Thursday, May 9, 2013

Kanha National Park - Swamp Deer

Kanha National Park known as the land of the tiger is home to many animals besides the big cats. One of the most charismatic animal is the Hard Ground Swamp Deer or the Barasingha. This is a gregarious species of Red Deer and was once found in large herds in and around the Kanha National Park. 

The swamp deer have proclivity towards swampy grasslands but in case of Kanha there is a scarcity of such habitat. Hence the deer has become adopted to hard ground by evolution of a morphological change. Unlike other swamp deer species of India the Cervus Duavcelli Branderi does not have splayed hoofs. The main food is some species of grasses which abound in Kanha Meadows.  

The Branderi Barasingha was brought back from extinction in the sixties. A significant contribution of Dr.Schaller et. el. was active in saving this species. From about sixty six heads the population is now over three hundred fifty. A very large enclosure was established for additional protection of the deer. In absence of predation the survival rate of the fawns increased rapidly hence the result. 

The swamp deer in Kanha breed in the Sonf Meadow and some other grasslands. The mating period is in peak winters.Normally one fawn is born after a gestation period of six months. The deer is sensitive to human incursions hence needs complete isolation. 

These animals  avoid human settlements and are rarely found near them. The nearest  relative is the sambar deer which is ubiquitous. It can also be seen near the hotels in Kanha in the adjoining forests.  To see the deer one should visit Kanha National Park anytime. Large herds congregate in summers in meadows with abundant water. Kanha Meadow is one of the finest place to see the Hard Ground Swamp Deer. 


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Gun Cult & The Lion

Obviously the experts have been proved wrong. After years of preparation, expenditure of vast sums of money the guns comes in the way. According to the times of India news dated April 29/4/2013. Sheopur District in which the park is located is having 4800 guns while Gir Surrpundings has 2600 guns. 

What is paradoxical is that the guns at both the places can wipe out the lion population in days. Then why single out Kuno Palpur?  

The name of the game is pride. Albeit one pride to Kuno will not harm Gujarat's interest at all. It that is the apprehension than what is this ho ha about Gujarat's might - economic and in all sphere. Is there and element of doubt?

I am a staunch admirer of Narendra Modi governance...but this parochialism baffles me. It is time the able contender for PM post unshackles parochialism and adopts a Nationalistic Fervor. The gun cult is a universal problem in India...well almost. Poachers are everywhere, it is the management that has to be trusted. MP's  record in tiger conservation has steadily improved and Kanha, Bandhavgarh and Pench are a testimony. 

Lions have always been present in this area the last record is Sagar in 1852. the lions where wiped out by shikaris and habitat take over. The Asian Lions prefer open savannas, deciduous forests and scrub country. The intense clash with tigers is not possible as the tiger prefer dense forests with small grasslands, wetlands and bush as associates. 

The recent re-introduction of tigers in Panna has proven to be a success, and with additional protection they will survive for posterity.

So what's the problem with Kuno?  

Well IUCN Guidelines. At this juncture the issue is meaning less, let the Gujarat Government express affirmative and then proceed with interpretation of guidelines. If the experts say yes then relocate the lions here and save the species.     

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Wildlife Images by Tirath Singh

Leopard at Bandhavgarh

Jackal Pair

Male Tiger

Tadoba Cubs
Tiger Cubs

Tiger in Grassland

Wild Dog