Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary

Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary is spread over an area of 120.82 square kilometers. A large lake and marsh lands forms a large portion of this bird sanctuary. This bird sanctuary is habitat to many a migratory birds during winter and spring.

inside Nalsarovar Bird SanctuaryBoats leave at sunrise to take bird watchers out on the lake inside Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary

Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary was declared as a bird sanctuary in 1969. The lake is home to 210 bird species  in the winter.  Winter is the time when many of the migratory birds like flamingos, rosy pelicans,  white storks, ruddy shelducks and herons makes this Bird Sanctuary as their second home.

This Bird Sanctuary attracts thousands of waterfowls, immediately after the monsoon season.

Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary offers boat ride to hose interested to go deep into the lake. Horse ride is also available on the banks of the lake.

This Bird Sanctuary was declared as a Ramsar site on  2012. It is the largest wetland bird sanctuary in Gujarat.

How Do I Go to Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary?

Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary is at a distance of around 63.5 kilometers from Ahmedabad city, the capital of Gujarat state.

What are the timings of Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary?

This Bird Sanctuary is open from 6 am to 5:30 pm.  There is an entry fee to be paid. There is a separate charge for camera. Boating charges are extra. It is negotiable. Please confirm the rates before boarding the boat.

This Indian community welcomes leopards

Devotees of Shiva, the god of wild things, the people of Bera have figured out how to coexist with one of India’s most feared predators—the leopard.

 

The odds of seeing a leopard in Bera, in northwestern India, are 90 percent, says Shatrunjay Pratap, a wine-maker-turned-conservationist and wildlife cameraman. At first glance you’d be forgiven for thinking he was off his trolley. Not only is this not a wildlife reserve, it’s a region teeming with villagers and livestock—not the usual compadres of large predators.

Yet this pastoral region of just less than eight square miles in the Aravalli hills between the tourist meccas of Udaipur and Jodhpur contains the largest concentration of leopards on the planet. Some fifty leopards live here in rocky outcrops that rise amongst the irrigated fields and thorny desert scrub.

“Visitors can’t believe it,” says Pratap, who runs a homestay for leopard-seeking tourists. “We have people coming who have spent years on safari in Africa and never seen a leopard, and within an hour or two of them arriving here, we’ve shown them a leopard, sometimes even two.”

A leopard sits above an altar in Bera, where these big cats and humans live peacefully side-by-side.

Photograph by Shatrunjay Pratap

The leopards’ conspicuous presence is due to a unique relationship with the Rabari villagers. The Rabari, a tribal caste of semi-nomadic cattle herders and shepherds believed to have migrated to Rajasthan from Iran via Afghanistan a thousand years ago, are devout Hindus. In particular, they’re devotees of Shiva—the god of wild things, who’s clad in a leopard skin.

The continent of India is home to as many as 14,000 leopards, up from a historical low of 6,000 to 7,000 in the 1960s. Leopards, like all wildlife in India, are protected by law—a reflection, in theory at least, of the Hindu tenet of ahimsa, or non-violence. But as leopard numbers increase, human-leopard conflicts have also risen. Between 1995 and 2017, the nonprofit Wildlife Protection Society of India recorded 4,373 leopards killed. They were either poached for the illegal trade in body parts for medicines and aphrodisiacs or killed by farmers and villagers out of fear or retaliation for attacks on livestock.

 

In Bera, however, attitudes couldn’t be more different. When leopards occasionally vault into a livestock pen at night, dragging away a precious calf, goat or sheep, villagers are content to claim the modest recompense the State Forestry Department provides. They’ll get about $28 for a goat or sheep, $70 for a calf, and $280 for a bull or a camel—less than half the market price. Sometimes, they don’t even do this, considering the kill an offering to the god.

“If any leopard kills my livestock, Lord Shiva will give me double,” says Kesa Ram, 27, a herdsman and part-time leopard tracker for tourists.

Mutual Understanding

The leopards, in turn, seem to consider humans no threat. While, elsewhere in India, some 90 to a hundred are killed and nearly a thousand people are injured by leopards every year. But despite the high concentration of leopards, there’ve been no attacks on people in Bera for over a century, apart from one unfortunate incident 20 years or so ago when a leopard snatched a one-year-old in Vellar village. The girl’s family, however, considers themselves to blame, having left her wrapped in a bundle out in the open, near the cattle shed, late in the evening. When they shouted, the leopard dropped the child and ran off.

Santosh Kunwar Chauhan, now 24, and her family are undaunted by her brush with the predator, believing it even auspicious, the canine marks on her neck a talisman. She’s nicknamed Setri—the local word for a female leopard. Convinced the leopard made a genuine mistake, the villagers of Vellar still allow their children to play out in the open.

Close to a village temple, a female leopard waits for nightfall, when she’ll seek out a feral dog, goat, or calf as prey. When a village loses livestock to a leopard, they see it as an offering to the god Shiva. Photograph by Isabella Tree.

It’s an astonishingly forgiving response in a country where poisoned meat is routinely left out for leopards and tigers that stray into farmland and villages. Many Rabari believe it is their dharma—their religious duty—to respect wildlife, feeding wild peacocks and langur monkeys at temples, for example.

But there’s a practical element too. The leopards’ presence is welcomed for keeping neelgai antelope, wild boar, and chinkara (Indian gazelles) away from crops of cotton, maize, wheat, mustard, and groundnut.

With livestock easy pickings, and a plentiful supply of stray dogs (the leopards’ standard fare), numbers of leopards are higher amongst the ten villages of Bera than on any wildlife reserve. One female recently raised a litter of four, thought to be a world record. Behavior is different, too. Leopards are generally loners, but in Bera it’s possible to see as many as five adult leopards together.

A favorite leopard haunt is a cave adjoining a small temple set 30 feet up in the crevice of a rocky outcrop. The evening we visited, villagers were climbing the steps with offerings, unconcerned that a young male leopard was emerging from the shadows with his sister. Just as nonchalantly, the leopards padded across the mouth of the cave and flopped down on a lookout rock. Fully grown, yet still playful, they rubbed muzzles and swatted each other with soft paws. They seemed indifferent to our vehicle and two others from a neighboring camp that had joined us, but at 7:30 p.m. we backed off and left them to it. The curfew is self-imposed by the Rabari, who have a saying: “The day belongs to humans, but nights belong to the leopard.”

Local Businesses Versus Hotel Industry

Tourism is still low-key here and welcomed by villagers. Men are employed as trackers and alert hotels to leopard sightings. Women work in hotels as housekeepers, maids, and cooks, earning independent incomes for the first time. “With tourists coming to see the leopards, we women are starting to move out of our houses to work,” says Kesi Rabari, a 37-year-old housewife whose daughter works for Bera Safari Lodge. “Earlier our lives were just restricted to the fields.”

But word is getting out, and the big hotel industry is poised to move in. It’s a powerful economic force in India with strong connections to local government and the Forestry Department. Concerned about the impact on the landscape and their culture, the Rabari villages, aided by Pratap, are campaigning to have Bera designated a “community reserve,” only the second in India. It would ensure regulation—and income—remains in the hands of villagers.

A tourist watches a male leopard on the rocks nearby. Villages in Bera are seeking recognition as a community reserve so that they can maintain local control over the tourism sector, but already big hotel businesses are trying to move in. Photograph by Isabella Tree.

“At the moment,” says Pratap, “You can expect to see maximum four or five tourist jeeps at a leopard sighting. It’s sustainable. But if we don’t get community reserve status, this site will go crazy. We’ll be overrun by overlanders and safari trucks charging in from every direction. Already, every year, three or four new hotels are built, and at the moment there’s no restriction where they build them. Obviously the sites they go for are the most scenic—the rocks where the leopards live.”

Under community reserve law, development within the area would be prohibited. The villagers would have the power to dictate the number and size of hotels serving the reserve and the number of jeeps allowed on safari at any one time. They would be able to enforce a nighttime curfew for leopard-watching and—crucially—ensure that locals continue to benefit from the jobs arising from tourism.

A pressing concern is that big hotels will import their own guides and staff. Marginalization of local people, Pratap argues, is where the national and state parks of India go wrong. Without the direct involvement of local communities acting as wildlife protectors, poaching, particularly of tigers and leopards, is rife.

As yet, though, the villagers’ petition for community reserve status to the chief minister of the government of Rajasthan, submitted in 2015, has been met with silence. According to Pratap, big hoteliers have been putting pressure on local government to “put the file to rest” and are trying to convince villagers that it’s in their interest to work with the industry rather than push for their own reserve. Almost all 21 villages in Bera had originally petitioned for the community reserve, but several villages have changed their minds. The longer the file sits unanswered in local government offices, the harder it will be to get a community reserve off the ground, Pratap believes.

“When we are demonstrating how well we can do as guardians of the leopards,” says Pratap, “why can’t we keep this place in the hands of the community, as an example to the world about co-existence?”

 

Note: This article appeared originally in the website of national geographic. The link is here

 

Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary on Nelliyampathi Hills

Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary and national park on the Western slopes of the Nelliyampathi Hills, in  Thrissur District,  Kerala state, India. It has an area of 85.067 square kilometers.

Chimmony Dam-10.JPG
By Sirajvk at English Wikipedia. CC BY-SA 3.0,                             Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary

Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1984. It lies west of Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary.  Kurumali River and Mupliam rivers are the main rivers flowing through this national park cum wildlife sanctuary.  Chimmony Dam, across Chimmony river is also situated in this wildlife sanctuary.

About half of the large mammals in the state of Kerala are found in this Wildlife Sanctuary. It includes y some of the globally threatened species such as tigers, Asian elephants and wild dog.  Some of the other engendered species are  lion-tailed macaque, Indian giant squirrel, Nilgiri langur and slender loris.

Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary has 160 species of birds. This Wildlife Sanctuary also has 14 species of amphibians, 25 species of reptiles and 31 species of fishes.

Malaya tribe, the sole tribal community living close to the wildlife sanctuary, is taking part in the Eco-tourism projects inside the sanctuary. 52 tribal families are there.

How Do I Go to Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary?

Office of The Wildlife Warden of Peechi Wildlife Division is situated at Peechi. Pin code is  680653. Entry permits are issued from this office.

Thrissur town is at around 39 kilometers from the wildlife sanctuary.

Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary is headquartered at Echippara. Accommodation is available at the Goverment Inspection Bungalow, situated near Chimmony Dam.

Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary and Peppara dam

Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary near Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala. This sanctuary is named after the Peppara dam, which lies within the sanctuary.

Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary as seen from the Peppara dam
By Shadow auror at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary as seen from the Peppara dam

In 1983, Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary came into existence. It is spread over an area of 75 square kilometers. It consists of myristica swamps and tropical moist evergreen forests. Karamana River and its tributaries are the main source of water inside the sanctuary.

Tiger, leopard, elephant, sambar (deer), sloth bear, bonnet macaque, Nilgiri tahr, Nilgiri langur, etc, are some of the wild animals found in this wildlife sanctuary.  233 species of birds are also found here. 27 species of fishes are also found here.

Peppara dam is meant to supply drinking water to Thiruvananthapuram city and its suburbs. Peppara dam’s reservoir is spread over 5.82 square kilometers.

How Do I Go to Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary and Peppara Dam?

Thiruvananthapuram  Central Railway station is the nearest railway station at around 44 kilometers from Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary. There are regular buses to Peppara from KSRTC Central Bus Station alias Thampanoor bus station, opposite to Thiruvananthapuram  Central Railway station. Peppara town is on the Thiruvananthapuram – Ponmudi Road.

Grand Island and Pequeno Island in Goa – Two most Exotic Places in Goa

Grand Island or Grande island  is one of the most exotic places in Goa. There are lot of package tours to the island. The package normally includes snorkeling, fishing and a scrumptious meal. Sighting of dolphins is also normal in and around the island.

goa-islands

The Grand Island in Goa is accessible by boat. You can experience the underwater life, through snorkeling. Experts are there to guide you at Monkey Beach. It is quite safe to do snorkeling at Monkey Beach in Grande island.

There are package tours to this island. The Grande Island package tour costs around two thousand rupees, including boat fare and snorkeling charges. Please confirm the rates before agreeing for the package tour.

How Do I Go to The Grand Island in Goa?

The Grand Island or Grande island  is on the Arabian Sea. There are boat services from the main land from every morning; starting at around 8 am. Services are there till 3 pm, depending on the bookings. It takes less than 30 minutes of travel by boat.

Bat Island alias Pequeno island

Bat Island alias Pequeno island is another famous island known for snorkeling. It is very close to the mainland, on your way to Grand Island or Grande island. Pequeno island is also known as Marmagao Goa.

Fresh Fish can be caught from the sea and  barbecued at these islands.