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Found 10 results

  1. I have recently read an article about fishing cat survey in Cambodia, which led me to this symposium final presentation, detailing the last information available about this little known felid from Asia. The fishing cat is known to live in coastland and inland wetlands. It is found in the Ganga delta, the Terai Arc in the Indian subcontinent. More research is needed in Vietnam and Java to review its presence. Wetland should be urgently protected to ensure this felid correct habitat protection. I would no have expected conflict with humans, but some of the presentation stress on intense conflict in West Bengal for instance.
  2. I would like to take this news to recognize the wonderful job of Nepal to protect its very valuable wildlife and biodiversity. It is the best example that a "poor" country can get significant results if politics are completely committed to this cause. Nepal is on the good way to reach the objectives of the Tx2 project, which aims to double the population of tigers in the world by 2022 compared to 2010. Western Nepal has a tremendous potential to recover, and Chitwan National Park has one of the highest densities of tigers of the Indian Sub-continent.
  3. Nepal authorities have just started a new translocation program to reinforce Western Nepal rhino populations from Bardia and Sukhlaphanta. The first rhino has been released in the Babai Valley of Bardia National Park, which rhino population suffered a lot and at one point was to the verge of being wiped out of the park, during the civil war between 2002 and 2006. Nepal has currently a growing population of rhinos. Chitwan National Park has the largest rhino population of the country and its population is only second in the world, after Kaziranga in Assam. In order to protect important corridors in Western Nepal, some of them linking Nepali protected areas with Indian ones, rhinos were also collared in the Khata corridor to study the importance of corridors, and I guess take further measure to strengthen this important area for rhinos and wildlife.
  4. 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.
  5. The ZSL has focused its work on Parsa Wildlife reserve in Nepal in order to increase the population of tiger around Chitwan, which is reaching is carrying capacity according to tiger experts. Their work lead to the expansion of Parsa reserve, which will now include the Bara protected forest. Increasing tiger habitat in Parsa and protection within Bara is expected to contribute to a tiger increase in the greater chitin landscape of Terai, which is the next step to fulfill the goals of Tx2. Nepal is on the good way to double its tiger population by 2022 and to reach the goal of 250 tigers.
  6. Putting this under India even though technically not India Some encouraging news on tiger populations in Nepal. I am tentatively planning a trip to Chitwan, Bardia and Koshi Tappu in Nepal.
  7. I thought it could be interesting to share this two reports from Nepal. The first one is the result of the last tiger census in Nepal, focusing in 5 tiger core areas, namely Parsa, Chitwan, Banke, Bardia, and Sukla Phanta (from east to west). It shows prey density has increased significantly compared to the 2009 census. Bardia and Chitwan have seen huge increases, while Parsa still suffer of poaching. Tigers have started the recolonization of Banke area, which was gazetted after the 2009 census to as a mean to fulfill the Tiger x 2 goal. Parsa and Banke are really promising in receiving more tigers in the future, with strict law enforcement measures and better management. Prey abundance in Bardia should be able to support tiger numbers around the Chitwan ones (>3 tigers/100 km). Valmiki reserve in Bihar, India, has very poor results. It can be assumes the tigers using corridors to migrate outside of the overcrowd Chitwan national park, are poached in important numbers. Better management and law enforcement in Valmiki, could transform the Parsa-Chitwan-Valmiki complex in the best tiger conservation unit of the Terai arc. It is interesting to see some tigers are residing and breeding ins some national and trans-national corridors linking the different meta-populations. One of the Nepal next goal, is increasing forest management and restore in these corridors. Nepal is definitely on the way to reach the Tx2 goal! Here is the final trans-boundary report for the Terai Arc Landscape (TAL): Here is the rhino reports for Nepal. A new census will be led in 2015. Last census was conducted in 2011 showing an increase of 99 rhinos from 435 in 2008, with Chitwan supporting 503 rhinos. It is expected there are around 600 rhinos nowadays in Nepal. The Babai valley is now free of poaching and should receive relocated rhinos to enhance the Bardia population. I do not have information about any plan in the next years. I have been to Chitwan in 2011, while trekking 8 days in the jungle to find tigers on foot, and I can say there was an impressive rhino baby-boom, which is a always a good sign of an increasing population. To finish with, let's say Nepal had no poaching in 2014, a result largely obtained thanks to the presence army camps and patrols in the different protected areas. A model that should be replicated...
  8. Nepal population of indian rhino increased a 21% compared to the 2011 numbers. They is now an estimation of 645 rhinos, a huge majority of them living in Chitwan nationional park. This success has to be compared with the 2014 great victories for the himalayan state: zero poaching in 2014, significant increase in the tiger population. Nepal has definitely turned as a leading actor in the conservation of endangered species. It should be taken in example. I ask the african countries to try to implement the nepalese model in some pilot areas, building army camps inside the protected areas to ensure 24/7 effective patrolling. I hope the huge earthquake that affected Nepal will not affect this very positive trend. If Nepa needs to re-afect their soldiers present in the parks for the re-construction of the country, this would certainly lead to new poaching opportunities.
  9. 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)
  10. The kalij pheasant Lophura leucomelanos is one of the most common pheasants found in the Himalayas in India, Nepal, Bhutan and Burma. This one was photographed in Kaziranga NP in Assam and is the lathami race sometimes called the black kalij which is distinguished from other races of kalij by its combination of a black crest and black underparts and white edging on the rump feathers. Edit: here's the audio...

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