Friday, June 27, 2008

Tiger Safari at Barnawapara

Situated in the newly carved state of Chattisgarh in Central India, Barnawapara Sanctuary is one of the popular wildlife destinations in India. Set in the district of Mahasamund, Barnawapara Sanctuary is small wildlife preserve with an area of two hundred and forty five kilometers as compared with area of Kanha National Parkwhich is 1945 sq.kms.

  • Fauna

In terms of wildlife viewing Barnawapara sanctuary is unique and has mammalian population equal to major National Parks and Tiger Reserves of India. Major mammals like tiger, leopard and number of deer species make Barnawapara their home. Flying squirrel, hyena and other lesser seen animals like chinkara and four horned deer are visible here.

The sanctuary has size able numbers of bison and sambar. The chital population is well established to support major carnivora like, tigers, leopards and Indian wild dogs.

  • Flora
The forests are mixed tropical dry deciduous type with prominence of Teak, Sal and Saaj. The undualting terrain supports Bamboo on slope and mixed tree species on plains. Other species of trees found at Barnawapara are Semal, Mahua, Ber and Tendu.

Best time to visit Barnawapara sanctuary is from November to June.

The sanctuary is at a distance of eighty five kilometers from Raipur and sixty kilometers from Mahasamund railway station.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tiger in the Bush

On my recent visit to Kanha, last week in June, I had a tough time locating tigers. It had rained a day before I arrived and continued to rain intermittently spoiling the tiger safari. Except for herds of Chittal and occasional sightings of Sambar deer it was difficult toe see any other animal.

On the second round of the wild life safari a barking deer went scurrying past too fast for my English guests to take some photographs. The rain kept troubling us and it was at times very heavy.

"Do we have a chance to locate the tiger?" Chris asked rather dejected.

"Very thin chance I replied." The tigers are inactive and their movement is limited as water and prey is available very close to them."

"So they keep to dense thickets?"

"Yes definitely Chris that is why there are no alarm cries or pug marks on the road." I replied unhappy that I was not able to show the tiger to my guests.

We did manage to see the Hard ground Barasingha, Gaur, a lone Jackal and eventually a Barking deer. And yes lots of birds. But my guests did not go away disappointed after all as we saw the Bengal tiger in a tiger show on the last round before leaving. It was the same tiger that had walked alongside us for a long time in January. The same tiger was well camouflaged hidden and sulking in the bush.

The camouflage was so perfect that even a few feet from the bush we could not make out that a tiger was sitting there in a bush and that even a large full grown tiger. The only clue was a partially eaten wild boar which it had hunted the night before.

With little bit of elephant maneuvers we could lay our eyes on the tiger and the guests could get some superlative images of the tiger as seen from the network of branches and twigs.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Kanha in Rains..

Kanha is subject to many seasons like any where else in India. The rains have major impact as they manage to get the park closed albeit delivering much succor to the tourist fed wildlife. The visitor stream is never ending at this magnificent nature preserve. The visitors keep coming even if the rain is forecast such is the attraction for this tiger habitat.

The drizzle casts a sheen of silver gray haze over the forests and savanna grasslands. The sun is conspicuous by its absence it is enchanting experience to go for a wildlife safari at Kanha. It is a new experience although Indian wildlife watching is difficult as all animals except the spotted deer move deep in the jungle. The tigers after facing the grime of the hot summers celebrate the cool rains and move in deep into the forest and relax. The rains ends the stress among the life forms at Kanha. It rejuvenates and nourishes and regenerates the whole ecosystem.

The surroundings are serene peaceful and refreshing thanks to the absence of heat and strong sunlight. The resorts at Kanha accommodate the last stream of visitors as they prepare for the end of the tourist season. For many resorts it is time to recollect the business that they fetched and what more they can do to make tiger safari adventure more appealing to the visitors.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Tiger Cubs

This year has been good for Ranthambhore tiger reserve in Rajasthan and Pench tiger reserve (Seoni Hills)in Madhya Pradesh. Tigers are prolific breeders but the extent to which their population has been decimated in last hundred years that this fecundity is hardly noticeable.

The reckless poaching has resulted in extermination of population all over India and has even resulted into skewed sex ratio at places. Combined with stress of human interference and continued threat of live stock and prey base depletion tigers survived in reserves and bred well. There was a marked rise in population of tigers in some National Parks. But when places which are disturbed and suspected of being under attack by the poachers - as Ranthambhore - report fourteen tiger cubs being born in the park, it is indeed heartening news. This also shows that the sex ratio among male and female tigers there is in balance and mating is taking place regularly.

Similarly at Pench nine tiger cubs where born recently. Pench is an upcoming tiger reserve in terms of sighting and successful breeding of tigers has resulted in good tiger sighting in the wild in recent times.

Another benefit of larger number of tiger reserves reporting good tiger sighting is that the tourism pressure will spread even and let off some air from Kanha and Bandhavgarh. The lodges and resorts at Pench and Ranthambhore tiger reserve will also see greater number of visitors if this trend continues.