I have been in the area around Sher Bagh for the last 4 days. 25 years ago this area had not a blade of grass and was an arid and degraded patch of land, now, it is an oasis of wildlife.
On the first night I was here the tracks around revealed the movement of three leopards and a hyena. Two days later a large male tiger had walked the periphery of the Sherpur valley some 150 yards away. And all this is outside the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve where many degraded agricultural tracts have converted to groves of trees attracting a diversity of birds, troops of langur monkeys, herds of great Indian antelope and occasionally the Indian gazelle. Sometimes at dusk the Sambar deer are seen and if you are lucky, both the jungle cat and the common fox walk the pathways.
If tigers, leopards and jackals are around, bursts of alarm calls signal their presence at dusk or dawn. Scores of peacocks adorn the bushy terrain. Just with a little bit of protection and reforestation a humming eco-system has been renewed all around us and in Sher Bagh itself.
This is the magic of nature and when buffers convert from farms to forests and when possible in partnership with the local people then there will be real hope for positive change. it is these areas in and around the Sherpur valley that could become conservancies for wildlife and its regeneration in the future.
Written by Valmik Thapar
Photography by Erwin Moccia