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Monday, May 18, 2015

Munna - Epitome of Tigerhood

Tiger Safari

"Nothing here," the forest guide said as we passed through the Silyari Lake and adjoining grasslands. "Well than lets go over to Nain Singh Nala," I said. "Nothing here as well no sign of the tiger," the guide said. The driver and the guide then set out to draw an elaborate route that would fetch a tiger. 

Our guest at Courtyard House was a wildlife photographer Micheal from UK and he wanted a real good shoot of the big cat. 

"We are going back," I said in a stern voice to make sure that my wish is accepted. The driver and the guide looked absolutely bewildered....crazy nut they must be thinking."But there is no sign of the tiger at all," the guide said. I remained quite. 

In the pin drop silence that prevailed I sat silently pondering over the possible movement of the tiger. "It is hot for the big cat to move," I told the guide who nodded in affirmative. "We will wait here for an hour and them move on to exit through as it becomes cooler." The guide was a nice man and he let me muse by the lake patiently. The driver sat smug and uneasy. He had to obey. He!He!

Micheal sat cool with full faith in me.       

All the jeeps had gone through ahead, a couple of them passed us. "What are you doing here? Any sign." No! "Then why are you waiting here?"

"For the tiger." I said." The vehicles sped through. My game plan was simple, the tiger Munna favors this lake and so I was going to score a critical tiger habitat at the right time. Hence we waited for the right time whence it was lot more cooler.

"Tiger," I said much to the astonishment of Micheal and others.In a frenzy we turned towards Nain Singh Nala.  The big cat has just descended from the hill and was coolly walking past another jeep that happened to be there. Micheal set to work by the time more and more jeeps arrived. But in the ensuing moment my guest had the choicest of the shots.        

Munna is a magnificent tiger who rule over the Kisli Range of Kanha National Park. He has sired many generations of big cats. Though aging now,
Munna Tiger By Dinesh Makhija
he exudes immense power and is a bundle of muscle. He is one of the largest male in the park. He is able to hold a large territory not only by strength but more so by his experience. Young males are trying to make in roads into his domain but not with much success.      

Friday, May 15, 2015

Mahua & Sloth Bears at Kanha

The Mahua Tree has a legendary status amidst Flora of Central India and perhaps other places. This tree is sacred and is never felled by the locals. Most cherished by the tribal it is a symbol of fruits of labor. The fruiting tree is very popular since the fruits whence dried and fermented are capable of yielding a coarse brew that can be very strong. 

The locals are inextricably linked with the intoxicant and hence the tree. And so is the illusive sloth bear which can be often seen foraging under its cool shade at Kanha National Park. It is also a part of many rites and rituals amongst the tribal.
Sloth Bear - Dinesh Makhija
Well this is a good time to see the sloth bear in the park and the buffer zone. The highly nocturnal animal is seen by many tourists in the grassy meadows and the dense canopy in search of fallen Mahua fruits.    

On my recent guiding trips in the months of March April and May I was able to sight many of these magnificent animals. The quest for nutritious Mahua fruit fetches the sloth into the open else it is highly nocturnal.   The Mahua fruit whence eaten fresh is a good source of vitamins and minerals besides loads of antioxidants. 

The tribal are allowed to keep certain amount of fruits in their possession which dry out as time passes. The taste is acrid and sweet and I have regularly consumed it during may guiding trip at Courtyard House in Kanha. The brew is distilled as and when required while a coarse oil is also obtained for cooklng.

Besides excellent source of nutrition the fruit acts as a mild laxative and helps lubricate your innards well. About five fruits consumed for a week does the trick, hence it proves very good for those on hard stool. He!He!      

Much ignored and maligned for the strong brew this is a tree in waiting for the modern World to benefit from its enrichment.