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Found 23 results

  1. In an unprecedented move, the National Tiger Conservation Authority has proposed to monitor Tigers using Drones fitted with night vision cameras, faster speed, longer batteries, and better landing capacities in 5 different national parks in India. They have already tested the same in Panna National Parks quite successfully. Now the other 4 parks which will be brought under the Drones are: Corbett, Sunderbans, Kaziranga, and Sathyamangalam. Once successful this will be launched in other Tiger reserves too. 3 Biologists and 3 Engineers per Drone are being trained for the same. A final approval is awaited from the Ministry of Defence. Hopefully by the end of this year this technology will be used to track the Tigers, and keep poachers at bay. Best Sharad Vats
  2. I had always wanted to visit Ranthambhor National park, but had never got around to do it. Ranthambhor is situated in Rajasthan, about 10 kms from a town called Sawai Madhopur. RNP is about 685 kms away from my home, here at Ahmedabad and the choices were to either drive down or take a train, since flight connections were not convenient. ( The nearest airport is Jaipur, about 200 kms from the park) June is hot and humid and driving down in the heat would be challenging. Accordingly, my friend and i booked train tickets departing Ahmedabad at 2130 hrs and reaching Sawai Madhopur at 0830 hrs the next morning. Perfect! ​We reached on time and there was a car to take us to our hotel, where we checked in, freshened up and had breakfast. Safari was at 1530 hrs and the sun was blazing away, with the mercury rising up till 45oC ( 113o F). The hotel is a comparatively new structure, made on the lines of the old fort/palaces, but with concrete, cement and bricks (and possibly stone) and not stone and limestone as was used in the olden times. The structure gets heated up and heat pretty much radiates all over the place. There is no greenery inside the walls and this possibly accentuated the heat. We did not dare come out of our air conditioned rooms, just braving the heat to go to the dining area for a spot of lunch. Promptly, at 1530 hrs, we set off for the forest in the blazing sun, with a thin safari cloth hat protecting me from the elements. The hot wind blew at our faces and now we understood why the locals covered their faces with a scarf. It was pretty grim, but the excitement of visiting the jungle overpowered our discomfort. Ranthambhor has 10 zones and the most visited (with better chances of sighting) are from 1 to 4. We were at zone 3 today. One of the advantages of visiting the park during June is that there are comparatively lesser tourists. The Indian families keep away due to schools having reopened as well as the excessive heat and the overseas visitors also find the weather extremely inconvenient. The main advantage is that sightings are quite frequent since the tigers prefer to stay near the water bodies. There are quite a few natural water bodies and some artificial ones, maintained by the forest department. Most of the natural water bodies have crocodiles and it was quite surprising to see some of them in a tiny water body which could dry up possibly in a week. When i mentioned this to our guide, he opined that the crocodiles have been known to move away to a different water body over night. The park takes its name from Ranthambhor fort, said to have been built by Maharaja Jayantha during the fifth century AD. It is a beautiful fort and in good repair even after a millennium and a half. There is a Ganesh temple within the fort and many devotees walk from the nearby villages and visit the temple. Festival days are pretty crowded, i am told. (More about this later) We moved into the park and came upon this lovely specimen. Oriental honey buzzard, probably and a juvenile. Could some one confirm this please? The rest in the gypsy were not happy stopping for this and were eager to proceed to scout out tigers. I had wanted to get a "taking off" shot of this bird, but in the humdrum could not do so . We proceeded ahead and turned the corner and came upon this magnificent sight: to be continued....
  3. Strictly my view, but arrived having seen many Tigers over 28 years of safaris in various parks of India. It was not easy to arrive at this decision but not a difficult one either. In the current Tigers in the Wild it is Umarpani Male in Kanha National Park who will get crowned as the largest Tiger in central India. Son of Legendary Munna, and Umarpani female, he is a huge Tiger who has outsized his parents, and is all set to takeover reins from his father as King of Kanha. Read the link below to know about him and his competition today. Best Wishes Sharad Vats
  4. An inexplicable start of new year it was..! 11 Tigers & a leopard..! In all a dozen of Predator cats of Tadoba accompanied me in the start of this year, as if an indication to stay around them all this year and many more years coming ahead. Besides the hectic schedule, the glimpses of these extremely ROYAL Bengal Tigers helped me to keep up. Haven't expected it to be this amazing..! Excited as ever, Seeing off 2016, welcoming 2017..!!! Once again Wishing you all a very Happy New Year . May this year bring you lots of glory and Happiness....💥💥💥 Keep in touch for more updates.
  5. We've just paid deposits for 44 nights in India for February-April 2016. This trip has been over 12 months in the planning so I am really relieved and quite excited to rest easy now and let the safari countdown take care of itself. The itinerary is a mixture of cultural sights and wildlife safaris due to the interests of the group. This trip expanded (along with the size of the group) and morphed into 2 separate sectors from the initial idea of a few cultural sights in around 7-8 days followed by a long multi-park safari for Jane and I to a much longer itinerary as my aunt, uncle and a friend of my aunt decided to join us for the first sector. Consquently, the first 16 days is a 'family and friends' trip mostly around cultural and architectural wonders followed by a long wildlife safari for Jane and I to 9 different national parks and wildlife sites. This is my third trip to India and a first for everyone else - my first 2 trips were architectural and cultural journeys to southern India (1999) and Kolkata to Mumbai (2001) so I am expecting to see a lot of change in some places 15 years further down the track. Delhi - 2 nights Bundi - 1 night Udaipur - 3 nights Amritsar - 1 night Jaipur - 2 nights Agra- 2 nights Chambal River - 1 night Gwalior - 1 night Delhi - 2 nights Velavadar NP - 2 nights Gir NP - 3 nights Little Rann of Kutch - 2 nights Delhi - 1 night Tadoba - 3 nights Pench - 2 nights Kanha - 5 nights Delhi - 1 night Corbett - 3 nights Delhi - 1 night Kaziranga - 4 nights Kolkata - 1 night
  6. 25 pictures from the 40 odd safaris that I went to in Ranthambhore in April 2016. Got another 20 to go in May, starting from tomorrow afternoon.
  7. It is great to finally hear some good news on the conservation front, but.... Is it wise to tell the poachers there are now more tigers to kill? Just a thought! AJ
  8. I am finding a lot of conflicting and confusing information on camera fees in the tiger reserves. I'm seeing everything from 200 rupees for foreigners (which is only about $3) up to $10 per camera. Given that I would have 2 DSLR bodies, and my husband 1, plus usually a point-and-shoot as well for scenics and grab shots--that's four cameras. If it is really $10 per camera per entry, that's $80 per day, that really could add $1000+ to our trip, which seems nuts! So my questions: 1) Do all the tiger reserves have camera fees? (specifically looking at Tadoba, Pench, Kanha, Bandhavgarh) 2) Is the charge per entry or per day? and how much is it, really? 3) I also read that some may charge extra for long lenses. All our lenses (except the point and shoot) are long! (In Africa, I usually have a 70-200 on one body and a 200-400 on the other; hubby has an 80-400.) Is this true? I'd like to figure out what I need to budget for this...thanks!
  9. Before a trip, especially to a new place, I like to immerse myself with some good reading, so I'm looking for some recommendations! (I'm not talking about field guides; I'm set with those, I have the incredible mammal book by Vivek Memnon--wow better than any African mammal book I've found! and of course the Grimmett Birds of India.) But I am looking for fiction, especially mysteries that might be set in India and particularly some that might feature a tiger or two Or historical fiction (but not really into historical non-fiction.) Also non-fiction about wildlife, conservation and tigers, wildlife or birding would be good too. In terms of mysteries, I haven't found much, just one mystery "Side Trip to Katmandu" by Marie Moore which looks pretty silly but maybe fun, and partly takes place in a tiger reserve. I'm sure there must be more, suggestions welcome!
  10. 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.
  11. I am just starting to think about an Indian safari for February 2016. Having traveled four times now to Africa and extensively in South America, we are ready for tigers But of course, more than just tigers! We are avid birders and I also would really like to see Asiatic lion and leopard. Never having been to Asia at all, just about everything would be new for us, and the birds alone would not disappoint. But we do want to maximize our opportunities for tigers! I think we could do about 12-13 days (not including travel days, which would bring it up to 14-15 or so coming from New York.) So I am thinking Bandhavgarh, Kanha, and Gir. Is this feasible to do in that amount of time? How would you recommend splitting the time? I want to write to a couple of operators to get proposals, but I need a starting point... As for operators, I will try Wild World India as I've seen it recommended here...any other suggestions? Another question--if you book through someone like Wild World India, do they assign you a guide that stays with you for the whole trip (like you can do in Tanzania, for instance)? Or do you use different local guides at each lodge (like in Botswana)...where the lodge assigns the guide...I am unclear on how this works in India. If you use a guide from the lodge then I'd think quality would vary do you assure a good guide? It would be especially important to us to have one that knows their birds. Any help/suggestions appreciated!
  12. 9th April 2011. In the morning safari some jeeps saw a pair of tigers walking from Ranthambhore national park towards the Kalapani anicut in the Kundaal valley at the edge of the national park. In the evening we found the mating tigers (T24 male and T39 female – both young adults) in a rocky plateau across the Kalapani anicut. The plateau had a short grass cover and some low trees. The sun was behind the tigers and the back light was very strong. Most of the time the tigers were in the shade and were no good for photography. After about half an hour the tigress suddenly got up and started stalking towards the edge of the plateau. A mother bear with two small cubs riding on her back was walking towards the mating pair of tigers and the tigress had gone to confront them. By the time the bear realized that there were tigers close by, the tigress had got very close to them. That’s when the mother became aware of the tiger’s presence. The bear appeared to be in serious trouble and we expected the bear to bolt away but the bear had other plans. The bear cubs flattened themselves on the mother’s back while the mother charged at the approaching tigress. I don’t think that the tigress expected the bear to charge and tried to get out of what was by now a messy situation for both of them. The bear blocked the tiger’s path and stood up on her hind legs to confront the tigress. By this time the tigress desperately wanted to get out of the confrontation and kept backing off. T 39 in a young tigress who probably did not have the experience to take on a desperate mother. The bear started screaming loudly and got increasingly aggressive. Soon there was a loud slanging match between the two, which the bear won. The tigress beat a hasty retreat while the bear stood her ground. By this time the male tiger who was observing the drama from a little distance decided to get involved. T 24 is about 4 years old and had just come into dominance. We were worried for the bear. We had seriously underestimated the power of an angry mother. T 24, the young male star of southern Ranthambhore, could not even budge the bear. These two had another loud slanging match that went in the bear’s favour. T 24 soon realized the fury of an angry mother and started backing away from a now “one sided” fight and did not stop till he reached a safe distance. All this happened in exactly two minutes and 10 seconds. When the clock started it seemed that the mother bear had got herself into a very dangerous spot. In ten seconds she had taken control and two minutes later she had forced two tigers to back off. The victor walked off leaving behind two sheepish cats. Pardon the large watermarks but these pictures have been downloaded and used by far too many people / agencies without any credit.
  13. Having aborted our trip during October last year, due to non availability of permits, we had resolved to get permits for Bhandhavgarh well in advance which we did in December for a a visit during march end. After researching all reports, i got 5 permits for Tala zone. we packed our bags and started off by road to Bhandhavgarh, about 1250 kms from where we live. On the way we stopped at Indore and then Bedaghat, near Jabalpur- a nice place on the banks of the river Narbada. The marble rocks are scenic and the waterfall is quite awesome, the short drop being made up by the huge volume. () We reached Bhandhavgarh on 27th evening and checked into Jungle mantra, a nice resort run by Rhea and Shalin, Shalin had already arranged for the gypsy jeeps and guides based on our permits and we were off the next morning at 5.45 am. While during the next 3 trips we sighted a lot of birds and some animals, the tiger was elusive. to add to my misery, sightings were now taking place in zone 2 every day ( for which we had no permits) and none in zone 1 ( where we had permits!) On the forth trip, our guide a smart person declared that we wait besides a waterhole and after a wait of some 90 minutes we got our first sighting. A tigress coming out of the grass for her evening meal. () Truly a magnificent sight. Patience pays! The light was failing and i had to crank up the ISO much to my chagrin, but better to get a picture with noise rather than no picture. Well, photographers can never be satisfied- thats what keeps us going. () The next day we managed to get permits for zone 2 (Magadhi) and we saw a tigress with her two cubs. There was a rumour that she had three but a poacher had killed one of them. Some thing needs to be done about these poachers, if the story is true. The sighting was not very good since the cubs and the mother did not come out from the thick bamboo. However on the next day we got a reasonably good sighting of the same family, We had unseasonal showers and the jungle was cool- not the right conditions for tiger sighting. But that apart, there is something about the jungle that gets you. Once in, you are hooked. we drove to Panna after 5 days and were lucky to sight Dholes. Then it was the long haul to back home ' ( i am not sure whether my photos are embedded between texts and hence i shall post them again as attachments)
  14. I had made a Family tree chart for all the tigers at Ranthambhore that I would like to share with you. The chart also has the Id's, with their given names and the area that these big cats roam at Ranthambhore. I am unable to put the chart here itself so I am posting the link to the chart here. I hope I am not breaking any rules by pasting the link!! Few points to note 1. The chart is made as per the available data from 1998 till March, 2014. (Will update it soon) 2. With T-19, loosing 1 cub from her last litter (not updated in the chart), the tiger population at RTR as of today is as follows Male : 25 Female : 21 cubs : 11 Total Tigers (adults + Sub adults + Cubs) : 57 3. Credits have been given in the chart itself. Regards
  15. 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
  16. 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!
  17. In Dec 2012, I got a chance to spend a few days in Tadoba. This was to be a solo trip and I was looking forward to spend time in Tadoba. While during the initial planning I contacted Manish Varma. Manish took care of all the on the ground logistics and I was spared the pains of arranging things for myself. Manish is local of Chandarpur and spends most of his time in Moharli. Manish gave me a fair warning that forest department has blocked quite a few routes around Tadoba and all tourist traffic is concentrated around two main areas. Well thats that but I was willing to take that chance and have a relaxed trip anyways. So I took a flight from Mumbai and landed in Nagpur. Gopal was the designated driver picking me up from airport. It was a nice 4 hour drive when we ended up in Chandarpur. Gopal and I had a dinner in a local bar. We drove to Moharli and the road was dark and via buffer zone. Gopal humored me & drove at a snails pace during the last few kms. Well other than a few deers crossing the roads and some hares, I did not see much. Well, here is to hope. My first few nights were booked in Saras Resort, thats next door to Moharli gate of TATR. I was booked in log hut. Accommodation was basic, clean and comfortable. Just the way I like it. It even had running hot water, you tell the boys in the resort and they come running with hot water. The guys who were employed there were from near by villages and while young and with no training, these guys were very attentive. I have generally seen people complaining about service in resorts around Tadoba, but I believe it is a matter of setting ones expectations right. The cook made sure I got food as per my request. Other part of my stay was booked in MTDC resort. Another basic and comfortable accommodation. This is a small distance away from the gate, but not by much. One of the nights while Manish I was sitting and having a post sundown sundowner, there were repeated alarm calls. Loud and clear. Whatever was disturbing the peace of the forest was lurking behind the lake near MTDC for a while. This was a fun stay and I was looked after well by the guys there. The game drives were concentrated around two areas: Telia lake and Pandarpauni area. Other obstacles thrown in the way by forest department were described elsewhere on the forum and I would not want to repeat them here. The jeep drive timings in the park are typical morning and afternoon drives. We spent a lot of time around Telia and Jamunbodi areas. I think I even got some of the best naps in there as I do not believe in running around the whole park without a reason. We would go about trying to figure out the animal movements and based on what we could gather we would plan our route of the drive. In the areas that were allowed, birdlife was not very prominent. However Manish had arranged for a few excursions outside the park for the reason and we saw some birdlife around the villages nearby. Now instead of giving a day to day account of the trip, I would like to share the sights that I was graced with.
  18. Found some home made books of a safari enthusiast Brazilian couple on Blurb. I really enjoyed seeing them on a large monitor.
  19. 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!
  20. Hi all, this isn't my trip report but just thought I'd check in. I'm now at the hotel in Mumbai, heading on to Gujarat tomorrow. Had the most amazing time in Tadoba. Whilst we didn't unfortunately see wild dogs in the end, we did have more, longer and better sightings of tigers than my three previous trips combined! In total we saw 6 different tigers, some of those a couple of times. Several close views, plus a single brief encounter with a sloth bear and a more distant view of a leopard drinking from a waterhole. What's more, Jonathan Scott of Big Cat Diary fame was staying at tigert trails and he came in our jeep on one of the drives because there were some dignitaries in the park and they didn't have enough permits to give him a private jeep! He is there directing a new series called Tiger Diaries with an Indian film crew. They had originally planned to film in Ranthambhore but can you believe that out of 32 drives they only saw tiger 3 times?! We've seen them every afternoon!!! Strangely, the mornings have been pretty dead here. Though we have been putting in some time to look for the dogs where they were last seen (no luck for us but others did see them). If we had gone all out for tigers, we might have had a couple more sightings. Tadoba is closed Today, So we did the drive in the buffer this morning and came across fresh tiger pugmarks. apparently a jeep that got in before us was charged by this tiger, to the extent that it's paws were up on the vehicle! They got so scared they left the buffer zone and word then quickly got around that a tiger was there so lots of locals came to look for it too.. Sadly this one proved elusive. Anyway, we had phenomenal tiger sightings! I must come back to Tadoba again!!
  21. Hi everyone, I wanted to express I have great concerns about the privet captive breeding industry in South Africa after visiting the Seaview Lion Park in SA - PE. And so I thought it might be a good idea to start a discussion about this facility. Has anyone here been there? The agency that offered this facility (and many others like it) described it as a wildlife sanctuary that rehabilitates wounded or abandoned lions and uses captive breeding (of lions and siberian tigers) in order to create a "healthy bloodline" with the purpose of releasing back to the wild. I would be very interested to hear any comments regarding this issue. Thanks everyone
  22. http://www.huffingto..._n_1697659.html

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