A Rhino Eating Tiger

You must have heard or read stories about tigers transforming into man eaters and preying on humans. But a tiger changing into a rhino eater is an unusual thing and Dudhwa, one of the most prominent national parks in India, has been witnessing this uncommon incident of rhino eating for a few months now. Recently a tiger sneaked into the territory marked for rhinos and killed an adult 34 years old female. Has it been only a killing, the incident would not sound so weird. The tiger also ate “Pavitri”, the female rhino who was brought to Dudhwa from Assam around three decades back at a tender age of only 5.

A tiger in one of the wild India tours

Getting the taste of a new delicacy

Rhino in a wild India tour

I never thought they could eat me

This was the fifth incident of a tiger attacking a rhino in recent times. No matter how fearless a tiger is elephants and rhinos are generally off the limits. Give credit to their sizes or some other hidden factor, a tiger usually restrain himself from attacking these two mighty creatures. They may attack and kill younger calves but tigers seldom get into a battle with fully grown adult rhinos as the size and strength of these creatures empower them to defend themselves. Attacking adult rhinos is against the normal hunting pattern, said by the officials in Dudhwa.

Since the incident took place officials started analyzing and identifying reasons, could it be the shrinking prey base in the national park or is there any other reason which is not apparent right now. Officials are also trying to find out why the adult female rhino could not defend herself. Was she incapacitated?

Whatever be the reasons or findings, the truth is that a member of a rapidly endangering species killed which could have been avoided

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What to Do and What to Avoid on A Safari

The season has started and I am sure many of you have planned a safari trip on this coming New Year. Some of you might have booked a wildlife tour package. I thought I should give you some Do’s and Don’ts based on my wildlife experience to make your trip better. So here goes the list –

Dos

Respect locals – Even if you don’t like their appearance or anything else, you have to respect the locals. Don’t be obnoxious. Respect their beliefs, culture, language or clothes. You might have an opinion about everything but that is for you to discuss in your rooms back in the hotel. Don’t say anything in front of them which might hurt their feelings.

Read before you go – Once you have already zeroed in on the place for your safari, try to get as much information as you can, about the place and the species you are going to find there. This will make you feel more connected.

Listen to your guide – So you have read it all and now know everything about the place, still for the sake of others, listen to what your guide has to say. He is more experienced and has conducted real safaris. Whatever he says has an underline motive of either to ensure your safety or to improve your experience. So you better listen to him without arguing.

Keep your mobiles in silent mode – I know you are busy and have unfinished business for which you need to be constantly updated. There is a simpler way of doing this. Do not go on a safari, stay in your office instead. The unusual sound of your mobile phone may irritate the wilds and make them uncomfortable.

Leave no trace – Jungle is a delicate ecosystem and the life of these wild animals depends on its proper balance. Do not treat these jungles as you treat your city. Do not litter and leave no trace behind. This is the least you can do since the humans are already invading and seizing the land once belonged to these poor wild creatures.

——————————————————————————————-

Donts

Clothing restrictions – I know you love bright colors. Everyone does. But a jungle is not the right place to flaunt your wardrobe. Wear neutral colors as flashy and bright colors might get unwanted attention from the animals. Do not wear animal prints. Leave these prints to the animals, at least in the jungle.

Don’t take kids along – If you want to show big wild animals to your kids, safari is not the right place. Take them to the zoo. Children have this tendency of shouting and making noises when excited or scared. These noises can make the animal feel threatened. He might run away or god knows what the animal decides to do.

Do not try to feed the animals – Yeh, they are cute and beautiful. Yet they are wild. You have to control the urge to feed them.

Do not take food on a safari – Feed yourself well before starting a safari. Taking food along is not a good idea. The smell of food can attract wild monkeys and baboons to your vehicle and I am sure you don’t want that.

Do not get out of your safari vehicle – You are safe till you are inside your vehicle. It is as simple as that, so stay there. I know, you want yourself clicked with that cute deer or that picturesque tree, but you have to compromise on that. Even for the nature’s call, you have to tell and ask permission from your guide.

Do not be in a rush – You are on a safari trip in a jungle. You are not on a trip to the local zoo. You cannot decide what to see first and when. If you don’t have patience, you are not meant for a safari. Go to a beach trip instead.

These suggestions are taken out from our experience of conducting and organizing wild India tours over all these years. If you want a safe and enjoyable trip to the jungle, I advise you to follow these points mentioned above.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Territorial Fight Between B2 and Kalwa in Bandhavgarh

Tiger is a reserve animal and is famous for its solitary lifestyle. A tiger is so fond of its solitude that it establishes and maintains a range. A range, which can be called its kingdom, can cover an area as large as 100 sq. km. A tiger never tolerates the presence of another tiger within its range and if it happens, territorial disputes are usually solved by displays of intimidation rather than aggression. The weaker tiger accepts its defeat by rolling on to its back and showing its belly in a submissive manner. Once dominance is established, a tiger may allow the subordinate to stay within its range. The scenario only gets ugly when a matter related to a female is involved. Following are three clips we recorded few years back during one of our wild India tours in Bandhavgarh, depicting territorial fight between B2* (The most dominating tiger in Bandhavgarh at that time) and Kalwa (another tiger trying to get into the territory marked by B2). In the end, Kalwa accepted its defeat by rolling onto its back, just as mentioned above.

* B2 was a powerful and the most photographed tiger in the history of Indian Safaris. B2, died in November 2011 at an age of 14, was the son of Charger (The most dominating tiger who put Bandhavgarh on the Safari map and died at an age of 18 in 2000).

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Big 3 Cats of Indian Jungles

I have been to a thousand jungle expeditions and wildlife tours; I have escorted thousands of people to the safari. People have different objectives and expectations with a single similarity which I have found regardless of the duration of stay, nationality of the enthusiast or any other factor. That is to spot, observe and click the big 3 cats of the jungles. The other similarity I found through all these years is that in quest for the big 3, people sometimes overlook or ignore other things which might be equally interesting if not more. This obsession of people led me to think about writing on the most elusive group of animals found in national parks in India.

The Asiatic Lion – The largest cat known to the mankind. They are also called the Indian Lion and are similar to the African lion in built and structure. There was once a time when these cats are common to be found in jungles of West and Central India but unfortunately their number is decreasing rapidly (only 400 odd left as per the last census) and now Gir (Gir Forest National Park) in Gujrat is their only habitat. For all those poor souls who cannot think about going to Africa, Gir is their only chance to watch these mighty creatures in action. Females of this species are quite social and live in groups called prides while male likes to wander alone and would only come near a pride for mating purpose.

Lion Safari India

Male Asiatic Lion

Royal Bengal Tiger – Another prominent member of the cat family, found in Indian sub continent. This is the most numerous Tiger subspecies and the paradox is that they are on the verge of extinction. You can now imagine the state of other species. Bengal tiger usually has black and white strips with a known mutant version, white tiger, which has been seen in near Asam. India has around 1700 tigers scattered around different Tiger reserves. There are more than 50 tiger reserves in the country and Sundarban in West Bengal is the biggest among them with a total tiger population of more than 250 so if you want to spot a tiger without much effort, your chances are always better in this park. Tiger is the least social species of the group with every adult hunting alone and leading a solitary life having only a minimal interaction with others.

Tiger Safari India

Royal Bengal Tiger

Leopard – The third big cat found in India is Leopard. It is smaller than the other members of this group. The prominent place to spot an Indian leopard is Sariska National Park in Alwar, Rajasthan. Apart from the regular, normal leopard, India also has two other varieties of this cat: Snow leopard and Clouded leopard, both found in the Himalayan region. If you desire to watch these rare cats in action, you have to go to the Snow Leopard Conservancy in Laddakh.

Clouded Leopard

Clouded Leopard

Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard

Indian Leopard

Indian Leopard

These are the three main cats, watching whom is a dream of every wildlife lover and a must do thing in the itineraries of all wildlife tours in India.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Whatever you do, just don’t run!

I know I have copied the exact title of Peter Allison’s book. But since this post is about his book only, I couldn’t find a better and more apt title than what I have already used. It is not every day you come across a good book written on wildlife safaris but when you do, your desire to wander across the jungles gets higher with every chapter. “Whatever you do, just don’t run” is one such book.  Allison has poured his decade long experience of operating wildlife tours in this humorously written memoir.

Wild India Tour

Tiger near a safari jeep

Every guide has thousand stories to tell about jungles, animals, expeditions, superstitions, dreams and nightmares. The job might seem repetitive but the beauty lies in the stochastic nature of work. A guide might be trailing the same path every day, chasing the animals in the same zone or exploring the same jungle, but his day is always different than the previous one. This book tells how amusing that experience can be on one hand while being emotionally drenched on the other but one thing you will definitely notice about the writer, he is in love with animals and nature. This love gets reflected throughout the book in sentences such as,

Like every other guide or wildlife lover who is eventually eaten or trampled, I felt I had a bond with this herd that would make me safe with them”.

Allison talks about the attachment guides have with animals and how even the wildest species become predictable to them. He writes about emotions guides feel when some animal, which they fondly named, gets killed.

“Salvador’s daughter turned her head slightly and looked at me, her eye expressing wisdom I have found in few humans. Then she withdrew her head, the branch fell back, and I heard Salvador say, “Let’s go.”

Wildlife Trip India

Safari jeeps trailing tigers

Allison has been organizing and leading tours for more than 13 years now and his knowledge gets reflected in his writing. Such as the following statement, this can only be written by the person who has observed giraffes for years.

“I explained to the group that giraffes are at their most vulnerable to lions when they lean down to drink, so they do everything they can to conserve water — including a biological process that leaves their piss thick and honey like”.

Albeit this book is more of a collection of stories rather than an organized memoir still this is by far the most entertaining travelogue of recent times. At times Allison’s style might seem to be influenced from Gerald Durrell (who wrote ‘A zoo in my luggage’). The backdrop of this book is Botswana, Africa where Allison has spent his entire career as a safari guide but most of the instances, facts and stories hold true for Indian context as well. A guide who has been organizing Indian wildlife tours or jungle safari in India would have written similar stories or pointed out similar instances.

In a nut shell, this is a good book for you, irrespective of whether you are a wildlife enthusiast, an armchair traveler or a regular guy looking to know about safaris and wildlife.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Assimilating Wild India…

We have been indulged in Indian wildlife tours for more than a decade now. We have seen it all and we have done it all. From the meadows of Kanha to the adventurous Corbett, from the glorious Ranthambore to the astounding Bandhavgarh, we have chased animals and explored the wilderness. After facilitating and escorting more than 5000 people from around 50 nationalities through the dense & dark jungles in different parts of this beautiful country, we can now claim to know the wild better than anyone else. Hence we decided to share this knowledge/exuberance with the people willing or planning or thinking to explore the jungles.

There are already numerous blogs on the net writing about the same topic we have chosen.  Albeit we believe there is a lot more to write and tell about the places, we would be focusing more on our journeys than the destinations. We would be writing about all the fun and challenges we have taken up during a safari. We will write about our own experience, our own stories.

An avid traveler, a photographer, a naive software engineer or an enthusiastic student, you could be anyone out there with a deeo desire to explore the jungles and this blog would definitely help you creating a fascinating image of Indian wildlife before you actually go there. You could be an armchair traveler or a nomadic photographer, this journal of ours would act as a reference for your safari in India.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment