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Sundarban Mini-trip

Netherlands peter Offline
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#16
( This post was last modified: 01-01-2018, 07:34 PM by peter )

Some of the photographs seem like paintings, Rishi. The colourful descriptions you added underline the impression I got after reading Sy Montgomery's great book 'Spell of the Tiger - the man-eaters of Sunderbans' (New York, 1995).

The Sunderbans is a beautiful, silent and magical place at the edge of land and water, very different from other wild regions. In spite of the effort to draw it closer to our world, it remains a prehistoric region in many ways. And we don't belong there. In 2017, I again found many reports about missing persons and tiger attacks. That and quite a few articles about tiger-widows. 

If we mix the great photographs, the descriptions, the books and the many articles, we should be able to create a thread that would be close to a good book. A must try, I think.  

Agreed with all  comments made after the second long Sunderban post, Rishi. Excellent work.
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Italy Ngala Offline
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#17

Nice report @Rishi, and thanks for sharing with us your adventure and experience to the Sundarban Tiger Reserve.
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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India Rishi Offline
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#18
Bug  ( This post was last modified: 01-03-2018, 12:12 PM by Rishi )

Thanks everybody for the response. I'm trying to keep things as short & compact possible...

Day 3: 26/12/2017

This was our last day. We checked-out of our residences & headed out for the only place scheduled for visit that day, Jharkhali.

This is where the (somewhat) famous Tiger Rescue Centre is located

*This image is copyright of its original author

This area, as you can see in the above image, is west of the TR and the villages are interspersed with mangrove patches on river banks & islands.

Just opposite of Jharkhali, on the other side of the river is the island of Ajmalmari. This is a seperate forest division & designated a Reserve Forest. Although the numbers have fallen by 90% today, but this area is still visited by people to harvest forest produce like honey & beewax.

Also rescued tigers that are treated fit to go back to the wild are often released here because of the lower tiger density here.

On the way to Jharkhali you cruise along the Tiger Reserve before crossing the mighty 3-kms-wide Bidyadhari river.
Then, just as we left the main river & entered the creek to Jharkhali, i was trying to find another Black Capped Kingfisher a bit closer & i see this...

*This image is copyright of its original author

Can you believe it? 

We'd scoured the prime wilderness the day before & nothing comes within a hundred metres of us... Today, on our way out of the mangroves i see this 10-12 footer lazing on the mud, less than 25 metres from our boat & paying absolutely no attention to our presence.

I wasn't even looking for anything! Why would i? (Oh yes, it was on the habitated side of the creek. The mangrove strip was wider here but the embankment was visible 5 less than minutes ago & i think i saw children on it.)
Most likely the forests & villages protruding into each other, along with wide rivers on both sides make containment of the crocodiles difficult.

He then quite unwillingly moved away into a small crack in the mud forming a pool...

*This image is copyright of its original author

..& we moved onwards to Jharkhali TRC.

This is the place where the injured, stranded, old, crippled & last but not the least man-eaters are brought for treatment. Some later gets clearance for release, while some don't & are packed off to another far-away facility in North Bengal to live out their days in captivity.

I was pretty impressed with the layout's strict adherence to guidelines.
There was a path outside. Beyond the fence was a 10m moat, beyond which was the tiger's 1hectare enclosure, clean & with a staircase to replicate the undulated land of Sundarban.

*This image is copyright of its original author

The moat is used for crocodile breeding.

*This image is copyright of its original author

Currently there's only one tiger there. A 11-year-old male, who other than being a man-eater had eye injury than turned it blind & wasn't released.

As i walked to the other side, that's when i saw him... He. Was. HUGE.
(I apologise on behalf of my camera.)

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author

Head, neak, shoulder, arms, chest-girth.. he had it all.

Here's a better shot of him beside the concrete base.

*This image is copyright of its original author

Here's me beside the outer one... I'm 5'8".

*This image is copyright of its original author

I guess whatever weight difference Sundarban tigers have with their mainland cousins is probably due to them being skinny, because the dimensions didn't look much different.

The prey base is very likely inadequate from what i felt. It's definitely a tough life there that the rhinos & water buffalos weren't tough enough for.
Maybe that's the reason they aren't picky about what they eat.. monkeys, young crocs, crabs, tortoise & even fish that get trapped on mudflats as the tides recede.

There was a info placard by the FD beside the enclosures. It had the size/weight data patched up & edited, probably the original one showed a lousy off-the-internet value of 250kg.
So, i took a photo...

*This image is copyright of its original author

So, that's the end of my journey folks. 
From there we returned to Basanti jetty & back to Kolkata by night.
In the wild, expect the unexpected, as we humans haven't really much clue of what to expect.
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Venezuela epaiva Online
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(01-02-2018, 12:37 AM)Rishi Wrote: Thanks everybody for the response. I'm trying to keep things as short & compact possible...

Day 3: 26/12/2017

This was our last day. We checked-out of our residences & headed out for the only place scheduled for visit that day, Jharkhali.

This is where the (somewhat) famous Tiger Rescue Centre is located

*This image is copyright of its original author

This area, as you can see in the above image, is west of the TR and the villages are interspersed with mangrove patches on river banks & islands.

Just opposite of Jharkhali, on the other side of the river is the island of Ajmalmari. This is a seperate forest division & designated a Reserve Forest. Although the numbers have fallen by 90% today, but this area is still visited by people to harvest forest produce like honey & beewax.

Also rescued tigers that are treated fit to go back to the wild are often released here because of the lower tiger density here.

On the way to Jharkhali you cruise along the Tiger Reserve before crossing the mighty 3-kms-wide Bidyadhari river.
Then, just as we left the main river & entered the creek to Jharkhali, i was trying to find another Black Capped Kingfisher a bit closer & i see this...

*This image is copyright of its original author

Can you believe it? 

We'd scoured the prime wilderness the day before & nothing comes within a hundred metres of us... Today, on our way out of the mangroves i see this 10-12 footer lazing on the mud, less than 25 metres from our boat & paying absolutely no attention to our presence.

I wasn't even looking for anything! Why would i? (Oh yes, it was on the habitated side of the creek. The mangrove strip was wider here but the embankment was visible 5 less than minutes ago & i think i saw children on it.
I think the forests & villages protruding into each other, along with wide rivers on both sides make containment of the crocodiles difficult.

He then quite unwillingly moved away into a small crack in the mud forming pool...

*This image is copyright of its original author

..& we moved onwards to Jharkhali TRC.

This is the place where the injured, stranded, old, crippled & last but not the least man-eaters are brought for treatment. Some later gets clearance for release, while some don't & are packed off to another far-away facility in North Bengal to live out their days in captivity.

I was pretty impressed with the layout's strict adherence to guidelines.
There was a path outside. Beyond the fence was a 10m moat, beyond which was the tiger's 1hectare enclosure, clean & with a staircase to replicate the undulated land of Sundarban.

*This image is copyright of its original author

The moat is used for crocodile breeding.

*This image is copyright of its original author

Currently there's only one tiger there. A 11-year-old male, who other than being a man-eater had eye injury than turned it blind & wasn't released.

As i walked to the other side, that's when i saw him... He. Was. HUGE.
(I apologise on behalf of my camera.)

*This image is copyright of its original author

Head, neak, shoulder, arms, chest-girth.. he had it all.

Here's a better shot of him beside the concrete base.

*This image is copyright of its original author

Here's me beside the outer one... I'm 5'8".

*This image is copyright of its original author

I guess whatever weight difference Sundarban tigers have with their mainland cousins is probably due to them being skinny, because the dimensions didn't look much different.

The prey base is very likely inadequate from what i felt. It's definitely a tough life there that the rhinos & water buffalos weren't tough enough for.
Maybe that's the reason they aren't lucky about what they eat.. monkeys, young crocs, crabs, tortoise & even fish that get trapped on mudflats as the tides recede.

There was a info placard by the FD beside the enclosures. It had the size/weight data patched up & edited, probably the original one showed a lousy off-the-internet value of 250kg.
So, i took a photo...

*This image is copyright of its original author

So, that's the end of my journey folks. 
From there we returned to Basanti jetty & back to Kolkata by night.
@Rishi                                                               Thanks for sharing pictures and valuable information
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Canada Roflcopters Offline
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#20

Sounds like you had a great time Rishi!
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Canada Shardul Offline
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#21

@Rishi 

Thanks for sharing your wonderful trip with us.

It's heartening to see you prepare for the Indian Forest Services exam. It is an incredibly tough exam, arguably tougher than the other civil service exams. I planned on giving them myself back in 2010, but with no background in Biology, I found it too difficult since the exam questions tend to cover a lot of Master's level subjects. I really hope you clear it, we need one of us to be in charge of a tiger reserve! Wish you all the best!

I've been to Ranthambhore, Kanha, Kabini, Periyar..they were all extremely quiet. When we were the only jeep around, I could actually hear myself breathing! The only time they come alive is when a predator is nearby.

As an aside, have you ever been to any other PAs in WB? The North Bengal Duars have some of the largest bull elephants I've ever seen. If you ever get a chance, please do visit.
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Canada Wolverine Offline
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#22
( This post was last modified: 01-03-2018, 06:27 AM by Wolverine )

(01-01-2018, 12:53 PM)Rishi Wrote: Anyway the word thagi literally means "cheater". In pre-1850 India when population was thin, they had villages along traveling & trade routes. At evening wary travelers approached them for shelter for the night & they obliged. Later that night.....
The Mughals tried to deal with the problem by building inns along the road. They simply switched tactics & would join parties as fellow travellers to gain their confidence. And later strangle them in their sleep, with a handkerchief or noose. 

They were more of a sect of common highway robbers, than a murderous secret cult. They drifted away from the mainstream to protect secrecy & intermarried only amongst themselves, thus turning into a social group.

There were others like them such as the thyangare, meaning "lynchers". The name is pretty much explains their modus operandi. They'd pounce upon travellers with cane/bamboo sticks & beat them to death.

Even today every now and then hundreds of years old skulls are found from tilling paddy fields or digging construction sites.

PS: I doubt i'll be able to leave the city anyone soon. There maybe a father's office picnic at the East Kolkata Wetlands in February though.
I think the reason for ongoing already many centuries Islamisation of Bengal are those monsters (the thuugees) because they created a bad "karma" to your great civilisation. Probably Bengalies should return to the great philosophy of Vedas and Upanishads and to be always ready to cut any deformation of the religion otherwise in one century all province is going to be concered by Islamic fundamentalists...

So Rishi, where are you going to work after you finish your studies in the Forest Department? Probably you have 2 options - Sundarban or as Shardul mentioned the Northern edge of the province where still some forests survived. Because Bengal is the most dencly populated aria of the planet and I have a doubts that any forests are survived in the central arias of the province. If I am in your place probably will choose Sundarban due to proximity to your home. Or maybe you can move to other Indian province whith more forests.
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India Rishi Offline
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#23
( This post was last modified: 01-04-2018, 11:26 PM by Rishi )

@Shardul My family is not much into wildlife tourism. This one was an exception...

@Wolverine I'm not studying in the FD. I'm studying for the competitive exam to join the Indian Forest Service. If i (fingers crossed) make it, then I'd be a probationary officer trainee & later join as a Divisional Forest Officer in the state i'm posted to.

For example:

*This image is copyright of its original author


West Bengal actually has the most diversity due to its location. The Duars of North Bengal join the NE India with the Terai arc, while the South has mangroves & the western part has Central Indian deciduous forests...
In the wild, expect the unexpected, as we humans haven't really much clue of what to expect.
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