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Found 64 results

  1. http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/big-cats-increase-but-not-their-habitat-size/article19096565.ece http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/tiger-tribe-swells-in-karnataka/article19095746.ece https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273454974_Providing_more_protected_space_for_tigers_Panthera_tigris_A_landscape_conservation_approach_in_the_Western_Ghats_southern_India ~ These June, 2017 articles from The Hindu explain the dilemma between the steady increase in the tiger population in Karnataka and the Western Ghats, and the reality of insufficient habitat to accommodate the increase. Tiger numbers in such areas as Nagarahole and Bandipur have reached their ecological carrying capacity without any corresponding increase in protected areas for both tiger and prey populations.
  2. https://scroll.in/article/840071/as-long-as-china-has-its-tiger-farms-wild-tigers-in-asia-are-on-borrowed-time ~ From Scroll: “As Long As China Has Its Tiger Farms, Wild Tigers in Asia Are on Borrowed Time”
  3. Trip Report Ranthambhore April 2017 Ranthambhore is the first tiger reserve or for that matter first protected area that I have ever visited in my life. It was way back in December 2007. My wife and I had finished 1 year of our private practice (we both are doctors). We decided to celebrate the occasion by going on a 10 day trip to Rajasthan. We had never been to any forest/ nature reserve before. We had never had been exposed to wildlife as kids and always had very little time to spend on anything other than studies as we finished our respective professional education.As an afterthought we decided to visit Ranthambhore just to see what it was all about. Since we could not get a safari booking at the end of our itinerary, we decided to start the trip with Ranthambhore. It was December, freezing cold, we were all layered up. It was our first experience to sit in an open vehicle with the wind blowing in our faces as we made our way from our hotel to the entrance of the park. That in itself was a altogether thrilling experience! After entering the park we got onto route 5. Being part of an enthusiastic group we were the first vehicle in the park. It was foggy and visibility was down a 10 metres or so. And lo behold, a tigress was walking down the road, through the mist, straight towards our vehicle. It was a nothing short of spectacular! She walked on, not a care in the world, making absolutely no sound while the driver reversed our car. This went on for good 10 minutes….I managed to take a couple of blurry foggy pictures with my little point and shoot camera. I still have those pictures which barely show some orange on a white background but the memory is as fresh in my mind as if it was yesterday. Our driver could reverse no more due to a line of vehicles that had formed behind us. The tigress was least bothered and she walked beside our vehicle close enough for my wife to reach out and touch her (which of course she didn’t!) To say the least we were hooked! The safari bug had bitten on our very first day in a national park and the fever has not gone away still and probably never will. Our rest of the trip visiting palaces and museums paled on the background of our Ranthambhore experience. After coming back we immediately started planning our next trip. After this trip I made a very short trip to R’mbore in 2013 with a friend of mine. We were not very lucky with tiger sightings on that trip (just one good sighting) as it was winter and the trip was planned at the last minute resulting in not getting zones of choice. So when I got an email from my friend Aditya Singh (incidently we stayed at his hotel Ranthambhore Bagh in 2007 just by pure chance), saying he is arranging a 4 full day safari trip for a few friends, I jumped in. My wife decided not to come especially with our son being just 3 years who wouldn’t enjoy 40C April heat of Ranthambhore. (He has already seen a leopard and a sloth bear at the age of 1 and a big male tiger at the ripe old age of 2!). The trip started on 15th April 2017. I got onto the August Kranti Express leaving Mumbai at 1730 hours and reached Sawai Madhopur next day at 0630. I had booked AC First Class. I was amazed by the cleanliness, courteous service and palatable food offered by Indian Railways. It was certainly a pleasant surprise after being used to poor service and unpalatable food for years together. It was a 5 day trip. First day was a full day photographic workshop at the hotel hosted by Theo Allofs, a German photographer settled in the US. (He is an outstanding photographer having won Natural History Museums Wildlife Photographer of the Year award several times apart from several other awards and publication. Please do check out his website especially his aerial photographs from Rift Valley). The group was varied. One person was from Manila, One from Mumbai, One from Dubai, 2 from Hyderabad, One Sri Lankan from Melbourne and me from a little town on the west coast of India. Since it was a full day safari, Aditya had booked 2 Gypsies (Suzuki 4X4s) with very experienced drivers but without any guides. (Guides are a must for normal drives). The plan was to concentrate on one particular tigress called T-39 or “Noor” and her 3 4 month old cubs. There was another tigress T-60 with 3 grown up cubs (1 1/2 years old) a little further down the road in the same zone (Zone 2) who would serve as a backup plan. Another tigress called “Arrowhead” (T-19’s daughter) had territory close to the entrance gate of Zones 2 and 3, so we had a chance of sighting her as well. Males of course, we could bump into anywhere. With this plan set, we started nice and early on Day 1. It was 0530 as we left the hotel. Weather was surprisingly pleasant. We made straight for Zone 2, driving towards T-39s territory. There were a lot of tiger pug marks on the road but no sign of the owner. All the favourite waterholes were empty with no sign of any big cat. Since we were in 2 cars, a plan was made. We stuck around T-39’s area while the second car made a dash for T-60’s territory. There was no way of communicating as no radios are allowed and cell phone signal are patchy. But as more and more vehicles made their way to the area, a message could be conveyed by passing vehicle. We waited for 30 minutes more. the other vehicle came back empty handed. We continued our search and finally came across this. Noor and her cubs were lying in an area well away from the road, but we could see them through the thickets. They probably had made a kill there but it was difficult to see. We waited for Noor to make a move. Our driver Himmat Singh predicted that as the weather heated up, they would move towards either a waterhole or a shady area. After some time, the family started moving. Not something that you see everyday! Himmat correctly predicted where they would cross the road and drove ahead. He was right (which became the de facto norm) of course. We were treated to a spectacle not many people get to see. The tigers were moving in the direction of a waterhole. It would have been nice if they had decided to do just that. We drove towards the waterhole and waited. Unfortunately, the family had other plans. They did not show up at the waterhole at all. Himmat Singh and Aditya predicted that they probably had moved towards an area with some natural caves. the area was well away from the roads. Hoping against hope we waited at the waterhole. This gave me time to click some other denizens of the forest. This time some feathered ones ! Rose ringed parakeets feeding on flowers of "Flame of the forest" Peacocks were plenty. National bird of India is certainly among one of the most beautiful birds in the world, especially in breeding season.
  4. Video I made on my recent trip of Satpura national park. This is huge male tiger and quite aggressive also. Somehow I managed to take good video during safari.
  5. 20 Days Tiger direct http://overlandingindia.com/accommodated_browse_tours.php?pid=14&tour=20 Days Tiger direct TRIP FACTS Prices from: On request Accommodation: Luxury and semi luxury hotels/guest houses/jungle resorts. Max. Participants: No limit Min. Participants: 2 No. Of crew: 1 Vehicle type: Adventure maxi-van Duration: Days- 20, Nights- 19 Meals: Breakfast X 19, Lunch X 19, Dinner X 19 Departure: Delhi End: Delhi Departure date: On request (Best time to travel is November to May) Highlights: The Satpura landscape Sloth bears in Satpura Wild dogs in Pench Tigers in Pench, Kanha & Tadoba Barasingha deer in Kanha Birdwatching in Kanha Places to Visit: Delhi Satpura Pench Tadoba Kanha Jabalpur Delhi Itinerary: Day 1: Delhi You will be picked up from the Delhi Airport. Accommodation will be in a comfortable hostel. A short trip meeting at 18:00 hrs. No other activities are planned here. Day 2–6: Satpura National Park On day 2 after breakfast, we will fly to Bhopal. From here we will drive to the Satpura National Park. Accommodation will be in a semi-luxury resort. The landscape here is one of the most beautiful in Central India. It is also arguably the best place in India to see the sloth bear. Wildlife safaris in the national park can get us up close to sloth bears, leopards, gaur, Malabar giant squirrel along with other wildlife. On day 3 and 4 we will do both morning and evening safaris. On day 5 in the morning we will for canoe safari. In the afternoon we will drive to Churna. Churna has a very beautiful rest house from British times which is run by forest department. Its a very basic rest house but experience of being there itself is very different. Overnight stay at rest house. On day 6, we will drive back to our resort. At night we will go for a night safari. Day 7–10: Pench National Park Drive to Pench National Park. Accommodation will be in a comfortable resort. Pench is well known as Rudyard Kiplings inspiration. It is home to a good population of tigers and provides us one of the best opportunities to get upclose to one. It is also home to leopards, wild dogs, gaurs, deer and around 350 species of birds. On days 8, 9 and 10 we have both morning and evening safaris planned here. Day 11–14: Tadoba National Park Drive to Tadoba National Park. Accommodation will be in a comfortable resort. Tadoba arguably has the highest tiger density in the country right now. Out of all the parks that we are visiting, Tadoba has the best tiger sightings. It also has a very good leopard and sloth bear population. The habitat here is mostly dominated by thick bamboo grooves. On days 12,13 and 14 we have both morning and evening safari planned here. Day 15–18 : Kanha National Park Drive to Kanha National Park. Accommodation will be in a comfortable resort. Kanha is one of the most beautiful parks in India. The beauty of the lush green sal forest and open meadows is unmatched. It is also home to a lot of big cats. Both tigers and leopards are in good numbers here. It is also home to an endemic species of deer named the hard ground barasingha. Kanha is a birdwatchers paradise aswell. On days 16, 17 and 18 we have both morning and evening safaris planned here. Day 19–20: Delhi On the 19th day after breakfast we will drive to Jabalpur airport for our flight to Delhi. We have an overnight stay here. Next day after breakfast, we will drop you at the airport where the trip ends. What's included and excluded Meals 3 Meals a day – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Accommodation Twin sharing for hotels, hostels, resorts and homestays Single sharing for hotels, hostels, resorts and homestays (only if extra single supplement charge paid) Includes Fully equipped transfer & safari vehicle Accommodation as specified All road tolls and vehicle taxes All ground transportation Domestic flights if required in the itinerary Meals as indicated Services of two crew Excludes Visas International flights Travel insurance Airport transfers Sleeping bag Sleeping mats Optional activities Drinks tips For enquiry - http://overlandingindia.com/accommodated_browse_tours.php?pid=14&tour=20 Days Tiger direct
  6. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/269338498_A_survey_of_livestock_losses_caused_by_Asiatic_wild_dogs_leopards_and_tigers_and_of_the_impact_of_predation_on_the_livelihood_of_farmers_in_Bhutan ~ This December, 2014 research article from Wildlife Research concerns a 2006 to 2010 survey in Bhutan's Punakha District of livestock predation attributed to dhole, tiger and leopard populations. It was found that dhole predation was much more significant than attacks by tigers or leopards. However, dhole predation was primarily outside of villages or protected farm plots, being in forested areas.
  7. A Wilderness's Rebirth : As a group of wildlife enthusiasts in India, it is truly inspiring to witness the transformation of a lesser known yet an extremely important wilderness of the country turn into a major attraction for not only nature lovers but for a layman as well. Umred Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary, now popularly known as UKWLS, is currently the most sought after wildlife destination in the country. It is a tremendous achievement for the wilderness given its location and its close proximity to some of country’s most famous National Parks and Tiger Reserves. Situated at a distance of 50 kms approx.(an hour by road) from the city of Nagpur, in the Indian State of Maharashtra, the forest was declared as a wildlife sanctuary back in June 2012. The main reason being the presence of the king of Indian Jungles, the Bengal Tiger. It was a delightful news for all the wildlife savvy individuals, mainly those , in the western part of the country. For the first 1.5 – 2 years, UKWLS had a sluggish start as it was always considered as an optional add on for majority of the wildlife lovers who visited this part of the country for the more recognized National Parks or Tiger Reserves like Tadoba, Pench or Kanha due to a couple of reasons (a.) the area was comparatively less; 189 sq kms looks way too tiny when compared to Tadoba (700 sq kms of core area) and the other National Parks around and (b.) the scarcity of good accommodations in the area. Then came the turning point in the history of UKWLS. A male tiger named Jay, touted to be Maharashtra’s largest Tiger at the moment, and some say he may well be in for the top slot as the country’s largest Tiger too, made a superstar like appearance in UKWLS. Whether or not, he is indeed the largest Tiger in the country or in Maharashtra, is something we would leave it up to the wildlife experts and big cat enthusiasts to debate on, however what was important was his huge size and his sudden presence in the sanctuary. To top it all, this enormous brute was more than happy to oblige the visitors with a glimpse of his royal behaviour more often than not. In fact he made it a point to welcome or see off the Safari vehicles by sitting bang in the middle of the Safari track. UKWLS already had 4 tigers before Jay’s arrival, with an equal male-female ratio. As expected, Jay pushed the 2 resident males out of the core territory due to his towering size and became the only dominant male in this vast wilderness. It is believed that he also lured a tigress from the Pench Tiger Reserve taking the female tally to 3. The scene was now set for Jay to stamp his dominance over his newly acquired territory that was spread across 180 odd sq kms, way larger than an average male tiger, but Jay was no ordinary Tiger. In a span on the next 6 months he spent ample amount of time with all 3 tigresses and Jay’s next generation was well on its way. Within no time, there were 13 tigers in UKWLS which included Jay, the 3 tigresses and 9 cubs. With no other male in the surrounding area there wasn’t much of a threat to these cubs. They started growing and so did UKWLS’s popularity. They quickly started following their father’s footsteps and were very bold right from a tender age to face the tourists and the safari vehicles. That was the triggering point that shot up UKWLS as a dream destination for the wildlife lovers. Today UKWLS is a Tiger hub, with the cubs now around 15-20 months old they have acquired huge sizes, and even at this tender age almost all of them dwarf their mothers. They have now started actively participating in the hunts and it is one hell of a sight to see these large groups of Tigers take down prey as large as a Gaur or a Nilgai with ease. The prey base is now in check and with the reduction in the grazing rate, it may well improve the soil holding capacity of the forest thereby making it healthier in terms of the eco-system. Visitors throng the sanctuary to get a glimpse of these wonderful creatures and they are not disappointed at all. This is once again, a classic example of the tremendous importance a Tiger holds in the entire ecosystem and how its presence benefits the entire jungle. As the cubs will turn into adults in the next 6-8 months they will venture out in search of their own territories and thus benefitting the surrounding vegetation as well. It may be safe to say that Jay could well be the game changer as far as UKWLS’s fortunes are concerned and who knows, Maharashtra would boast of another Tiger reserve in the State. In any which way Jay has given a re-birth to UKWLS and we wish the sanctuary continues to prosper.
  8. I have been doing safaris in India since 1990. But never thought i would get so lucky ever. It was December 2014, i was searching for Wild Elephants in Dudhwa National Park. Saw them at a distance of about 50 meters, it was late evening, dipping light, mist did not help, and i started to take photographs. Suddenly noticed some crouching movement between myself and the Elephants, Focussed and i could not believe my luck, a Tiger. he was stalking the baby elephant, maybe a month old, and the cow Elephant was very cautious. The Elephants would trumpet, try to scare the Tiger away, but he remained focussed, with a mission possessed, and did not leave his ground. Having watched the scene for over 20 minutes we had to leave the park as the safari time had come to a close. Left with a heavy and a praying heart that God save the baby. I left Dudhwa after 2 days, it was only after 7 days that my driver called and said, "' Sir the baby is safe, and i saw him today during the safari", was i releaved would be an understatement. Sharing the images here. Detailed article titled The Dudhwa Drama on below link www.naturesafariindia.com
  9. We have two trip back to back for 2017 and 2018 Check the link of trip itinerary 82 Days trans Himalayan expedition http://overlandingindia.com/camping_browse_tours.php?pid=7&tour=82%20days%20Trans%20Himalayan%20Expedition Places we are covering in this trip - Leh (Trip departs - highest desert city) Turtuk (Remote tribal village) Tso kar (high altitude alpine lake) Jispa (riverside stay) Manali (hill station) Spiti valley (desert mountain valley) Kullu (hill station) Great Himalayan National Park (trek in high altitude national park) Shimla (Hill station) Dehradun (Stopover) Mussoorie (Hill station) Rishikesh (Banks of Ganges – river rafting) Jim Corbett National Park (Tigers, elephants and more) Ghatgarh (Birding, nature trails) Nainital (hill station, birding - Sattal, Pangot) Dudhwa National Park (Elephants, tigers, rhinos, crocs) Bardia National Park – Nepal (Gharial crocs, rhinos, elephants & birds) Lumbini (birth place of Gautam Buddha) Pokhra (place to relax, Tibetan bazaars, Phewa lake) Chitwan National Park – (Elephants, rhinos, tigers) Kathmandu (City tour) Koshi tapu wildlife sanctuary (birding) Siliguri (Stopover & time to relax) Darjeeling (Hill station, tea gardens) Singalila National Park (Drive/trek, chance for red pandas) Gangtok (City tour) Neora Valley National Park (Nature trail/treks for red panda) Jaldapara National Park (Rhinos & elephants) Manas National park (Elephants, rhinos, water buffalo, tigers, capped langur, golden langur) Kaziranga National Park (Grassland ecosystem, tigers, elephants, rhinos, water buffalos) Guwahati (Trip ends) 61 Days necklace of India - http://overlandingindia.com/camping_browse_tours.php?pid=6&tour=61%20days%20Necklace%20of%20India places we are covering in this trip - Delhi (Trip departs) Bharatpur (Migratory birds) Ranthambore (Wildlife reserve + fort) Jaipur (Forts + palaces + monuments + street culture & food) Jodhpur (Forts) Jaisalmer (Desert life + sand dunes + wildlife reserve) Bera (Wildlife reserve for leopards) Little Rann of Kutch (Salt marsh + wildlife reserve) Velavadar (Wildlife reserve) Ahmedabad (City culture + shopping + food) Indore (Night halt) Jabalpur (waterfall + boat cruise + water sports) Bandhavgarh (Wildlife reserve) Kanha (Wildlife reserve) Achanakmar (Wildlife reserve) Satkosia gorge (Wildlife reserve + tribal life) Chilika lake (Lagoon + migratory birds) Bhubaneswar (World heritage site temples) Tajpur (Sea beach) Kolkata (Monuments + museums + street culture & food) Sunderbans (Mangroves + wildlife reserve) Jaldapara (Wildlife reserve) Darjeeling (Hill station) Kalimpong (Hill station) Gangtok (Adventure sports + Trip ends) contact - http://overlandingindia.com/contact_us.php
  10. Some of the top sightings of the 22 Days Big Cats of India Feb trip. The success of the trip was incredible with 9 tigers, 8 leopards and 4 lions all together. Other than the big cats we saw tons of other wildlife as well, like jungle cats, deer, wild boar, gaur, antelope etc. The overwhelming success of the trip is very encouraging and we are already looking forward to the next departure: 5th Dec, 2017 http://overlandingindia.com/camping_browse_tours.php?pid=13&tour=22%20Days%20Big%20cats%20of%20India Asiatic lion - Gir national park Cob of mahaveer tigress - Kanha national park Umarpani male - Kanha national park One of the cubs of mahaveer female Leopard sitting on tree top Leopard - Bera More pictures will be posted soon.........
  11. Here are some captures of our many tiger and tigress sightings in both Kanha and Bandhavgarh in 2014. We were not as good at video back then and these were our first ever safaris. We're better now. Enjoy. And here's our channel where you can see mostly videos of African safaris: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6QF9c_66AVy2c58fdZ8AnQ/videos
  12. The Eternal Game of Wilderness: Predator vs Prey A visit to any wildlife sanctuary or a national park is always a fascinating experience, and if the destination is a Tiger Reserve, the magnitude of this fascination knows no boundaries. Mother Nature, the lord of surprises, ensures that every time we are surprised with a unique experience that is remarkably different yet, equally enjoyable. Our visit to Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in the March of 2015, once again proved to be no less. The journey to the wilderness was an exotic experience in itself as we drove literally across Maharahstra from Pune to Umred, already making the trip a memorable one. The journey was long(over 900kms) but worthwhile and we arrived in Umred with bountiful of expectations riding high on this super start to the trip. The lone safari in Umred was not the best of safaris I have had maybe due to the long journey and the lack of animal activity,however since it was my first visit to Umred, enjoyed this lesser known,gem of a forest and the close association of the locals with the wildlife as the Umred Karhandla forest is still just a sanctuary and not a Tiger Reserve yet. The plan was simple;Pune-Umred-Tadoba-Nagzira, and all this in mere 5 days only to arrive back in Pune on the 6th morning. Sticking to the schedule we left Umred after the morning safari getting some lunch on our way to Tadoba. We were put up at the Kolara gate FDCM dormitory in Tadoba and just like all the FDCM guest houses, this one too was about a km away from the reserve gate. Tadoba is regarded as one of the best places to setup a meeting with our National Animal and we knew that unlike Umred, Tadoba would surely not disappoint. As expected, this dry deciduous forest, dominated by Bamboo(one of Tiger's preferred habitats in this part of the country) showed us why nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts regard this wilderness so highly as we spotted a male leopard and s tigress in the same safari.Cloud nine was the only destination for each individual in the vehicle that day. After all one does not spot 2 of the 3 largest cats in a single day that too in the matter of a few minutes. Still hung over the previous day's heroics(although all we did was hop into the vehicle and soak in the nature's marvel), the next day in Tadoba was spent way too expectant as both the safaris next day were without any significant activity except for those 10 minutes where we waited for a tigress who was in her dreamland deep into the bushes, hoping that she would show up. Too many expectations!!!! With great amount of efforts and some luck we were permitted to enter the reserve from Pangdi gate. Kolsa region was what we wanted to get into as this region boasted of at least 3 tigresses with about 3-4 cubs each at that time in Tadoba and Pangdi gate was the nearest access point to this region. The travel time from Kolara to Pangdi was about 90 minutes and in order to make it in time for the morning safari we started from Kolara literally in the middle of the night at 3.30 am through the nearby villages. Fortunately we made it in time and started the coveted safari. A female tigresses with cubs was all that we had in our mind. So obsessed with this expectant moment, the group almost failed to notice a large herd of Gaurs, the largest wild cattle in the world, that was having a morning graze. An hour into the safari and there was no sign of any predator activity around, let alone a Tiger. We waited at a large lake in the Kolsa region for more than 45 minutes only to hear the melodious chirps and calls of a lot of avifauna. Safaris at such times can get on your nerves. Neither can you enjoy the rest of the fauna as your minds are so preoccupied with the sighting you so dearly want, nor can you dump the thought from your mind. With this mindset and a wait that was getting agonisingly long we decided to move on. We crossed tracks with another safari vehicle and the group in this vehicle broke the news that a tigress was spotted with 4 cubs some 500 yards along the track we were heading on to and that the family entered the thicket some 10 minutes ago. Cursing ourselves for having waited that long at the lake we were gutted to have missed this golden opportunity. Not wanting to accept that the chance was lost we headed in the direction the group had mentioned. With half hearted approach to the above mentioned part of the forest, we saw a lone gypsy stranded close to the left side of the track. Judging by the gestures of the vehicle`s occupants we inferred that it was probably a deer or a bison that they were watching on the left. When reached closer, we were proven right about our inference as in the bushes on the left there stood a lone Gaur possibly a bull, judging by its size, as I have already mentioned about the strength and the muscle of these huge herbivores. The ridge on its back told us he was indeed a bull. The interesting part though was that, he was not in his usual calm demeanour like Gaurs are normally. Swivelling his body from one side to another with volatile movements, his body language seemed odd. "TIGER", came a whisper from the adjacent vehicle and suddenly all the pupils started surveying the bushes around the Gaur. Then suddenly we saw a tail wag and judging the head position of this animal looked intently to get a glimpse only to see of the beast's face partially. It was indeed a Tiger. Adding up all the events witnessed in the last 5 minutes; a lone Gaur being approached by his marauder, explained his nervous body language. The scene was set for what we believed would be a classical show down between the predator and the prey. Every time the bull turned his back on the cat, in came the charge. Then turning towards the Tiger the bull would fend off the charge. This went on for about 10 minutes and suddenly a second head appeared on the other side of the bull, another Tiger! This was mind boggling for the occupants of the 3-4 vehicles witnessing this. The bull in the centre trying to stand up against a two side attack now. Shutters started to clamp even more rapidly as this superlative game started getting intense. The bull now started moving away from us but still in the same parallel line. The attack was still on. Gradually and foot after foot the bull came into the open. Let me reiterate the situation. The vehicles, there were about 8 of them now on the track. The bull directly in front of the vehicles but moving to the opposite direction and the submerged Tigers in the thicket in the same line of the bull and diagonally in front of the vehicles. With the bull moving away the first cat's head started peeping out of the bushes on to the track. Things drastically changed and the bull, with no real logical explanation, started walking towards the vehicle, facing the tiger from time to time as he walked. Still walking towards us and approximately 30 yards from the vehicles, supposedly unaware or rather ignorant of our presence, the gentle giant paused in his tracks only to continue in our direction. The tiger by now was in full view and all three of us were in the same line on the track. The vehicles the bull in front and the tiger following up on his heels. The Gaur, still moving towards us, had by now sensed our presence and stopping once, he gave us a stare. He was probably a tad bit disappointed by our presence and barged into the bushes on the right. Seeing the prey get away the tiger started chasing it and that is when we realised that it was actually a cub, may be 8-10 months old. Our hair stood on its end, as all of us started realising the magnitude of the whole situation. The cub followed the Gaur on the right. The second tiger, which by now we knew was another cub followed its sibling also followed suit. Then another and another. We were flabbergasted with the turn of events. 4 tiger cubs in their most important phase of their lives had just crossed us and the suspicion had come true. It was lesson time for the cubs as the mother, watched intently, still in the thicket to our left, where this battle had begun initially. She must have been the one to instigate the cubs, probably leading from the front when the attack began and on luring the cubs into the attack had stepped off to let the kids get a hang of such situations. The cubs were being trained, a skill was being developed. A skill that would allow each of them to survive when they get older, stronger and most importantly when mum would not be around. We were witness to one Nature's most amazing spectacles. There was no sound, absolutely no sound from the mob of 60 odd people that had this visual treat. However, dreams are very rarely completed in your sleep and as if to testify this we had to back trace our vehicles as time was up for our safari and the cubs had to continue their lessons, maybe without our distraction. With throats dried up and minds filled with this euphoria we returned back to the gates. Later that evening we got the news that the ritual was completed, the Gaur had fallen prey to his predator. Not exactly to the family of Tigers, but to the Nature's sternest rule, " Survival of the fittest". With every prey that falls to the predator in the wilderness, the predator gets to live another day. A spectacle of a lifetime was still being attempted to settle down in our minds and we left Tadoba, thanking the almighty and mother nature for giving us this experience which I am sure would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to re-visualise in the wild.
  13. It is never an easy feeling when you hear about your favorite Tiger dying for reasons beyond anyone's control. One tends to develop a bond with Tigers whom you have been seeing for some seasons. Seems as if those Tigers also know you. Then one fine day you hear about a Tiger found injured, and despite best efforts by the forest department he passes away. This is exactly what happened with Bheema a big male Tiger in Kanha. He got into a mortal combat with another of my favorite Tiger who also happens to be currently the biggest Tiger of central India, the Umarpani male and it proved to be his last fight. Tigers are born to fight, they live to fight and fight to live. And they die fighting. Please read the below link to know about Bheema the big male Tiger of Kanha. http://naturesafariindia.com/blog/bheema-peaceful-warrior-kanha-national-park-passes-away/ Best Wishes Sharad Vats
  14. Pictures from Satpura National park (When I used to work there as a Naturalist in Reni Pani jungle lodge) Satpura national park is one of best parks of India, it is located in Hoshangabad district of Madhya Pradesh in Central India. It is spread over Satpura Hills on highlands of Central India. Satpura is a Sanskrit word, that means seven mountains (sapta=seven;pura=mountain). Most of the Satpura range was heavily forested, These forest provide habitat to several at risk and endangered species, including the Tiger. It is one the areas of this landscape preserved marvelously for protection of flora and fauna. This park is spread over 1427 sq km and was formed in 1981 after joining Satpura, Pachmari and Bori sanctuaries and the altitude ranges from 300 to 1,352 metres (980 to 4,436 ft). The terrain of the national park is extremely rugged and consists of fascinating deep valleys, sandstone peaks, narrow gorges, rivulets, waterfalls, thick dense green forest of Sal and other medicinal herbs, it also has large tracts of Teak forests. Its fauna comprises Spotted Dear, Indian Bison(Gaur), Tigers, Leopards, Wild boar, Wild dog (locally called Dholes), Sloth bear, Black buck (unique attraction), Porcupine, Sambhar, Four Horned antelopes (Chowsingha), Otters, Crocodile, Malabar squirrels, Langurs etc. Indian Giant squirrel, Sloth bear and White Bison are a special feature of Satpura National Park. It offers good birding opportunity due to its unique terrain and many water bodies including the Tawa reservoir. From November to March it also hosts a variety of migratory birds in the Tawa reservoir and fields around the park. Sloth bear Denwa backwater Asian Paradise flycatcher Common wanderer Crested hawk eagle Indian wilddogs (dhole) Leopard Flock of Oriental White eye View of Inside the park near elephant camp Sloth bear
  15. Recently I have finished my 61 days overland trip which we had started from Delhi on 25th of Jan and ended up in Gangtok on 31st March then I headed on to Bhutan for another 15 Days. (contact - info@prayaanindiaoverland.com) On my trip I have been to 1-Bharatpur 2-Ranthambore national park 3-Desert national park 4- Bera 5- Little rann of kutch 5- Gir national park 6-Blackbuck national park 7- Pench national park 8- Barnawapara wildlife sanctuary 9- Satkosia tiger reserve 10- Sundarbans 11- Gorumara national park I was long trip but I really enjoyed a lot. I have seen lots of wildlife Right from small Rat to Giant elephant to ferocious Tiger. I hope you will enjoy my pictures. Darter (Snake bird) - Bharatpur bird sanctuary Ruins of Ranthambore fort Thar desert Wildass from Little rann of kutch Asiatic lions - Gir national park Blackbucks - Blackbuck national park Pench national park Sambar deer with calf Sloth beer - Barnawapara wildlife sanctuary Indian gaur Brown fish own - satkosia tiger reserve Indian giant squirrel welcome to the land of Man-eating Tigers - Sundarban tiger reserve Water monitor lizard - One of the world's largest lizards of the world - Sundarbans tiger reserve Royal bangal tiger from Sundarbans photo credit - saumyajit nandi Gorumara wildlife sanctuary Asiatic elephants in gorumara wildlife sanctuary
  16. 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: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qutb_complex 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. http://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-places-asia/incredible-rust-resistant-iron-pillar-delhi-001503 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!
  17. http://www.wwfnepal.org/media_room/news/?259810/Tiger%2Dmonitoring%2Dunderway%2Din%2DNepals%2DWestern%2DTerai 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.
  18. In search of the Grey Ghost- Ladakh and Tadoba, India. Introduction First of all, I should say this was not a trip I was looking forward to. In fact I was, to put it another way, bricking it! It didn't help that we'd heard that sightings had been down and a recently returned group had failed to see our main target species. But it was a trip that I felt I had to do, a trek to look for the Grey Ghost.... the Snow Leopard... that most elusive of cats. I don't like the cold, struggle with altitude, don't do hills and am not that much a fan of camping to be honest and this trek had all of those elements in spades! But I had to try and tick a snow leopard, so off I went... My friend Jo Thomas who runs http://www.wildabouttravel.co.uk/ regularly runs tailor made treks to Ladakh and organised for me to join a group of seven birders on a private tour. As insurance against dipping the leopard, I and one other participant added a week in Tadoba for some much needed R,R and T (rest, recuperation and Tigers). 13th Feb 2016 I arrived in Heathrow and heard from Jo that one of the other participants had been refused boarding on his flight and his mate had decided to stay behind with him for moral support. Jo was busily trying to sort out his issue, which was basically that he's got his e-visa but had applied with an out of date passport and had only brought his replacement passport to the airport with him. Doh! I and one other participant, Peter flew Air India from Heathrow to Delhi on flight AI 112, departing at around 2100 on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. I must say it had the clearest in-flight entertainment system I have ever experienced, the sound quality of the provided headphones and visibility of the viewing screens was excellent. I found the air stewards to be particularly generous with the alcoholic beverages, which was nice and the food was okay, but nothing special! The selection of movies was up to date with some recent cinema releases available in both directions (different selection on the way back, including Star Wars: The Force Awakens). 14th February 2016 We arrived into Delhi on time, around 11.20. After collecting our bags we picked up a bottle of JD from duty free for one of Jo's local guys, Praveen and changed money before being met in arrivals by Praveen and our driver. We were taken to Hotel Lohmod to drop our bags and freshen up before we then headed out to Sultanpur Jeel, a local bird sanctuary about 2 hours drive from Delhi. As we were arriving there, the rest of the guys in our group were heading back to the hotel so we missed them. We met our guide and first stopped at the on-site restaurant to have a light lunch of dhal and butter nan. Then we headed out into the park for an afternoon of birding. A good range of birds was seen: Greylag goose bar-headed goose Teal Shoveler Spot-billed duck Gadwall Pintail Ferruginous duck Tufted duck Grey francolin Indian peafowl Little grebe Indian darter Great cormorant Indian cormorant Little cormorant Little egret Intermediate egret Indian pond heron Grey heron Purple heron Black-necked stork Painted Stork Glossy Ibis Eurasian Spoonbill Lesser flamingo Black Kite Indian spotted eagle Imperial eagle Moorhen Coot Purple swamphen Snipe redshank Wood sandpiper Black-winged stilt Red-wattled lapwing White-tailed plover Rock dove Collared dove Ring-necked parakeet Spotted owlet Hoopoe White-throated kingfisher Coppersmith barbet Black-rumped flameback House crow Large-billed crow Rufous treepie Black drongo Long-tailed shrike Bluethroat Black redstart Oriental magpie robin Indian robin Spotted flycatcher Red-breasted flycatcher Bank mynah Common mynah Plain prinia Chiffchaff Hume's leaf warbler Green-crowned warbler (referred to as Whistler's by the guide we had) Whitethroat Large grey babbler Plus Nilgai and Palm squirrels. P2140008 Hoopoe by Jo Dale, on Flickr P2140017 red-breasted flycatcher by Jo Dale, on Flickr P2140037 Spotted owlet by Jo Dale, on Flickr P2140051 coppersmith barbet by Jo Dale, on Flickr P2140055 coppersmith barbet by Jo Dale, on Flickr P2140073 nilgai by Jo Dale, on Flickr P2140075 nilgai by Jo Dale, on Flickr P2140077 baby nilgai by Jo Dale, on Flickr P2140080 Green-crowned warbler by Jo Dale, on Flickr P2140091 bluethroat by Jo Dale, on Flickr We met the rest of the group back at the hotel, had dinner and got a reasonable early night as we had an early flight the following morning to Leh. P2140112 long-tailed shrike by Jo Dale, on Flickr P2140122 brown-headed barbet by Jo Dale, on Flickr P2140129 brown-headed barbet by Jo Dale, on Flickr P2140137 brown-headed barbet by Jo Dale, on Flickr
  19. Hello Everyone! In May we spent 8 days in Bandhavgarh, Thought I would write a short trip report We chose to travel with Pugdundee, and stayed at their wonderful Kings Lodge. We stayed there in 2013 and met a great guide, Naresh Singh (Gudda) and we promised we would go on safari with him. He is indeed a wonderful guide - super enthusiastic, and he knows very well how to get the best angles for photography. He will be our guide of choice for future visits to this park for sure. The lodge itself is quite nice - the AC and the pool were more of a necessity than a luxury since it was very very hot! The food is excellent and plentiful and the staff are always smiling and friendly. The lodge is only about 4km away from the Tala Zone gate. I was very pleased to note that things are organized pretty well in Bandhavgarh - I heard many stories of chaos around sightings in other parks so I was a bit concerned. There was never too much crowding problems around tiger sightings - I mean it was crowded but mostly it was well-behaved and not too noisy. Cars even organized themselves in such a way to leave open paths for tigers to cross a road etc. I think the relative good behaviour is one of the draws for visiting this park. However the bureaucracy is still a bit of a pain - Changing zones is expensive (even when "downgrading") and routes and park guides are assigned on the spot so you never quite know what you are going to get. While the tiger sightings were really really good for many weeks prior to our arrival, we were unlucky to chance upon some really hot weather (44-45C every day) and the tiger sightings almost completely dried up for a few days. They picked up just as we were about to leave. But that's wildlife for you! It leaves me with enough unfinished business to start planning a next visit One other thing to be noted, especially this much into the dry season is the dust. It's really the worse dust I have ever encountered anywhere in my travels - it is very fine and sticks to everywhere. So it is important to think ahead to protect your gear. I use a large pillowcase to wrap my cameras and lenses and cleaning needs to be done after every drive. If there is a commotion around a sighting it will raise a dust cloud that might make photography a bit difficult. Anyway enough talking now and here is the interesting part - the video by Mr. Cheetah80 compiling some of the best moments we had.
  20. http://www.hindustantimes.com/travel/the-curious-case-of-ranthambore-s-missing-tigers/story-oT8C6AtIM0PiUPmmwq9QpL.html The long story of missing tigers from Ranthambore...
  21. A new planed road crossing Mondulkiri protected forest seriously threatens what was once considered the Seregenti of Asia. Mondulkiri Forest is the site selected to restore tigers in the country after decades of poaching and civil unrests. http://tigers.panda.org/reintroduction/road-threatens-tiger-reintroduction/
  22. In my quest to see the world's exotic cats my next choice was the largest feline found in the America's, the Jaguar. After doing some research it seemed the easiest location to spot them was the Pantanal in Brazil since during the hot season they come by the rivers. After looking into various companies (Brazil trips are not cheap even though our US dollar is about 4 times more than the Brazilian Real) and for the best viewing chance and something with in my budget, I learned staying on the houseboats and being on the river makes it all easier. There were several companies, but after contacting some it seemed Pantanal Nature Wildlife Tours 6 day, 5 nights trip would be my best option as I only had about 9 days off of work. All the companies seem to hang out in the same areas on the rivers as well as just like Africa, they radio each other to let each little boat know what is out there. So I left Chicago in early October and arrived in Cuiaba, Brazil day later. The video will take you through this experience. What I did not mention in the video was that the tour group consisted of myself, Eddie the guide and 2 nice people from Australia and a friendly teacher from New Zealand. Both parties had way more vacation/holiday time to spend traveling than me and I was jealous. The U.S. lacks in the vacation category for sure. Well, I hope you like the video and if anyone has any questions, please ask. https://youtu.be/a5jm7X-jRAs
  23. I let you a brochure from the Tx2 WWF website. http://tigers.panda.org/wp-content/uploads/Cambodia-Tiger-Reintroduction-Brochure.pdf Tigers should be reintroduced by 2019. It is expected that the plan will receive a formal approval by the cambodian government in 2016. According to the plan, tigers sourcing should be secured by 2017. Until 2019, number of rangers will increased thanks to WWF fundings, prey density monitoring will continue to reach targets, anti-paoching activities will strengthen to ensure the previous goals.
  24. http://wcsindia.org/home/2016/04/16/statement-concern-tiger-biologists/ Senior Panthera and WCS scientists are strongly questioning recent reports on tiger population recovery issued by WWF and tiger range countries. This inter-NGOs criticism was already seen in the past but I detect here at least two new elements compared to the past: 1) The statement (and others like this one) was published on the official internet sites and Facebook pages of both the NGOs and are supposed to be backed by their respective organizations - so they are not exactly wild claims by "lone-wolf" scientists, to which we were already used to. 2) They are questioning not just the census, but the aim of the entire project (the doubling of the global tiger population in about 10 years) labelling it and its implementation as "scientifically flawed". It is a very strong stance against WWF and a certain way of doing nature conservation. I think that usually conservation NGOs are unlikely to criticize each other because the public opinion seems perceive them as branches of the same tree and thus this criticism can detrimental for them all. The fact they decided to take a stance clearly indicate how far their positions are and I think that this could be a great occasion for the conservation movement to grow up and evolve. "On Sunday, April 10th, WWF and GTF, ssued a report stating that the world’s wild tiger population was on the rise, and on track for a doubling in a decade. We do not find this report and its implications scientifically convincing." "Using flawed survey methodologies can lead to incorrect conclusions, an illusion of success, and slackening of conservation efforts, when in reality grave concern is called for." "Glossing over serious methodological flaws, or weak and incomplete data to generate feel-good ‘news’ is a disservice to conservation" "tiger recovery rates are slow and not likely to attain levels necessary for the doubling of wild tiger numbers within a decade" "Estimates of tiger numbers for large landscapes and countries currently in vogue in the global media for a number of countries are largely derived from weak methodologies"
  25. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3497025/Tigers-BOILED-make-wine-Animals-starve-death-rusty-cages-China-aphrodisiac-alcohol-boosts-sex-drive.html ~ This article from the U.K. Daily Mail is an investigative report of the tiger bone aphrodisiac alcohol industry in China. Nouveau riche middle class consumers buy tiger bone wine to enhance their virility. The tigers whose bones are vital ingredients in the wine are kept in squalid conditions. A wildlife park near Guilin in southern China has 1,800 tigers, which are seriously maltreated before being killed for their bones.

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