Sunday, August 19, 2018

Nauradehi WLS A Lost Paradise

Vanishing Ecosystems

Can humans take over any piece of land in India to acquiesce for our developmental and urbanisation goals? Will highest courts in India and the ministries stamp their foot down to see that development should not hinder? 

Should we repeat after few decades because development is not contemporary anymore and ravage and ravage till all other lifeforms cannot survive except some in zoos, herbariums and botanical gardens? 

Are we going to see the naked face of humanity and contend with evolving medical resources, artificial environmental dromes, and organised manicured floral landscapes?    

Yes humanity will survive till armageddon, and few will escape to another kingdom in celestial oblivion to continue to ravage again and again till the whole Universe is lost. 

Nauradehi Tigers

It started with Nauradehi? Barely aged eleven, I was witness to a huge male tiger being skinned right at my porch. My first tiger sighting was a dead one. I could see the cobbler assiduously collect fat. "This is good for joint pains," he explained to us without any expression on his countenance.

The hero stood around nearby devouring accolades. "I shot him sitting on a bullock cart - point blank. Could see his face lit up by the moonlight, and I aimed right without fear and trepidation." 

He was from Mumbai a rich man he came every year for hunt to Jabalpur along with the entourage of the Sahibs. They shot sloth bears, sambars and spotted deer from amongst a fast depleting lot of wild species in India. For a paltry sum in rupees as my father many a times lamented.
Tiger By Uday Patel 

The accolades continued. Brilliant! I too was admiring the brave hunter. He got rid of the vermin - a blood thirsty beast. It took me a decade to realise what grave error was being committed. This was in independent India, the Sahibs had left, the barbaric Mughal invaders had been vanquished long time back. This was us the Brown Sahibs. We took over immaculately from where they had left. 


Fox
The plunder was unprecedented, forests and grasslands were being destroyed at rapid pace. The burgeoning population needed food to be cultivated in thousands of acres, and there was no check on plunder and ravage of our ever depleting ecosystems.     

There were no tigers left in Nauradehi and the surrounding regions. All the remaining big cats had been shot dead not only by the Sahibs but by anyone with a clout. Today Nauradehi the kingdom of cats is devoid. No tiger no leopard. The wolf rules the roost! It is the indicator species.   


Waterbody


A few years back a lady DFO had come across a tigress with cubs and recently a tigress was found dead because of old age. It is conjectured that big cats somehow cross over to Nauradehi from nearby Panna Tiger Reserve at distance of 250+ km. Well it is anybody's guess since there are inaccessible quarters in this forest itself for animals to hide and breed. 


Recently a pair of tigers were relocated here in order to kick start the process. If the predators breed successfully the cats may permanently find a heaven in Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary again. Situated near Jabalpur City in MP the distance is about 100 km. The area is about 1000 + sq.km and comprises of mixed forests and pockets of grassland ecosystem. Undulating landscape actually encompasses more than 5000 sq.km of tiger habitat but the crown cover may not be adequate. 



Bengal Tiger - Uday Patel 


Fauna & Cheetah Relocation 


Some of the key fauna found here is the nilgai, chital, sambar, barking and four horned deer, black buck, tiger, sloth bear and small predators jackal, fox, civet, porcupine and mongoose. The leopard is conspicuous by its absence but sooner or later will find place here thanks to the protection offered. There is proposal to shift African cheetahs to grasslands of Nauradehi but this at present is only in the news.


Crocodiles and smooth Indian otter, turtles and tortoise can be found in the river systems and the water bodies of the sanctuary. The sanctuary is a heaven for avian species and delightful prospects await the birders. No extensive survey has been carried out but the species number may be more than 200. 





There are more than 60 villages in and around the WLS and plans are to shift them outside...some of them have already been shifted as per the news. Relocation is badly desired here since humans have occupied space reserved for other life forms and some are a big nuisance. Albeit under control, profilage, wood logging is still underway. I hope relocation will solve the problem to a great extent. Lot of constructive work has been done by the forest department here.


For those interested in visiting Nauradehi can contact DFO office at Sagar at a distance of eighty km. There is a permit required for wildlife safaris for a charge. One has to organise the trip usually from Jabalpur airport or railhead. An open jeep is the best recourse on the rough jungle roads. There are two rest houses for accommodation but need prior reservation. It is good to carry lot of provisions as well. 



Marsh Crocodile

Early morning and evening drives could be planned from Jabalpur in Central India. The jungle is worth exploring hence organise at least two or three safaris. Jabalpur is a conduit for other tiger reserves like Kanha and Bandhavgarh hence Nauradehi could be included in a circuit. Jabalpur accommodation is very good so there should be no problem for a stay here.



Tiger Relocated at Nauradehi - News