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SafariChick posted a topic in World wildlifeThis happened at Rancho San Antonio, a very popular open space preserve that is about 10-15 minutes drive from my house! I have hiked here many many times and it is always busy with hikers and joggers and families with kids. This happened at about noon! Why was I not there? Amazing! For some reason, the video is not embedding - still having trouble with my posts so not sure how to embed it but if you click the link you'll get to the video http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/video/3321354-bay-area-jogger-captures-battle-between-mountain-lion-deer/
I been a regular guest at safaritalk for some years now and really enjoyed it. Especially the trip reports are a standout, so I thought I thought I would try to do one. I have to say that English is my second language, so there might be some “strange words “and some wrong grammar, but I will try my best. I know that Nepal isn´t India, but the fauna is pretty much the same, so I included it in the Indian forum. Hope it is alright. In 2001 I enjoyed my first safari, not in Africa, but in Chitwan National Park, Nepal. Back then we (me and my girlfriend, which later became my wife) were extremely lucky and saw tiger, sloth bear, leopard and 32 rhinos in 3 days. This was the start of my obsession with the natural world. 13 years later we were back in Nepal. This time it was a family trip. We brought along our 2 sons aged 10 and 5. Our visit in Nepal was part of a 4 months leave trip(we visited Dubai, Thailand, Cambodia, Nepal, Singapore and South Africa) and in total we were 25 days in Nepal. We arrived in February 2014 after we visited Thailand and Cambodia. Of the 25 days we spend 11 days in and around Chitwan National Park. The Nepalese government closed all the camps inside the national park in 2013, so the only option was to stay outside the park. Last time we stayed in a small village Sauhara. From this town it is possible to arrange all your activities such as canoe rides, elephant safaris, jungle walks and jeep drives. Even though Sauhara has grown a lot since our last visit it was still a nice and quiet town. It lies on the banks of the Rapti River. The Rapti River is the border for the National Park, so from the town you have a good view of the national park. The national park is unfenced, so the wildlife sometimes wander into the town. Especially the rhinos. Chitwan National Park covers 932 km2 and together with its buffer zones around 2000 km2. Most of the national consist of sal forest around 70%, and the rest is savanna and grassland. The main problem with the game viewing in Chitwan is elephantgrass, it grows up to 8 m. high! The local tharu people start cutting and burning the grass in January, but when we arrived it was still very high and close. Sometimes it was just like driving through a tunnel. (so when people complain that the grass is too high in Kruger, they should try Chitwan ) Chitwan is most famous for being a stronghold for the indian rhino(also called the greater one-horned). The parks holds around 500 rhinos. Around 120 tigers and also healthy populations of sloth bears, leopards, 4 species of deer,2 species of crocs, gaur and a small number of wild elephants. The first activities we booked was an elephant safari and canoe ride. It was cheap, just around 50 US$ for all of us. But as usual, you get what you pay for! The safaris were conducted in the bufferzone, this way it was cheaper. We knew this, but when 100 chinese tourist also arrived near the starting point for the canoe ride I knew it would turn out bad. First we avoided a large group, so we ended up with just the 4 of us and 4 Chinese. The canoe ride could have been fantastic; we did see rhesus monkeys, mugger crocs, chital and lots of birds. But most of the ride was ruined by one of the Chinese. He talked all the time, smoked, answered his cell phone when it ranged, couldn´t leave my youngest son alone (think he tried being funny), couldn´t sit still in the canoe, so it almost tip over more the once and was just plain disrespectful towards our guide. We and the guide told him more than once to be quiet, but he never got the the message. The elephant ride was a bit better, but being surround by around 20 elephants with loud screaming Chinese tourist wasn´t a highlight. And we only saw a few deers. It turned out that most of the Chinese (and all other) tourist are on a package deal, that is very cheap because most of the activities are conducted in the bufferzones. So if you paid for safaris into the national park, you probably would avoid most of the other tourist. The next day we booked a full day jeep safari into the park. It was again pretty cheap, around 150 US$ for the whole day. And it included a driver and a guide. And the best thing was that only 3 jeeps were allowed on a full day game drive. Most were going on the half day trip, but not big numbers. Only around 10 other cars. That meant that we had almost the entire park to ourselves. Pretty nice! 3.02.2014 We went into the park, had a fabulous day and some good sightings. Didn´t see a tiger this time, but saw 4 rhinos, hundreds of chital, sambar, rhesus monkey, common langur, boar, mugger crocodile and a big group of gaur in the distance. I wish a could post a lot of awesome pictures, but I only use a canon 500 with a Tamron lens 70-300 mm. But at least you can see wish kind of animals we saw. We also visited the gharial breeding center. Very impressive and we saw some really big ones, around 5 meters. Pretty amazing since they only feed on fish. A local guide later told us, that the gharials that were captive breed weren´t ready for the monsoon so most of them would be flushed all the way to India. The following days we went on a jungle walk. The jungle walks are like a walking safari in Africa, the big difference is that the guides are not allowed to bring any weapons with them. They guides receive training and are licensed from the government. They are only allowed a big stick which they use against the animals. But in a park with so many dangerous animals accident sometimes happens. One of our best guides were attacked but a sloth bear in 2012 and spent 6 weeks in hospital. He couldn´t run anymore, so I trusted him. We also did a jungle walk with our 2 kids, but in an area which they never saw dangerous animals. They guides told us, that they also use this area for Chinese tourist, because they couldn´t control them. The chinese were loud and didn´t listen to the guide. So they had a Chinese Route! Nice walk and great for the kids not being stocked in a car for a full day. The following day I went on a jungle walk, I got a company by another Danish guy. He was the first dane I meet in over a month. A really nice walk. The guides where really professional and friendly. Most of them have worked as guides for years, so they know the local wildlife. The highlight of the walk was seeing a group of 5 rhinos. Never seen so many together. Also saw tiger tracks and loads of deer. The guide was sure that the tiger was close and was probably watching us. Did also see 2 hornbills, pretty nice. I will return later with the last bit of my trip report, this time with Dhurpe(try google the name and killer elephant)
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