Nov 07

Diversity in Jhirna & Dhela, Corbett

Would you imagine your luck while appreciating the diversity & variety of wilderness in just two safaris in Jhirna & Dhela tourism zones in a span of 03 months, the dhela safari in the mid of June while Jhirna safari in october, 2017! I have proposed full day safari in the two zones right from Novemnber till March and believe you me the visitors here would be far happier than Dhikala or Bijrani in terms of sightings quality & quantity. IMG_0184

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   Mar 10

My last safari to Dhikala, 13th to 14th February’ 17

Mr. Pravine Chester has been here at The Ranger’s Lodge twice earlier and the third time, along with Mr. Madhu, a professional photographer, we made it a point to go to Dhikala for 02 nights although I could join them only for one night. Otters, Steppe eagle as well as Pallas’s fishing eagle, tawny fish owl, red-breasted parakeet, brown crake & a tigress crossing the river were the highlights. IMG_0230

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   Jul 30

Trip to Assam: Rhinos Raining

I have served in Asaam and possibly those were my golden days in wilderness. Pobitara had the highest density of one horned rhinoceros way back in 1988-89, as there were 64 of them in just 16sqkm of reserved forests. Now there are ore than 100 but the area of the sanctuary has also been increased to more than 40sqkm. Kaziranga is still the best place to see rhinos flourishing. Assam is possibly the most successful state in India where a dwindling species was conserved with passion, hence, there has been a serious revival of one horned rhinoceros.
I have decided to expand my passion for wildlife tourism and have started promoting home stays in quite a few wildlife reserves. The idea is to link Corbett & The Ranger’s Lodge with Pobitara, kaziranga, Nameri, Manas, Chaprashilla, Hoolock Gibbons, etc.

the rangers lodge corbett rhinos

the rangers lodge corbett rhinos

the rangers lodge corbett rhinos

the rangers lodge corbett rhinos

the rangers lodge corbett rhinos

the rangers lodge corbett rhinos

the rangers lodge corbett rhinos

the rangers lodge corbett rhinos


   May 22

Tigeress in Distress

The Chief wildlife warden, Uttarakhand, has warned all the wildlife operators in Corbett against naming the tigers. This is the right step and I fully support it. During my first visit to Dhikala in this season, I was shocked to see the impacting enthusiasm of gypsy drivers as well as the big lens owner photographers. I support wildlife tourism for a different reason. This tigress supposedly named after its regular sightings across Ramganga had adapted to a peculiar behavior of coming, morning & evening, to the far end branch of Ramganga river, obviously posing to everybody without fail. She had been doing for more than a month till my visit. Her cubs had not been sighted for more than 2 months. Despite posing to the clicking cameras for more than 30 minutes in a session, she was callously chased time & again. I had furiously objected to it. The ball may go into the court of Hon’ble Supreme Court and I do not want to suffer, as I would never support this kind of tourism. I also captured few shots in the evening while she posed for less than 8 minutes. Time to introspect!!!1-_MG_3775

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   May 19

Golden langurs in Chaprashilla WLS, Assam

Visited Assam after a gap of 25 years. The first & the foremost objective was to see Golden Langurs in Chaprashilla WLS. The Chaprashilla WLS is spread over Dhubri & korajhaar districts of Assam in an area above 45sqkm. Initially declared a reserve forest in 1966 by Assam Govt., was finally declared a sanctuary in 1994. An NGO, Nature’s Beckon, headed by Saumyadeep Dutta had explored the existence of quite a few troupes of golden langurs and then the Birdlife International had emphasized that the sanctuary offers excellent breeding habitats to quite a few endangered birds.
The forests are classified as Broadleaf tropical moist deciduous with Teak & Sal being the dominant species besides jamun, Arjun, Terminalia and other associates of TMD broadleaf forests. Dheer beel & diplalai beels exist on either side of the sanctuary making the forests more vibrant. It is the second most protected habitat for Golden langurs after Bhutan. The sanctuary is located on the edge of eastern Himalayan biodiversity hotspot. Way back in 1992-93 the population of Golden langurs had dwindled to the level of extinction but the timely action by the good Samaritans as well as the quick action by Assam Govt. in declaring it a WLS, has now given a new life to the species. At present there are more than 20 troupes of Golden Langurs inhabiting the area despite heavy human interference.1-IMG_0035

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   Mar 16

Tourism & Tigers: a WIN WIN situation for all

Seizure of 05 tiger skins coupled with untimely strike by the field staff of the forest dept. has forced people like us to check the permits and let the visitors in, as we do not want tourism to suffer at any cost and the state to suffer its reputation. The district administration and the top forest authorities do not want both conservation and tourism to suffer but the field staff stuck to their demands. The second step in the next 48 hours is to guard and patrol the forests by all the tourism stakeholders whether guides, hoteliers, travel agents, naturalists or even those who are dependent on tourism. Tiger first! A real test for true & pseudo conservationists! The tragedy is that all these tigers have been killed from the areas with absolutely no tourists around. My statement here stands true that tourism protects the tigers and no tourism areas make them vulnerable to poaching, as there are people dependent on dead tigers, may be minuscule in numbers but take away the bread & butter of large section of the environmentally aware society in specific & humanity in general.
It is high time for the people as well as the Govt of Uttarakhand to maintain the reputation of harbouring the second largest tiger population besides promoting wildlife tourism while taking some drastic measures for the situations not to repeat.
Khanan or mining has always belittled the values of the forest staff but there have been no shutdowns of khanan gates while the gates for wildlife tourism have remained the softest targets. You know WHY? The priorities change with the resource. Again khanan can be quantified while wildlife tourism & conservation remain abstract.


   Mar 16

Corbett loosing its Glory!

Unfortunately, Corbett has recently suffered from large scale poaching, as I can vouch about 10-15 tigers lost from the total of 215 besides the untimely strike by the field staff over petty demands, which the striking staff themselves believe that they may not be met. Who is suffering or has suffered – tigers & the tourists?
Petty demands of the forest dept. took precedence over conservation & tourism. The state of Uttarakhand is moving into a mess unless drastic efforts such as ESMA, etc. are forced upon for everyone’s betterment.
Mind Boggling: 125Kg of bones without skulls, 05 tiger skins seized, 04 uncaught poachers ran away with 04 more skins, 40+ ditches found as against 20+ claimed in the combing, field staff out of the forest check posts, no patrolling thereby leasing time to poachers to go at large. What a mockery of conservation & tourism??!! The state has boasted of the two & look at the situation of the two resources.
Good & great that the stakeholders have themselves taken up the cause of the two.A dead tiger

Adamkhor Mara F3 .wmv

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   Jan 15

Pin-Tailed Green Pigeon

Corbett is a repository of lifers, I mean the air-borne species and the word ” lifer” is for those who have got addicted to twitching. The Landscape of Corbett including Corbett tiger reserve and the forests adjoining it on the eastern, southern, north-eastern and north-western side are the richest in species among 14 bird groups ranging from Pheasants to button quails, eagles to owls,both small & big, to woodpeckers to cuckoos, parakeets to doves & pigeons & so on.
I was on a safari to Jhirna with Kudles who run their home stay in Landour by the name of Lavilla Bethany, possibly one of the best home stays, as ranked by the Trip Advisor, in the world. Their 08 year old daughter knew, by heart, more than 26 species of dinosaurs after each alphabet of English. I have taken the video of her rhyming all the ….gasters till Z and she had even more than that.
The sighting of the pin-tailed green pigeon was the best beginning of 2016 for me. I had seen a pair long time back very close to Garjia forest rest house and this was my second sighting.
Look forward to seeing more lifers! Happy sightings Imran Khan.IMG_7548

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   Jan 04

A happy end of 2015

The year 2015 has been a great time for me not only in terms of sharpening my jungle craft & knowledge gained, as I accompanied my guests on more safaris than the previous year, but also gave a reason to smile, as the tiger numbers in Corbett landscape has shown a positive increase against all the odds with 02 more tigresses in Jhirna & Dhela tourism zones holding the forte with 02 & 03 cubs each respectively.
One of the highlights of the year was the spotting of 05 Ibisbills near Garjia Temple, which are otherwise seen in flocks in Kazakhstan only. The bird has been coming to Corbett either in a loner or two for more than 25 years since I have gained consciousness in wildlife conservation & tourism.
The Ranger’s Lodge also excelled in making more friends of the tigers in their natural habitats. Principally, commercially and morally, the year 2015 has been extremely satisfying and has given the reason to go beyond.

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   Dec 25

Tigers for the guests at The Ranger’s Lodge

It is one of the luckiest days for the guests at The Ranger’s Lodge since there were tiger sightings in both the sessions, AM & PM, of safaris in Jhirna & bijrani respectively. My mentor from WII, D’Dun, BC Chaudhary is here along with his wife besides a young couple from Mumbai.

The morning jhirna safari with BC yielded a tigress with 02 cubs (What a perfect use of visual language between the cubs & the mother!!) along with black-crested bulbul, great-hornbill, Eurasian griffon, verditer flycatcher, blue-throated barbet & more than 50spp of other birds including an unidentified pipit. The afternoon bijrani safari produced young tigress from the litter of 04 cubs who have all separated from the mother who is looking for a new mate. The highlight of the afternoon safari was a pair of Crested kingfisher at the very end.1-crossing SONY DSC 1-DSCF0529 1-DSCF0586 1-IMG_0466 Blue throated barbet Untitled

 

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