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Your wildlife experience in India

United States Pckts Offline
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#31
( This post was last modified: 09-06-2018, 12:33 AM by Pckts )

Alright guys, I'm going to talk a little about the differences between Africa (Serengeti, Tarangire and Ngorongoro) and India (Tadoba, Pench and Kahna)


First let me say that this is very hard to do, Africa and India are so different. Africa is all about using your eyes, you look and see whats around, there are so many large herbivores and herds that it's very easy to spot them and the fact that Africa is open plains with little to no tree cover in most areas makes spotting them that much easier. In India it's all about using your ears, you drive and somehow your guide hears a faint call and the gypsy stops, you sit and listen. If you're lucky the call continues and you then begin to travel in the direction you hear it from, then if you're lucky you get a sighting, when I say "lucky" I mean it, there is absolutely no guarantee you'll ever get a sighting there.
The landscape is like two different worlds, Africa is beautiful vast open plains, acacia trees placed randomly with some boulders and mountain ranges in the back round. It's green and yellow and brown, the water holes are ground level and hidden at times, almost like an oasis in this gigantic open plain of thigh high yellow grass and dirt.
India is forest, the Sal Trees hide all sights, they are very straight and have green leaves or are barren depending on the reserve, you cannot see anything but trees until you come to a clearing or meadow. Most lakes or watering holes are smaller with some exceptions, Tadoba Lake and a few others are massive and beautiful, but even then, the watering holes don't have the massive amount of animals congregated at them the way Africa does. Each reserve is a little different, Tadoba is a much flatter Forest but beautiful , Pench is very hilly and much larger than Tadoba. Kahna is just massive, it's hilly but also with open meadows, it's green even during the heat of May and the higher up you go the better view you get of the enormity of it's forest. For me, Kahna was my favorite followed by Tadoba then Pench.


Spotting Herbivores :
Africa has the largest collection of herbivores on earth, it's so easy to see big herbivores there and the abundance you see almost makes you take them for granted. You no longer care about seeing elephant, giraffe, impalla, wildabeast, zebra, gazelle, buffalo etc. They become boring, you then set your sights on rarer sights, herdebeast, kudu etc. Most of these herbivores are extremely habituated to humans and even ones who are more shy, like cape buffalo surprisingly, can't hide from you. They can run but you can still see them clearly, it's so flat and open in africa.

Indian Herbivores are much more sparse, you'll see a few Sambar here, maybe a Nilgali or two over there, many langur and a few Gaur, the most abundant herbivore you'll see in any reserve is Chital. But once you spook a herbivore and it decides to run off into the forest, it's gone, the forest hides all from you. You can only get fleeting glimpses of animals in India if they decide to move off. Depending on the reserve will dictate the amount of other herbivores you get to see, in tadoba we saw a few gaur, in Pench we saw none, in Kahna we saw tons. In the meadows, especially during morning or late afternoon when the heat was less, they would gather in numbers around 15-20 with a bull or two. As you drive through the forest you'll bump into a big ole bachelor who is grazing on his own, he is the most impressive animal in the reserves I went to. Of the 3 reserves I went to, Kahna by far had the most herbivores I could see, the addition of the Barasingha makes spotting herbivores that much easier.

Spotting Carnivores :

African Carnivores are similar to their herbivores, they are much more abundant and easier to spot. Obviously spotting a leopard isn't easy no matter the continent but spotting a leopard in India is extremely difficult, it's almost miraculous if you do where spotting a leopard in africa is all but guaranteed given enough time and a good guide.
The forest is just to secretive, nothing is easy there, no matter what you're looking for you're going to have to work to find it.


Getting to each location:
In my opinion, this is the biggest difference between the two.
When you drive to the Serengeti or other reserves I mentioned, you only need to drive through the "city" for a short period of time and then most of your drive is on dirt roads driving through the outskirts of the reserve with not very many people to see outside of some maasi here and there and a few villages.
But when you drive from reserve to reserve in India you are driving through the cities and villages and they are extremely crowded and crazy. The traffic there is unlike anything I've seen in my life, the stares they give americans can be a bit unnerving in the beginning and there is a lot of trash on the roads. It's such a contradiction between the reserves and cities where africa the people seem to live with in the wild, in India, the wild has no hope of living with in the mass of people in the City. In my opinion, the traffic and trash is a detriment to Indian tourism. This is by no means an attack on India or the people, I had a fantastic time when I was there I just think they could generate much more tourism from American/European States and Countries if they'd have easier or more scenic access to the Reserves. But from my understanding, the new PM is doing amazing things and is loved highly there, I expect India to continue to grow into a world leader and innovator in the future.


Animal to Animal Comparison:

This is probably what most are interested in here so I'll compare what I can

A Sambhar is India's equivalent to a Zebra or Wildabeast in Africa. Sambhar are a bit more lean but are taller.

Chital are very similar in size to Impala

Nilgali bulls are magnificent but I only got to see a couple for a distance, they seem to be comparable to Kudu.




Now on to the Big Boys:

Leopard:
I only saw one male leopard in India and Africa so that is all I can compare

The Indian male leopard was large but not as large as the African, they were close in body size but the african had a much more robust head and body. The african leopard I saw was full belly and up in the tree while the indian was empty and panting heavily on the floor, he was also older, I could tell by his droopy and dark lips. But everyone I've spoken with who've seen both say that African Leopards are usually larger than Indians for whatever reason.

Gaur v Cape:
These two are very different in body composition. Cape Buffalo are more compact, they are more round in the body where a Gaur is taller and leaner in the body but more muscular. A large Bull Cape is shorter at the shoulder with a thicker neck and rounder body, A large Bull Gaur is just massive. They are thinner in the hind quarters but their front section is crazy. They have a massive muscular shoulder section and are very dense, like I said when I came back from Africa. I can't believe a lone tiger or lion can take down a healthy bull of either species, it still baffles me to this day.
But I must emphasize this, when you see either of these large bovine you must realize that they come in many shapes and sizes, very few are these monsters, most are a much more modest version, you would probably be disappointed when you first see a Cape or Gaur, you'd probably be expecting more since we usually only see the biggest of the big in photos. But when you see a large, healthy, Prime version, you then realize just how massive they truly are.

Lion v Tiger
The difference in body composition is just as much in these cats as it is in the Bovine.

Females are easier to compare, both are similar in dimension, but both my GF and my self thought that the Tigress just look a bit more strong in the limb section. Even a smaller tigress like Coti Tara, she is just very strong looking, her muscles were more taught. When comparing the biggest females I saw of either species, I'd have to give the edge in overall size in all departments to the Link 8 female, but I'm not sure if she is just a huge female or not, but she looked like a male to me at first, she was massive.

Males are way harder to compare, the mane of the Lion hides a lot but going off of what I can see.
Lions seem taller at the shoulder, the male tiger I saw in Tadoba looked very tall but he was much further off so I couldn't get a close up of him but the Sangam male I saw in kanha is said to be similar height to Munna, Bheema and other Kanha males and he seemed to be shorter at the shoulder.
Body length is very hard to determine with the naked eye.
But when it comes to robustness, the tiger gets the nod, they are more barrel shaped and their muscles seem more massive. Maybe they look more stocky because they seem shorter but they are very robust.

Their personalities are also very different, Lions seem very lazy and don't mind eyes on them, they don't give you much expression and they lay around, a tiger seems to be on edge and much more elusive. Tigers are always moving, even when at the watering hole, they are alert, they prefer to be unseen. The Sangam male was not on edge but on a mission, he was roaring for a female and was moving, tigers are more expressive as my GF put it. Lions seem more confident when around people while tigers just want to slink off into the forest away from viewing eyes but Tigers seem much more unpredictable. They look you in the eye and send shivers down your spine, lions just don't acknowledge you, like you're not even worth their time.

Overall they are two very, very different cats but both command the respect of a King.
Anyone who claims that one is way bigger than the other in any aspect is probably bias, you cannot compare them with the naked eye, they are too different.

In the end, Tigers and Lions are like India and Africa. They are incomparable, both beautiful and dangerous in their own way. Better to enjoy them for what they are than try to stack them up against one another.
"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."
-Oscar Wilde
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Nepal Jimmy Offline
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#32

Very good comparison between two different places. I agree with you on jungle animals on Indian side, every rustle and every bend is scanned with attention and every animal even bird sightings are eagerly observed. Africa must really be a land of giant beast all-over and a visual treat with congregating herds. Reading ur analysis i feel in India or South Asia as a matter of fact, and like u mentioned barasingha in Kanha -a big gregarious animal is missing from most parks also I might add blackbuck. Then as compared to Africa elephant, rhino and buffalo are absent. Glad to know there are big herd of gaur some sambars and Nilgai. These animals would be the real draw for tourists who come to see wild India.... And Tfs ur experience.. enjoyed a lot
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India sanjay Offline
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#33

Wow pckts much awaited post and finally you put it nicely.
After reading your post, I can guess Africa is more tourist friendly and wildlife their is amazing, You as a tourist (from a third country) feel more comfortable in Africa. The native of Africa is more involved in wildlife than In India.

Animal comparison was good, And I hope we will have more views with our member with time. You Lion and Tiger comparison was very fair and it tell us that comparing these two is still the biggest uncertainty of animal world from beginning of time.

Now, Can you write about cost and expenses comparison ?

It is an important factor for many to decide their plan their visits to these countries

Your rating and reviews about the lodges, tour operators and facilities you used ???
This is also an important factor.
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Netherlands peter Offline
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#34

PC

Very interesting posts and insights. Many thanks on behalf of all.
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Canada Shardul Offline
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#35

The comparison between Africa and India is apples to oranges. While India does have tremendous variety in big game, it is thinly spread out. The reserves are smaller and a lot of them suffer from localised extinction of big herbivores like elephants and buffaloes and rhinos and to see them you have to travel the length and breadth of the country. On the other hand, what Africa offers is a wildlife spectacle, which is frankly incomparable to any place on earth. Endless number of big mammalian species, and most importantly, all in one giant bowl of a grassland. You can pick any one game reserve and are guaranteed to see most of what Africa has to offer.

On the topic of tourism too there is no comparison. Most people come to Africa for wildlife, they'll land in a city, travel to the game reserves and go back. When all tourist activity is concentrated around some areas, you can develop them. In India, wildlife tourism is difficult and non existent. Outside of these forums, most people would be unable to name 2 animals that reside in India. Ask 10 laymen on the street in the US and not 1 will know Gaur, but 8 out of 10 will know the cape buffalo. I have seen a lot of foreign tourists who come for a tiger safari get frustrated at the lack of sightings and the number of vehicles they have to share the sighting with because they have unrealistic expectations. So the animals feel harassed, and the tourists return frustrated. That's why I agreed with the Supreme Court ban on all tiger tourism, since it neither benefits the animals, nor the tourists. At least the animals can have their peace. Additionally, India is not a tourist destination because it is still a lower middle income country with a huge population and most tourism is domestic. So the government will not make any effort to improve tourist infrastructure (the stupid "Incredible India" campaign did more harm than good). It will only improve as the country overall develops, which will still take a long time.
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United States Pckts Offline
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#36
( This post was last modified: 05-16-2017, 08:10 PM by Pckts )

Spot on @Shardul 
What's your opionion on the new P.M.?

From the little info I gathered on him, I think he will help the Indian gov't collect taxes from the people and modernize India, how the gov't allocates this new income remains to be seen though.
"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."
-Oscar Wilde
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Canada Shardul Offline
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#37

He's trying his best, but in India a head of state doesn't wield that unlimited power to bring sweeping changes as in China. One of the biggest impediments to infrastructure development in India is the issue of land ownership. Government in India cannot force people out of their homes. I know of a case where a highway route had to be diverted because the farm owner refused to sell his land, which was getting in the way, to the government, even at good prices. Believe it or not, democracy is strong in India and that means it creates unnecessary impediments to a lot of development projects. For eg, a critical nuclear plant that was necessary to provide energy security has been stopped by so called green NGOs. Same with uranium mining in Srisailam tiger reserve. If the government tries to force something good, it is immediately met with resistance and is demonised by the foreign and Indian English media in the name of human rights. So projects remain in a perpetual development state. Things are changing now, but the process will take long it will never be meteoric like China, where the government can do anything it pleases.

On a related note, the Indian government has absolutely no economic incentive to save wildlife, but even then it does so out of its own goodwill. Hope it remains like that forever.
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United States Pckts Offline
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#38

I definitely agree that the gov't cares about it's wildlife, the people seem to care a lot about it as well.
"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."
-Oscar Wilde
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United States Pckts Offline
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#39
( This post was last modified: 05-17-2017, 12:05 AM by Pckts )

(05-16-2017, 09:49 AM)sanjay Wrote: Wow pckts much awaited post and finally you put it nicely.
After reading your post, I can guess Africa is more tourist friendly and wildlife their is amazing, You as a tourist (from a third country) feel more comfortable in Africa. The native of Africa is more involved in wildlife than In India.

Animal comparison was good, And I hope we will have more views with our member with time. You Lion and Tiger comparison was very fair and it tell us that comparing these two is still the biggest uncertainty of animal world from beginning of time.

Now, Can you write about cost and expenses comparison  ?

It is an important factor for many to decide their plan their visits to these countries

Your rating and reviews about the lodges, tour operators and facilities you used ???
This is also an important factor.

Costs are more on your specific destination desire, length of trip and amenities.

For Instance, when booking a trip to either destination you must first do your due-diligence.
Get recommendations and research first, then when you pick a time frame, destinations and activities you must next look into companies who can provide your desired holiday/vacation.
Getting bids is important if you're looking at pinching pennies but in my opinion, the most important thing is that you trust the company you choose. That means you speak to them regularly, read their reviews and if they are recommended by someone else you trust, even better.
In Africa, a good guide is very important, you drive around with them all day long, you go from place to place in the same jeep that you go on safari in, the guide must be able to show you the sights and know where to go to find the views you want to see. Make sure you express your desires to the company before they assign you a guide.
In India, you have a driver assigned by the resort usually and a forest guide assigned at the gate usually, if you are lucky enough to have a private guide like us, even better since Indian forest dept. officials didn't really speak English, so communication would of been difficult. But guides and drivers in the reserves I went to are only tipped if they spot Tigers, so they all talk, they all know where tigers have been spotted, their tendencies and daily sightings. They are all locals, they've lived in these locations all their lives, they know the forest better than any one else. You must trust their instincts, no matter how much you think you know best, they know better. In kahna and pench, you have to book your zones before you enter so I suggest being up to date on the latest sightings and locations, Tadoba you are more free to drive around but again, where you stay will dictate what area you go to. Since the reserves are large, you'll only get to see a small % of a small % of forest that is open to the public, so rather than driving hours to a gate just to try and spot a specific tiger, better you are close to a gate that offers many different sighting opportunities.

My Ratings on the Tour operators and facilities we used for either Africa or Indian is a 10+!
I was so lucky to have great guides with me and awesome company, but it wasn't easy to find. I did a lot of work, I compared many things, talked to many people and got a lot of recommendations. It's not easy to get from the U.S. to these places and not cheap either, you need to treat it like a business venture. But this is an investment in yourself, not your 401k, but I promise you won't regret the investment.
Don't just pick a place cause you like a photo and chose the first person you talk to, make sure you educate yourself before investing.

If anyone decides to take the plunge and go to either, I will be more than happy to provide you as much info as needed.
Go for it guys, you'll be so happy you did.
"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."
-Oscar Wilde
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United States Pckts Offline
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#40
( This post was last modified: 05-16-2017, 11:55 PM by Pckts )

Here's some more from Tadoba and Pench, I'll post more Kahna in a bit...

Tadoba

Gaur
*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author

Leopard

*This image is copyright of its original author

Mugger at Tadoba Lake

*This image is copyright of its original author

Tadoba Lake

*This image is copyright of its original author

2 of the Bigger Sambhar I saw in Tadoba

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author

Same sloth we spotted

*This image is copyright of its original author



Tigress

*This image is copyright of its original author

Pench

This little guy trying to chew off more than he could handle

*This image is copyright of its original author

Pench male and female sub adult

*This image is copyright of its original author

Massive shoulders

*This image is copyright of its original author

Male Sub Adult

*This image is copyright of its original author

Male leaving the water with the female

*This image is copyright of its original author

Sub Male showing his shoulders off again

*This image is copyright of its original author

Male leaving the water

*This image is copyright of its original author

Mom leaving then the cubs followed, you can see her mood.

*This image is copyright of its original author
"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."
-Oscar Wilde
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United States Pckts Offline
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#41
( This post was last modified: 06-13-2017, 12:03 AM by Pckts )

Kanha


Barasingha

*This image is copyright of its original author

Gaur

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author

Huge Gaur

*This image is copyright of its original author

Peacock

*This image is copyright of its original author

Link 8

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author

Sangam Male

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author
"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."
-Oscar Wilde
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India Bronco Offline
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#42

(05-16-2017, 08:09 PM)Pckts Wrote: Spot on @Shardul 
What's your opionion on the new P.M.?


since India has a bicameral parliamentary system, a PM (no matter how capable & honest he/she would be) cannot do much unless the political party he/she is affiliated with has absolute majority in both the upper & lower houses. 

in present times a PM with his/her party enjoying majority in both the houses is pipe dream, since last 25 years we are seeing governments formed on coalitions. A PM cannot make stronger policies & reforms & keep all the other political parties of the coalition happy. 

Political parties in India come to power seeking votes on the grounds of religion, language, caste, subsidies on cooking gas & electricity, loan waiving, free wifi etc., so you see how difficult it is for a PM  to manage the coalition. 

under the present PM, India is the fastest growing major economy, his focus is on manufacturing & service sector. His political party shall soon have majority in both the houses & only then we can expect some serious reforms.
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United States Pckts Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-13-2017, 12:04 AM by Pckts )

Here's another map of Kanha Zones that was posted at our lodge.


*This image is copyright of its original author
"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."
-Oscar Wilde
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Canada Wolverine Offline
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#44

(05-16-2017, 09:49 AM)sanjay Wrote: After reading your post, I can guess Africa is more tourist friendly and wildlife their is amazing, You as a tourist (from a third country) feel more comfortable in Africa.

I think Pcts is in favor of Africa just because he was overheated by bloody Indian summer... When temperatures on shadow are 45 C and the level of oxygen in the brain is falling sharply every traffic jam looks 10 times larger than its in reality, 15 minutes in street jam feel like 2 hours... If he makes visit during cooler winter months  maybe he will be in favour of India... In the end of this century Africa is gonna be no les crouded than India since population growth there is 2-3 times higher and will increase with 400% to 4 billion people to only 30% more in Asia.

Congratulations to all Indians with the great movie "Baahubali 2", real masterpiece of art, film director SS Rajamouli is a true genius! Kick out those Khans wiith their silly love soap operas. I think Indian cinema should concentrate on fantasy, fairy tales and everything what is irreall, elusive and spiritual.
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India Rishi Online
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(05-19-2017, 10:06 AM)Wolverine Wrote:
(05-16-2017, 09:49 AM)sanjay Wrote: After reading your post, I can guess Africa is more tourist friendly and wildlife their is amazing, You as a tourist (from a third country) feel more comfortable in Africa.

I think Pcts is in favor of Africa just because he was overheated by bloody Indian summer... When temperatures on shadow are 45 C and the level of oxygen in the brain is falling sharply every traffic jam looks 10 times larger than its in reality, 15 minutes in street jam feel like 2 hours... If he makes visit during cooler winter months  maybe he will be in favour of India... In the end of this century Africa is gonna be no les crouded than India since population growth there is 2-3 times higher and will increase with 400% to 4 billion people to only 30% more in Asia.

Congratulations to all Indians with the great movie "Baahubali 2", real masterpiece of art, film director SS Rajamouli is a true genius! Kick out those Khans wiith their silly love soap operas. I think Indian cinema should concentrate on fantasy, fairy tales and everything what is irreall, elusive and spiritual.

Funny Funny That doesn't even begin to describe it!!! Eastern India is like, "either heat or humidity..choose wisely".

Here in Bengal is <40°C but so humid that specs slip off your nose.
The whole city is like a large, 24/7 steam bath.  Crying

There should have been pre-monsoon thunderstorms, but this year no major heatwave came so clouds are too thin... 


Monsoons arrive here sometime between 5th-10th June. Counting days.
"Everything not saved will be lost."

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