B2 (1997-2011)

B2 (1997-2011)

Monday, 29 November 2010

The Great Khali - Robust male tiger from Corbett Tiger Reserve

The above picture taken from New Stars in Stripes, Hindustantimes.

Khali is said to weigh 1.3 to 1.5 times bigger than normal male tiger, and more than 10 feet long. Normal male tiger weighs about 500 pounds. Khali's estimated weight is 650-750 pounds (295-340 kgs), making it one of largest male tiger in wild. It is not an unreachable weight for male tigers from this park, after all largest wild tiger weighing 857 pounds was captured in this reserve in 1967. The great "Bachelor of powalgarh" is also from this reserve. Modern tigers are just descendants of these great tigers of past.

The tiger is named after this 7 feet 3 inches tall, 400 pound WWE heavyweight champion Great Khali.

Friday, 19 November 2010

The Saviour of Indian Tigers! Remembering Indira Gandhi on her 93rd birthday anniversary!

Indira Gandhi, the conservation-minded Prime Minister, launched project tiger in 1973 by creating 9 tiger reserves. Her administration banned tiger hunting and tiger trade which doubled tiger population from estimated population of 1800 at the time of project tiger launch. Had she not put a ban, India would have probably lost all of the tigers in another 10 years.

Tiger Pics

Big male tiger from Tadoba,

Mighty Bamera male


(Initially it was stated in the media that B2 was injured in territorial fight. Later on, other reports came in that he was injured in a hunting attempt, 4 inch deep wound on his neck was inflicted by horn of the prey. Looks like B2 was treated by vets later on, now he is back to his usual routine.)

Preliminary Tiger census data soon!

Tiger census data soon

New Delhi, Nov. 19 (PTI): The Centre will declare its first preliminary data on the tiger census ahead of a global meet on the endangered species in Russia next week.

Environment minister Jairam Ramesh, on the sidelines of an event, said: “By the next few days we will declare the first tentative results of the tiger census. Hopefully, by early next year we will be able to make the full report public.”

The year-long tiger census was started early this year in 17 states using camera trappings instead of pugmarks as they had failed to give conclusive data.

The latest estimated count of tigers in the country’s protected forests is around 1,411. The figure is less by half of the 3,642 count during the last census of 2001-2002. Ramesh has expressed hope the count will be higher this time.

So far, over 31 tigers have died because of various reasons, including territorial fights and poaching besides man-animal conflict. The latest tiger death was reported from Sariska in Rajasthan.


Sunday, 14 November 2010

T17 from Ranthambore

T17 - The young tigress, Machli's daugther from Last Litter

Tiger Pics

Rising Star Kallu (Kalua)- Subadult male from Bandhavgarh

Bamera male

Old tigress Machli

Young male from Ranthambore

Rare Pics of B2 in April 2002.

New Tiger Census Result may be released in Two weeks

While talking about efforts to conserve the endangered species, Ramesh said "I hope tiger census will be released in two weeks. I am keeping my fingers crossed. I hope, we will have good news".

Claiming that he didn't have "inside information" about the tiger census, he said "good news" about the tiger population is expected from the tiger reserves, including Kaziranga in Assam and Parambikkulam bordering Tamil Nadu and Kerala.


Expressing optimism that the tiger census would be out by the third week of November, Ramesh busted the myth that Corbett had the highest tiger density. “As against the presence of 20 tigers per 100 sq km there, the corresponding figure in Kaziranga, Assam, is 35. Equally promising is the lesser known Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, tucked away in the valley between the Annamalai ranges of Tamil Nadu and the Nelliampathy ranges of Kerala.


Tigers get an official anthem!

Tigers get an official anthem!
Garima Sharma, TNN, Oct 22, 2010, 12.00am IST

Abhishek Ray is singing a different tune these days. He's composed music for several Bollywood flicks including "Haasil" and the more recent "Paan Singh Tomar", but now his compositions have been chosen by Jairam Ramesh as the official campaign for the tiger conservation programme.

And the icing on the cake? Abhishek's himself as ardent conservationist. Talking to TOI, he says, "By passion, I am a conservationist and by profession I am a composer. I am an authorized tiger tracker and I am posted annually in various parts of the country for the tiger census. So, I decided that the two sides of my personality should meet and come together for some initiative that spreads the message of saving the tigers."

The thought resulted in two anthems by Abhishek over a period of four months. Once he was ready with his compositions, he got together and sang these with Kavita Krishnamurthy, even working on the anthems later in his studio. The result was that when he went to meet Jairam Ramesh, minister of state for the ministry of environment and forests, the politico was impressed with the songs and chose them as the official anthems for the tiger conservation programme.

Says Abhishek, "The only other campaign earlier for saving the tiger has been a private one. This is the first time that a government body has chosen an anthem like this for spreading the message of saving the tigers. The anthems will go on air from today on radio and television and will also be put up on the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) website."

There are two anthems that he has composed, both almost 30 seconds long, with an English and Hindi punch line with each. Abhishek, who has been composing for Bollywood since 2002, says, "It took me a while to get these together and then I went to Mumbai to get work done on these. Kavita came on board, I worked on it, Manvendra, a Mumbai-based lyricist gave us the lyrics. You see, the tigers' existence or demise clearly impacts our lives. Therefore, it was important for me to convey this message to the people, and what better way than music to do it?"

Now all he wants, says Abhishek, is for people to understand the environmental concern and sing along.

Tiger se jeena sikho,
Tiger ko jeene do
Tiger se jungle,
jungle se baarish
Baarish se nadiya,
Nadiyo se hai hariyali
Tiger hai toh hum bhi hain,
tum bhi ho
Saare Bharat mein hai khushaali

Punchline: If the tiger goes, he will not go alone. You may soon follow.


Kaziranga, Grassland of the giants - Valmik Thapar

Grassland of the giants
Sun Nov 14 2010, 15:53 hrs

Kaziranga is the land of the megafauna — the rhino, tiger, elephant and the wild buffalo — and the greatest story of India’s wildlife conservation.

Nothing can prepare you for the experience of Kaziranga National Park. You have to visit it to believe it and when I went there for the first time I was very lucky — old friend and colleague S Deb Roy, an amazing man who had put his life into saving Assam’s incredible wildlife, was with me. This was the early 1990s, when the severe crisis that threatens wildlife in general hadn’t set in. Kaziranga was stunning. It is a grassland of immense proportions and dotted around are patches of superb forests with the mighty Brahmaputra river flowing on one side.

My first day was a journey from the western range then administered by a remarkable ranger called Pankaj Sarma to the eastern range under another dynamic character called Bodo. Deb Roy and I spent 10 hours from dawn to dusk enveloped in the beauty of this unique wilderness system. I will never forget that day. Nature wove its spell around me like never before. In that one day, we saw 108 rhinos. At a watchtower called Bahubil in the western range, we sipped some hot tea and suddenly a burst of alarm calls on the far side of the tall grass revealed a tiger striding along the edge of a water body. Kaziranga has the highest density of tigers in India and they are enormous in size. We peered out, as the tiger padded across, oblivious of our presence. Later, when we stopped for lunch at an old forest rest house, a herd of elephants was bathing in another water body.

Kaziranga is the only place in India that reminds me of Africa —wildlife comes out of everywhere. It is the great land of the giants, the megafauna, be it rhinos, elephants, wild buffalos, and even a few gaur with lots of smaller ungulates and a host of tigers that are huge and generally look well-fed. And it is these large animals that guard the grassland. Unlike many other forests of India, you rarely find locals wandering around Kaziranga since the big animals will charge to kill. Even while driving around in a jeep, at least six rhinos tried to charge us. And it is even more frightening when a tiger charges. As we drove around, I noticed that all the forest staff were well armed, unlike in any other national park. They live on forest posts on stilts and eat a jungle menu of cane and bamboo shoots that are deliciously spiced. The human intruders are poachers armed with automatic rifles who come mainly to kill rhinos for their horn. Big gun battles rage between the forest staff and poachers and every year there are injuries and fatalities. This is a rare example of how wildlife can be saved. Protection at its very best and a lesson for the rest of India.

For me, Kaziranga is a veritable Noah’s ark and has been India’s greatest story in wildlife conservation. Let us never forget that in the early 20th century the population of rhinos was down to 12 and today it is between 1,600 and 1,800, if not more. And it is not just rhinos or other megafauna. The bird life is among the finest to be found anywhere in India, as lesser and greater pied hornbills screech through the air and an endless array of fishing eagles swoops into fish-laden water bodies and red jungle fowl dart in and out of lush green foliage. Thousands of pelicans fish the water in abandon and near the swamps the swamp partridge waddles in its exquisite finery.

If you are lucky, you can watch otters scamper across the land into water, with heads bobbing up and down as they start to fish. A grey-headed eagle swoops into the water and comes out with a fish caught firmly in its talons. Pockets of forest within the grasslands are a frenzy of green and so much of what grows is coiled, looped and encircled in an endless embrace.

In the hilly forests nearby are troops of hoolock gibbons and capped langurs and there could even be the elusive clouded leopard. Emerald doves and imperial pigeons dive in and out of the forest canopy. The smaller grasslands are dotted with hog deer and swamp deer. Hundreds of thousands of hog deer once roamed the flood plains of India. Now they are only found in places where their habitat has survived the exploitation by man. Small herbivores in these grasslands follow in the steps of the giants. It is interdependency at its best. The elephants and rhinos make inroads into the high grass and create areas for smaller animals to graze. The sambar hide in the evergreen forest glades. What a magical assortment of life it is.

The peace is suddenly shattered by the sharp calls of the hog deer. And, lo and behold, from the grass emerges that mesmeric image of a tiger, catching the rays of the setting sun.

Will Kaziranga survive the pressures of today? Will there be enough political will to keep this unique paradise alive? I’m not sure, but this is more than a World Heritage Site — it is a true wonder of the world and needs all the support we can give it. Future generations must be able to witness its magic for it is the true jewel in India’s wildlife crown.

(Valmik Thapar has been involved in wildlife conservation for over three decades and has written extensively on the tiger)