Humans, leopards and JAWAI

Space: the single largest factor facing conservation today!

As the human population continues to explode, so too do our demands on the land. We, like every animal, require food to sustain ourselves. Being creatures of consumption and excess, the recent years have seen a seemingly uncontrolled expansion of agricultural land and encroachment of humans and their livestock into nearly every corner of the earth. The result has been a drastic reduction in the land available to animals… humans and animals are on a collision course. Around the world you can see countless examples of how human growth, and supposed progress, has come at the expense of the indigenous wildlife.

I had read about a place which was an exception to the global rule of man’s dominance over wildlife. A place where people and leopards coexisted in a culture of respect; a place where leopards move through the rural villages and where pilgrims trekked past leopards on their way to ancient temples. Having worked with most of the big cats in three continents, experiencing human-wildlife conflict first-hand, I decided that I had to see this place for myself. It was this, which bought me to India three weeks ago. I had arrived in a country with a population of over a billion. Space here comes at a absolute premium.

SUJAN had made the decision to build a low impact, luxury tented-camp in the area and I decided to go and assist in setting it up. They are determined to contribute to the conservation of not only the leopard, but of the extraordinary relationship, mutualism, and way of life that exists in this area. They want to expose people to the lesser known of the Indian cats whilst providing a perfect setting for discussion, relaxation and enjoyment.

The view towards the dam showing the mosaic of granite hillocks, pastoral fields and indigenous flora.
The view towards the dam showing the mosaic of granite hillocks, pastoral fields and indigenous flora.
Stay in style...
Stay in style…

Located midway between Udaipur and Jodhpur, nestled in a bowl of granite cliffs and rolling hills is JAWAI Leopard Camp. Here you have the opportunity to witness something remarkable. The chance to explore rural India whilst on safari.

The birdlife at the Jawai Dam is superb. In the last few days the Greater Flamingoes have started arriving. In a few months I am told there will be hundreds.
The birdlife at the Jawai Dam is superb. In the last few days the Greater Flamingoes have started arriving. In a few months I am told there will be hundreds.

Although the focus of the camp is on the remarkable leopards, the experience goes well beyond that. A visit here is an exploration of culture, history and new approaches to providing space for animals to thrive. You will leave with a refreshing view on the human-wildlife dynamic.

I look forward to sharing our journey with you…

A female leopard greets the sun.
A female leopard greets the sun.
The pug mark of a leopard not even 100 meters from my tent.
The pug mark of a leopard not even 100 meters from my tent.
The local herdsmen, known as Rabari, with their white and red colour scheme, add electric colour to the landscape.
The local herdsmen, known as Rabari, with their white and red colour scheme, add electric colour to the landscape.

Written and photographed by Adam Bannister

8 thoughts on “Humans, leopards and JAWAI

  1. LOOKS SUPERB
    DO YOU MOVE AROUND BY JEEPS OR CAN WALK—ANY NOCTURNAL ACTIVITY OF ANIMALS AND CAN YOU DRIVE AROUND AT NIGHT—-
    WHAT ABOUT ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES AND TEMPLES NEARBY—-

    BEST OF LUCK–I HOPE YOU THIS AREA WORKS AS A MODEL OF HOW PEOPLE WHICH INCLUDES LOCALS AND VISITORS CAN COEXIST POSITIVELY WITH THE NATURAL WORLD AND WITHOUT GOVERNMENT INTERVENTIONS IN THE AREA

    1. Thanks so much for the comment. Things here are truly fascinating at the moment. Was looking at the log book today and we have had 22 sightings of leopard in the last 18 days. Remarkable. We drive around in customized jeeps ( see http://www.sujanluxury.com) but we also do lots of walking. It is a walking Mecca. We also occasionally get lucky enough to see leopards on foot which is very exciting. In terms of night time activity we are lucky in that there are no restrictions on times so we can be out at any time. The majority of the leopard sightings are at night, we also occasionally see striped hyena and jungle cat and had a potential sighting of a desert cat last night. In terms of nearby temples, Kumbalgarh, now a UNESCO Worls Heritage Site is a 45 minute drive from camp and the carved temples of Ranakpur are less than an hour away.

  2. Fantastic stuff Adam, looks like your spending some quality time in another of the world’s beautiful gems! I look forward to hearing more about the adventure.

    1. Thanks so much Matthew. It is truly awesome to work with leopards in a different continent. Will be sure to keep you all posted as to how the sightings and camp develops. Hope you have a merry christmas my friend.

  3. Hey Ad

    Looks incredible, once again I look forward to sharing the journey and loving vicariously through you!!! Best of luck, and I hope you have a great festive season!

  4. Loved reading this Adam,. I’m looking forward to the next post, and definitely excited to see lots more photographs and learn more about the unusual relationship between wildlife and people.
    Maybe I’ll have to visit you sometime…

    1. Thanks so much for the comment. I can tell you that even just a few weeks into the new area and I have been getting some wonderful shots. It is completely incredible and definitely worth a visit!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *