiger moving ahead," I whispered to the guide. We continued to move further along the side of the pug marks. From the placement of the imprints I could make out that the big cat is on a leisurely stroll.   

The General and has family had never seen a tiger on the wild. "There it is," the guide whispered, needless to point out the big cat was right on the middle of the road, a bit surprised by the intrusion. Cameras began clicking as the tiger moved on the road.

A big male tiger, I could make out that it was Kankata. The tiger was on a recce and as it moved it squirted pheromones along the track on the bamboo leaves. I was observing the imprints as the animal trudged ahead. 

The tiger's movement is known as a digitigrade movement since it walks on its digit. The actual foot pad is way high up on the hind legs up to where the fifth toe. Using this incredible appendage the animal moves absolutely silent amidst the dense forests and grasslands.     

Much to our delight the big cat trudged along the Dig Dola Road for quite some time. On the way he came across imprints of a tigress and began to scent. We hoped to see the tiger meeting the tigress but if wishes were tigers I would roar. 

After some time the tiger moved into the dense thickets and we proceeded to Kanha Meadow. Their wish fulfilled the General and his entourage sat down to replenish themselves with a hearty breakfast.      

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Wildlife Photography at Pench

Alexandrine Parakeet

Tiger in Bush

Gaur

Wild Dog on Road

Wild Dogs

Indian Courser

Indian Silver Bill

Indian Wolf

Langur

Panther

Panther

Leopard By Mrs..Kavita

Leopard by Nikhil Kirtane

Plain Tiger Butterfly

Forest Clotes

Russel's Viper

Pench Safari Elephants

Spotted Deer

Tigre

By Chitanya Tours - Tiger

Cub Tiger

Tiger Cub on Kill - Dharmagiri

Tiger Family

Tigerinwaterhole - By Mr.Aparajit

Tigers on Kill - Dharma

Tribal Dance

Tribal Dance at Pench Courtsey Hotel in Pench

Mr.BagalKote - Pench Dholes

Dhole at Pench

Tiger Photography at Pench by Sanjay Tijre










Some excellent photography of tigers and wildlife life at Pench Tiger Reserve by Sanjay Tijre based in Chhindawara near by.