The Arctic Tundra and…a Polar Bear !!

The Arctic Tundra and…a Polar Bear !!

The Arctic Tundra is an intriguing landscape…this biome lies between the Taiga forest and the permanent Arctic Sea Ice. The Tundra or the treeless plains lies above 66’33 N latitude or the Arctic Circle. Here the vegetation has to contend with extreme Arctic conditions dictated by the short growing season, low precipitation and temperatures (as low as -35 C in Winter!) and wind. Even in this extreme landscape, life thrives in the short summer months…. Barnacle Geese seen with chicks at Ny Alesund. Many birds like these Geese fly to Svalbard to breed in the summer. The beautiful ‘hanging gardens’…

The Dramatic Arctic Landscape!

The Dramatic Arctic Landscape!

The Arctic landscape is something which can evoke only one word in anybody’s mind: ‘Dramatic’! It is a dream-like land with ice, snow, glaciers,mountains and sea…all weaving a magical tapestry which captivated me endlessly…even today i dream of it constantly… And what also struck me is the silence of the landscape! It is a quiet world…almost eerie at times! The July 14th Glacier…60% of Svalbard’s 62,000 km is covered by glaciers! Some like Austfonna are as big as 8412 sq kms! A closer view of the July 14th Glacier…the light blue colour indicates oxygen. As you know, glaciers are nothing…

The Arctic Tern !!

The Arctic Tern !!

Although an Arctic journey was very high on my ‘bucket list’, i was surprisingly under-prepared for this trip. 24 hrs before we were to emplane to Brussels, i was still in Bandhavgarh! So i was quite blank on what to expect on this trip…which was in a way a big blessing ! The navigation map on the aircraft monitor says it all…that we were really flying to the very top of the World! Our destination is the archipelago of Svalbard or Spitsbergen, which is Norwegian territory. It is located 3200 km (4 hours of flying on a Boeing 737!) from…

Polar Bears !!

Polar Bears !!

After travelling between Kabini, Kanha and Bandhavgarh for the last two months, now i am off on another dream trip..to the Arctic to see the Polar Bears and other amazing animals and birds! This has been in my ‘bucket list’ of habitats and animals to see…and i am so lucky that i am actually going on this trip!! It will be a 10 day cruise around an island in the Artctic circle..just 500 miles from the North Pole..called Spitsbergen. So wait for pictures and trip report in about two weeks time!!

Most Exciting sighting of my Dream animal !!

Most Exciting sighting of my Dream animal !!

Imagine this…i have been dreaming about this almost mythical creature..the Ratel..since almost 20 years…and then one totally un-expected moment, it appears in front of us in Pench!! (this picture of an African Ratel, is of course, from the internet!) The Ratel or the Honey Badger (‘Mellivora capensis’), is such a mysterious creature that although it is around in many habitats in India..it is rarely seen! I know of only a few who have seen this amazing creature! It is so unique that biologists have been long confused even on which family they can place it in..and finally decided to allot…

The Seasons are changing in Kanha  !

The Seasons are changing in Kanha !

Winter is slowing ebbing out in Kanha..and spring is in the air…Kanha is my most favourite Park in Central India..i just spent a blissful ten days there. One early morning the air was so crisp, you could actually feel it..it had rained the previous night. The Sal leaves on the forest floor were glistening fresh..and the Red Jungle Fowls were calling excitedly..such a beautiful Kanha morning!! First buds of the ‘Flame of the Forest’ or the ‘Palash’, which will soon cloak Central India in it’s bright red flowers… The glorious and rare Yellow Silk Cotton in bloom.. An impressive Barasingha…

Gaurs of Bandhavgarh !!

Gaurs of Bandhavgarh !!

This is a picture of the Gaurs of Bandhavgarh…grazing peacefully in their enclosure! They are doing well..19 of them. And they are all set to be released shortly into the Park itself! Two research students from WII are constantly monitoring them. One of my favourite pictures from the re-location..Gaurs being released from the truck into their enclosure!!

Gaur Relocation in M.P-a milestone in India’s Conservation!!

Gaur Relocation in M.P-a milestone in India’s Conservation!!

A Gaur herd tracked by Elephant back by H.S.Negi, FD of Kanha and Les Carlise. January 20th 2011..the Big Day finally dawns..we have been waiting for this for 5 years! India’s first wild-to-wild Gaur relocation becomes a reality!! The M.P Forest Department has taken a bold step to relocate Gaurs to Bandhavgarh NP. Now it has the confidence to undertake such a monumental task, as it is well prepared..years of planning have gone into it. Firstly, they have deployed the best practices and technology in moving wild animals from South Africa, acknowledged as a world leader in this area. Secondly,…

The future of the Lions in Africa ?

The future of the Lions in Africa ?

My favourite Lion picture…. But what is the future of Lions in Africa? Alas, it is quite bleak and a cause of great concern. According to an IUCN study by Bauer and Van Der Merwe (2004), the Lion population in Africa stands at around 23,000..(must be down further in these 6 years) which is down from about 1,50,000-180,000 in the 1980′s…a steep decline of nearly 90% in just about 25 years ! We think only the Tiger is on the decline..and somehow ignore the fate of the Lion..so all the ‘amazing sightings’ one gets in the Masai Mara are sadly…

The Lions of Masai Mara !!

The Lions of Masai Mara !!

Masai Mara has one of the highest densities of Lions anywhere in World..some experts say it is indeed the highest..there are between 450 to 500 Lions in it’s 1510 Sq kms! According to a recent IUCN study, the density of Lion population in Masai Mara is 30 Lions per 100 sq kms! I had some amazing sightings in the blissful 3 weeks i spent in August 2010. We saw a total of 30 different adult Lions (most likely different)…over 40 adult Lioness…many sub-adults..about 5 actual hunts..9 attempts…these are a sample of my best Lion pictures…. A pair or a ‘coalition’…

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