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Found 15 results

  1. Aap Ne Baagh Dekha? Definitely the most important phrase we learned on this trip. The answer, btw, is yes, 17/16/15. Hint: Could have something to do with: The Tiger definitely is my most favourite animal, and so it was quite a logical decision to do a return trip to India. Africa may have "wilder" parks, may have more diversity of larger mammals. But it doesn´t have the tiger. Simple as that. For that reason alone India will always be a fantastic destination for any animal lover, and certainly one I will return to time and time again. Especially since there´s so much more to see than just the king of the jungle. A unique culture and timeless monuments: Splendiferous birdlife: Abundant "regular" animals like deer and monkeys: Very rare and elusive creatures: Impressive giants: All three from Kaziranga, a most special and wonderful place in Eastern India´s Assam. And the place which was the reason for this trip to be a very "Safaritalky" one. A team-up of "Mrs. Trip Report" @@Atravelynn , secret lurker @@AndMic and my humble self. (And yes, Lynn and me will be sharing trip report duties on this one.) Our interest in seeing this extraordinary stronghold of the Indian Rhino brought us together. Andrew, Lynn and yours truly on the banks of the Brahmaputra. All started here, btw: That´s what they try to tell you in Central India´s parks, Kanha, Pench and Tadoba in our case. But no need to worry ... let´s just say good things happen to those who travel with Lynn.
  2. India was only a vague thought in my mind--"someday"! I knew I wanted to see tigers, and the myriad of new birds, but it all seemed so foreign and daunting to plan; even more daunting to try to navigate it on our own. I figured that when we finally did go to India, we'd have to go with a group tour, which is really not our style. I'd researched group birding tours, and even inquired about some. But then one day I read the wonderful trip report "Stripes of Wild India" from @@Atravelynn and @@michael-ibk. Maybe, just maybe, it was more feasible and easier than I thought to do India privately? With dreams of tigers and dhole I contacted Wild World India, who had planned Lynn and Michael's trip as well as those of several other SafariTalkers. I did not even bother contacting any other agency as it all fell together so quickly and easily with Vikram of WWI. The price was surprisingly reasonable, much less per day than an Africa trip. At first I had only planned on the central tiger reserves: Tadoba, Kanha, and Bandhavgarh. But after much (well not that much!) deliberating we decided to do Kaziranga as well; which meant cutting out one tiger reserve. In the end, I was a complete copycat and essentially booked the same trip as Lynn and Michael with just a couple of less days! And I arranged to have the same highly recommended guides that Lynn and Michael had used: Rajan in Central India, and Tarun at Kaziranga. Within just a couple of weeks it was all settled! Our itinerary was: Day 01/17 Feb 2016/Wed: Arrive Delhi (City tour) (we arrive at 1 in the morning) : Sheraton 4 Points Day 02/18 Feb 2016/Thu: Fly Delhi to Nagpur, drive to Tadoba : Svasara Jungle Lodge Day 03 to 05/19 to 21 Feb 2016/Fri to Sun: Tadoba Tiger Reserve Day 06/22 Feb 2016/Mon: Drive Tadoba to Pench: Tuli Tiger Corridor Day 07/23 Feb 2016/Tue: Pench Tiger Reserve Day 08/24 Feb 2016/Wed: Drive Pench to Kanha: Tuli Tiger Corridor Day 09 to 11/25 to 27 Feb 2016/Thu to Sat: Kanha Tiger Reserve Day 12/28 Feb 2016/Sun: Drive Kanha to Jabalpur, Fly Delhi: Sheraton 4 Points Day 13/29 Feb 2016/Mon: Fly Delhi to Guwahati, Drive to Kaziranga: Wild Grass Lodge Day 14 & 15/1 & 2 Mar 2016/Tue & Wed: Kaziranga Day 16/3 Mar 2016/Thu: Drive Kaziranga to Guwahati, Fly Delhi & Departure It was all arranged so that we would not miss any game drives during the weekly park closings; we would be traveling during those periods. Perfect! Our arrival via JFK-->Amsterdam-->Delhi on Delta/KLM went smoothly and more or less on time, and we were met cheerfully at the airport by Wild World India's representative, Abishek. By the time we arrived at the Sheraton 4 Points, it was close to 3 a.m. and needless to say we were ready to fall into bed. But, alas, that was not to be because apparently the Sheraton did not have our reservation, and no rooms available! After much argument by Abishek (who assured us it had been booked and paid for and reconfirmed earlier that day--and I believed him 100%) they still could not come up with a room, and so we were shuttled off to the Ibis Hotel. This would not have been a big deal except that it was now past 4 a.m. We were due to be picked up at 9:30 for the Delhi tour, but we moved it up to 10:30 so we could get at least a little much needed rest. An inauspicious start, but honestly that was the only minor "hitch" on the entire trip, and the Sheraton made up for it later... After breakfast at the Ibis, were picked up by our guide for our Delhi tour. First stop was the Qutub Minar complex, a 13th century World Heritage site of . I'll spare you the history lesson but for those interested you can read about it here: A very picturesque archeological site of minarets and mosques. The Qutub Minar itself is the tallest brick minaret in the world. The carvings on the columns are intricate and beautiful. Love the layers of colors The famous Iron pillar of Delhi supposedly never rusts, due to its composition. Its origin is somewhat in debate. For those of you waiting for wildlife, we saw our first Indian mammal here, the Three-striped Palm Squirrel as well as our first Indian life-bird, the Rose-ringed Parakeet. Little did we know how ubiquitous they would be!
  3. I came to know about this sanctuary in 2005, when I had gone to Guwahati – the Capitol of State of Assam to attend a marriage. But could not visit the sanctuary as it was closed on account of rainy season. During my visit to Dudhwa National Park in 2010, I gathered that the seed population of one horned Rhinoceros at Dudhwa originated from Pobitora wildlife sanctuary in 1984. It was in March - April 1984 that 5 rhinoceros were trans-located to south Sonaripur Range in Dudhwa from Pobitora. This year I got an opportunity to visit Pobitora wildlife Sanctuary on 18th may 2016. No doubt the park was closed for the tourist from 1st of May, but they allowed me to visit being an avid wildlife enthusiast. I was accompanied by a forest guard. From the road side we could see a number of rhinoceros grazing in the grassland. There were two mothers with their calves. A number of wild buffalos were too grazing as well as standing in deep water. One could only see their large horns above the water surface. Pobitora is famous for great Indian One horned Rhinoceros. There are about 120 rhinos at present, it was recently in news as a number of rhinoceros were trans-located to Manas National Park in Assam. Other animals found in this park are leopard. Wild boar, wild buffalo, barking deer to name a few. It is also a home to more than 200 migratory birds during winters as well as reptiles. It is an important birding area. Although official area is about 38 Sq. Kms, but rhino habitat is just confined to 16 Sq. Kms. On account of rains during the last one month the rhinos had moved away from the road. At a time we could see about 12 of them from the road side in the big area before us. Pobitora is hardly 50 Kms from Guwahati. This is the nearest place where one can see rhinos in its natural habitat. It takes about one hour from the city. The route from Guwahati has scenic beauty and is also full of greenery. During my round in the Inspection bungalow, I could capture black hooded golden oriole in flight. A broad tailed black drongo also showed its colors. A spotted dove was seen in courtship and gave fantastic shots. The trip was hardly for a few hours but it was a memorable one. It is worth visiting, during the winters; when a large number of migratory birds make a transit home for a few months.
  4. Can anyone help with an ID on this raptor seen in Kaziranga National Park? My first thought was Changeable Hawk Eagle and that's what I have listed, but now I'm not so sure. The feathering just doesn't match any other images I've Googled, and the eye should be much brighter yellow, even given the dim light. Any other thoughts? This is just a briefly processed photo for ID purposes only
  5. Indian rhino Vision 2020 is aiming to increase the population of Assamese rhinos to a number of 3000 by 2020. The plans are to secure existing populations (Kaziranga, Pobitora, Orang), de-saturate over-populated areas such as Pobitora, and go on with relocation programs. The first Phase was considering relocation of rhinos to Manas National Park in Bodoland, close to the frontier with Bhutan. 18 rhinos were reintroduced from Pobitora and Kaziranga, a further 8 rescued rhinos were released between 2008 and 2013. If poaching hit the park in 2013, the population is still increasing and plans are to stop reintroduction by now to increase security in the park. There would be 31 rhinos by 2015 at Manas. The second phase was launched on March 29, with the reintroduction of 2 rhinos to Laokhowa-Burachapori Wildlife sanctuary, located 40 km downstream Kaziranga. The mother and the calve was release in a coma to help them aclimate to the new place, further 4 rhinos are planned to come in the coming months. Dibru-Saikhowa National Park is another place in Eastern Assam where a new rhino population could be bred in the future.
  6. All the recent additions to the Show us Your Elephants thread got me thinking about adding some of the photos of Asian elephants I've taken in various places but rather than add them there I felt it would be appropriate to start a new thread. So if anyone has photos or videos of elephants taken anywhere in Asia, please add them here. The Asian Elephant Elephas maximus was once distributed from Syria in the West (until 100bc) to Vietnam in the East and from Northern China south to Indonesia. Now only scattered populations remain in India, Sri Lanka and South East Asia aside from being extinct in West Asia they have also become extinct in nearly all of China with just 300 or so remaining in the far south in Yunnan, they’re also extinct on the Indonesian Island of Java. Somewhere in between 2,000 to 3,000 of the subspecies Elephas maximas sumatranus still survive on the island of Sumatra and around 1,500 so called Bornean Pygmy elephants survive in the Malaysian province of Sabah on the island of Borneo with perhaps just a further 80 in the neighbouring Indonesian province of Kalimantan. According to local legend Borneo’s elephants were introduced to the island in the 18th century by the Sultan of Sulu, though this might seem very unlikely, at the time it was not unusual for domestic elephants to be shipped from one place to another. However recent genetic analysis seems to have disproved this theory indicating that Borneo’s elephants have been separated from the those on Sumatra for around 300,000 yrs and are therefore clearly of Bornean origin. Although if this is the case and they’ve been on Borneo for that length of time it’s remarkable that they appear to have only ever occupied a relatively small of North-eastern Borneo and that no fossil remains of elephants (or virtually none) have been found on Borneo. This has led to the intriguing idea that the Sultan of Sulu legend could in fact be true that elephants are of introduced origin but that they were brought from Java where elephants are now extinct. At present their exact origins have not been determined for certain but what is clear is that they are unique to Borneo and that the name pygmy elephant is a misnomer as they are in fact on average no smaller than Asian elephants found on the mainland in West Malaysia. Presumed Extinct Javan Elephants May Have Been Found Again In Borneo Asian elephants are in decline everywhere their total population is often put at somewhere between 40-50,000 but really this is no more than a guess and the higher figure is almost certainly an over estimate. More on Asian elephants Unfortunately whoever created this IUCN redlist range map forgot to include the Borneo population While the total remaining elephant population is not known what is known is that at least 50% of them are in India and one of the largest populations of Indian elephants Elephas maximus indicus is in the south west. One of the best places to see them there is from a boat on Periyar Lake in Periyar NP in Kerala.
  7. Many visitors to Africa when they see buffaloes make the mistake of calling them water buffaloes so I thought it was time to have a thread on true water buffaloes. The water buffalo Bubalus bubalis is an Asian species that originally may have occurred from Mesopotamia in the West all the way to China and in much of South Asia and South East Asia it is best known as a domestic farm animal. Water buffalo were domesticated on at least two separate occasions in India around 5,000 years ago and in China about 4,000 years ago. Two different forms the river buffalo and the swamp buffalo have given rise to numerous different breeds which have spread across Asia westwards to south Eastern Europe, Italy and also Egypt, Libya and Tunisia in North Africa. Water buffalos are also extensively farmed in South America and one of the apparent advantages of keeping these animals is that unlike domestic cows they have not lost their instinct and ability to defend themselves against predators and are therefore far less likely to be predated by jaguars. When threatened the cows will form a defensive circle with their calves in the middle while the bulls will attempt to drive off the predator, keep water buffalos and cattle together may be sufficient to deter jaguar attacks. Could Water Buffalo Presence Facilitate Jaguar Conservation in the Neotropics? Some examples of domesticated water buffalos Domestic Water Buffalos in India Domestic Water Buffalo, Doi Lang Thailand by inyathi, on Flickr Domestic Water Buffalos, Doi Lang Thailand by inyathi, on Flickr Domestic Water Buffalos, Doi Lang Thailand by inyathi, on Flickr Feral populations of water buffaloes have been established in Tunisia, Sri Lanka, Australia and New Guinea and also in Argentina, both in Australia and Argentina valuable trophy hunting industries have developed around these animals. Although all domestic buffalo breeds must ultimately descend from the wild water buffalo this animal was originally classified as a different species Bubalus arnee and this is still the scientific name that is most often used for wild water buffaloes. In recognition of the fact that they are really the same species the name bubalis should become the accepted species name as taxonomic rules dictate that the earlier name always takes precedent. However in this case because the name bubalis was first applied to the domestic buffalo it has been argued that the name arnee should be kept and this is the name still used by the IUCN. The wild water buffalo is now a highly endangered species as most of its favoured habitat of floodplain grasslands has been taken over for agriculture leaving just a relatively few scattered populations in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia. True wild water buffaloes are much bigger and more muscular than domestic buffaloes are generally uniform grey in colour with a pale ‘V’ shape on the neck and dirty white stockings. The most obvious difference from most domestic buffalo though is their huge long horns which project out sideways and curve up at the end and are the longest horns of any wild animal. Only a few thousand wild water buffaloes at most still survive, aside from loss of habitat and poaching wild water buffalo are also threatened by diseases spread by domestic livestock. However perhaps the greatest threat to many populations is hybridisation with domestic buffalos which often stray into protected areas. In India wild water buffalos are primarily restricted to the northeast in Assam Manas Sanctuary, Laokhowa Sanctuary, Kaziranga National Park, and Dibru Sanctuary also in Arunachal Pradesh and then couple of populations in central India in Madhya Pradesh Indravati NP and Udanti Sanctuary. The buffalos in MP were said to be purer than those in Assam but in all likelihood there are probably no truly pure wild water buffalos left anywhere in India. Distribution Map Wild Water Buffalo in Kaziranga NP in Assam In neighbouring Bhutan wild water buffalos are found only in Royal Manas NP which adjoins Manas NP in Assam. In Nepal just one population that is probably not viable in the long term survives in the small Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve in the east of the country, sometime ago it was suggested that a group of cows should be moved from Koshi Tappu and taken to Chitwan NP along with some bulls brought in from Kaziranga but nothing has come of this so far. The last wild water buffalos in Chitwan died out in the 1960’s probably from disease. In Thailand wild water buffalo probably still survive only in Huai Kha Khaeng National Nature Reserve In Cambodia a small number can still be found in the Srepok River region of Mondulkiri in the East of the country near the Vietnamese border an area formerly known as “The Serengeti of Asia” because of its abundance of big game. Srepok project - photographing of wild water buffalo! They are very likely extinct in Vietnam any wild buffalos there or elsewhere in South East Asia or Indonesia are presumed to be feral and of purely domestic origin. In Sri Lanka water buffaloes occur in national parks like Yala, Wasgomuwa and Uda Walawe the exact origins of these apparently wild water buffaloes is not exactly certain but the general view is that they are probably feral in origin and descended from domestic stock that was introduced to the island. Whether water buffaloes were ever really native to Sri Lanka is not known for sure but in India wild water buffaloes have never been known to have occurred south of the Godavari River so it seems unlikely that they could have been native to Sri Lanka. In any case most of Sri Lanka’s water buffaloes were wiped out during a rinderpest epidemic in the 19th Century so if there was in fact a population of native buffaloes on the island that survived into modern times it’s likely that there are no pure animals left just hybrids. However many of the buffaloes that you can see in Sri Lanka’s parks do at least look very similar to wild water buffaloes. There are also three other species of true buffalos in Asia although they’re not generally called buffaloes the lowland anoa Bubalus depressicornis and the mountain anoa Bubalus quarlesi both from the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia and the tamaraw Bubalus mindorensis on the Island of Mindoro in the Philippines.
  8. This article from WBUR-FM, Boston, describes the care received by an orphaned baby rhino in Kaziranga National Park, in Assam. The photos show caregivers providing the newborn rhino with care after it was found abandoned in a rushing stream.
  9. The greater one-horned rhino once thrived across the northern plains of the Indian sub-continent, but hunting for sport and poaching severely depleted the population, pushing the species to the brink of extinction. The Kaziranga national park, a rhino sanctuary and also a tiger reserve, has helped revive the species but poaching remains an ever present threat. an interesting and encouraging story
  10. Reports To read the full article click here. Terrible news, threats from poaching and weather conditions. 11 poached and 28 killed by flooding...
  11. It was a truly magical experience! 13 days in India, first half in the marsh lands of Kaziranga in search for Asiatic Rhino, herds of wild Asiatic Elephant, Otter and Greater Hornbill. The other half was spent in Kanha where Tigers, Sloth Bears, Jungle Cats, Leopards and tons of birds welcomed me. See below for highlights of my trip! Kaziranga: Kanha: If you would like to see more of my wildlife photos visit And feel free to ask me any questions about my trip! Ill be posting some of my Tanzanian safari photos soon, and keep your eyes peeled for a North American Safari! Thanks so much! Danny
  12. I am thinking to go to India on safari in December-February. I know that I want to go to Kaziranga (eles, rhinos) and Gir (lions). In addition I would like to go to one of the tiger parks, which one would it be better to choose? I would prefer the one without tiger shows. 4 nights in each park will be sufficient? What would be the approximate trip price? I would also appreciate tour operator recommendation. Thanks a lot!
  13. The bar-headed goose Anser indicus is a large very distinctive goose that in March-April breeds in dense colonies beside high altitude lakes in Central Asia, (China, Tibet, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Afghanistan). Large flocks of these geese graze the surrounding grasslands until around August/September when they fly south for the winter. Remarkably to reach their wintering grounds in India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and northern Burma these birds fly directly over the top of the Himalayas. They have even apparently been recorded flying over Mount Everest at 29,029 ft (8,848 m) making them one of the highest flying birds in the world. Although bar-headed geese are primarily a winter visitor to India they do in fact breed in the country up in Ladakh in the state of Jammu & Kashmir in the very far north bordering Tibet. Bar-headed geese Kaziranga NP Assam India
  14. Last year I was in India from the end of March to the middle of April, very hot and REALLY REALLY good sightings. You can check out last years report here: This year I traveled from the end of Feb through the middle of March. I knew that the weather was going to be a bit colder and Tiger sightings were not as good in Kanha since the government had been regulating the drives in Mukki and got rid of the elephant shows completely. But I sucked it up, left it all to the universe and promised myself that I was going to have a wonderful time even if I saw nothing. Last year I saw a total of 5 Tigers in Kanha, 3 on the elephant show and 2 tiger on the truck during a total of 7 drives (this included 1 leopard sighting plus a wonderful sloth bear experience). During this most recent trip I was lucky enough to have a total of 3 tiger sightings, one of which was a magical stalking/hunting moment, one was a completely private huge male tiger all to ourselves and one which included a moment of pandemonium and hysteria (a total of 27 trucks I counted). These 3 tiger sightings were mixed in a total of 9 drives. The drives were absolutely breathtaking, filled with all sorts of other natural gifts including a 2 minute spectacled cobra mating session. But no leopard or sloth bear sightings this year. Most of our drives were at Kanha Gate, and the rest were spread out between Mukki and Kisli. Personally, Mukki is where it's at. If you hear an alarm call, bam, you are in the middle of the action, even if it feels like a distance away, a quick zip drive and you are there. Now, to say that we didn't feel or see the frustration from other guests/safari enthusiasts is an understatement. It was palpable. Guests at our lodge checked out early due to their lack of patience and understanding that these are wild animals and that this was not Africa. Other people on trucks would yell at their guides while others would brag about their sightings just to get a rise out of passing guests. We decided to keep our lucky stories to ourselves while wishing luck to everyone that we came across. I personally have had amazing luck on all of my safaris, including in Kaziranga which I will go into a bit later, but Kanha did disappoint a little in my eyes. There were two days where all we saw were Spotted Deer and Soft Ground Barasinga, gorgeous animals, dont get me wrong, but because of the weather being so chilly, the removal of the elephant, the restrictions of park permits and then just sheer luck playing into the game I really dont know if I would return to Kanha for more than three nights. It just wasn't worth the money (for an extra 2 nights) and to be honest, the stress, people behaved like animals. Indian Wildlife tourism is so different compared to Africa. We witnessed people on elephant back playing music on their cell phones in Kaziranga. During one of our tiger sightings (27 car pile up), cars were backing into each other, flash bulbs were strobing and people were screaming on the top of their lungs arguing and whooping in excitement. You would have thought Madonna had walked out of the bamboo. Thats the only way I can describe it. It felt like the paparazzi. Living here in NYC I have seen my share of the paparazzi at work and I had NEVER witnessed anything like this. On top of all of this you then have the talking and the littering that happens through out the day. India still has a lot of work to do in terms of wildlife tourism, and Kaziranga is an amazing triumph and example of this, but when it comes to Tiger viewing, something needs to be done. During our Kanha stay we lodged at Shergarh tented camp. UH-mazing food and sooooo comfortable. Everyone was great. If you do ever make it out to Kanha I suggest staying here. Their approach is all about conservation, down to the non-chlorine natural pool that they are building. In fact, one of the greatest gifts I think anyone could have ever given me was from the lodge owner, Katie, when she asked us if we would like to see our dinner be killed. As an American, we never think of our food being alive clucking around, it was a life changing experience and I honestly think everyone should witness this (Don't worry, no pictures) at least once in their lives. But all in all, I think next year I will 100% return to Kanha, but for not as many days as I did this time and during a much warmer time of the year. Next year, I will absolutely include Tadoba in my trip after seeing Kittys trip report, wow! I dont know, maybe after hearing all of your feedback I will be whipped back into my place, but I am excited to hear your thoughts about Kanha. Coming: Videos of the Kanha experience plus Kaziranga!
  15. Just signed up for Safaritalk and thought I would post a few of my trip reports. I have a feeling many might find them interesting and informative. Hope you enjoy! Love to know what you all thing! Cheers, Coke Here is the trip report link:

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