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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Reduction of forest cover, Wildlife deaths and poaching – Rambling of a frustrated nature lover

2008 Satellite Imagery
The buzz word these days in India is wild life conservation but then little is being done by the government toward the conservation of wildlife. Projects in the name of development are being schemed and it invariably involves reduction of the forest in various parts of India. The forest cover has drastically reduced in last 8 years and it is evident from the satellite image of the green cover taken in 2008 and 2015.
2015 Satellite Imagery
This in turn has a direct impact on the wildlife as the unhampered space for them keeps shrinking due to the avarice of the humans who continuously keep encroaching into the forest land.
States of Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Meghalaya, Kerala, Arunachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana have suffered huge loss of forest cover  .Animals that are affected the most are Elephants , Tigers and Leopards . Elephants keep moving about various forests following a set path for centuries that has been ingrained in their memories and is known as the elephant corridors and due to the encroachment of the forest land and the human habitation coming up on this land blocks the corridor and this is the reason why the elephants keep entering villages and towns. Similarly the reduction of forest causes the predators such as tigers and leopard to move nearer to human habitat as they may have been driven out by stronger animals. Cascading effect of this is increasing human animal conflict in which humans are always the winner.

Next big threat to the wildlife of India is poaching of wildlife and this is on increase due to lack of stringent laws and greed of easy money. Though the government keeps stating that they are doing everything to prevent the threat the ground realities are quite different. Take the case of the National animal tiger... we do have over 50 tigers missing from 2012 till date and their fate is unknown. Quite a lot of the missing tigers are Iconic tigers which have been extensively sighted and photographed by wildlife photographers from all over the world. Sultan, Dendu, Veeru, Jai, Munna are few tigers that were in news as their disappearance were publically noticed since these tigers were from the tourism zone of the wildlife reserve whereas there is hardly any news of the missing tigers which are from the core areas....even the forest department are clueless and a definite number cannot be ascertained and possibly have been poached.

As per various newspapers and the electronic news media there are 12-15 tigers missing from Ranthambore,6 tigers missing from Nagzira including the current heart throb Jai, 3 tigers from Telangana, 10 tigers from Pilibhit UP and from various parts of India for which there is no information unless recorded by wildlife enthusiast.  A tiger cannot be declared dead unless the carcass is found and the tiger mortality count does not consider these missing numbers. Iconic Jai gone missing has garnered so much publicity and you have so many NGO’s, individuals and the FD searching for him, even a reward has been announced by Maharashtra Government for finding him.

In addition to the missing tigers this year has seen a total of 82 tiger deaths as per Wildlife Protection Society of India and this includes mortality, poaching and skin seizures as of July end 2016 as compared to 92 tiger in whole of 2015 ...this is quite depressing especially after having cheered the increase of tigers in the wild to 2226 numbers in the last census.

List of various animals being poached keeps growing and it is quite depressing to read or hear and as a frustrated nature lover i sincerely hope this threat is neutralized at the earliest so as to retain the wild life that is in the forest of India safe.Jai Hind

 PS: Images Courtesy Google Images

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Magical Kabini – Stress buster

Disclaimer: This write up is my personal opinion and it does not endorse or market trips to this forest

The normal sounds of the forest is suddenly shattered by the alarm call of the forest watcher “Langurs” and the chorus taken up by the spotted deer’s indicating movement of a predator within the thick bushes along the path and suddenly there seems to be flurry of activities breaking the tranquility that was prevailing till then. The herd of deer’s all of them alert with their tails up looking toward the possible predator movement.
It could be the big cats Leopard or the Tiger moving about the forest. If Sambar deer gives out an alarm call then we can be sure it is a Tiger in most cases. If the naturalist is able to pinpoint the exact spot of the alarm call then we will be able to sight the predator as it comes out in open. Many a times we have been concentrating on the herd of the deers and the predators have circled and crossed the safari path behind the vehicle thereby missing head on images. The adrenaline that rushes through your body during such times and the thrill you get is something to be experienced and I would be doing injustice describing it in words. Once you are hooked on then you would want to get this feeling time and again. You can experience such feelings and thrills only at Kabini unlike other reserves in India and this is the reason why I keep going to Kabini on a regular basis and not to any other reserves or sanctuary in North India where  tiger sightings are quite common and that too in large numbers.
During the recent trip to Nagarhole forest one of my face book friend whom I met there asked if I have visited other wildlife reserves in other parts of India and my response was no since I visit only Kabini, Bandipur and Mudumalai reserves in addition to Nilgiris biosphere in all my trysts into the nature for last so many years.  He was pretty surprised with my response for he was under the impression that we visit the forests for capturing the images of wildlife. Yes that is collateral but that is not the only reason!!!! 

Currently this forest has a Black leopard or melanistic leopard or two residing in the tourism area and there has been high influx of wildlife photographer to sight and capture image of this black beauty. Recently it has been sighted quite often though the first sighting of this was nearly 18 months back.. In addition we do have the tigers, leopards, elephants in large herds, wild dogs or the dholes and other wildlife to make your tryst into the forest a real interesting experience. It is said that you have to be at the right place at the right time to catch the action as it unfolds and all of us try to be there when it happens.
So my friends this is why i keep going there time and again to Nagarhole