A few days ago, JAWAI and the rest of India celebrated Diwali with characteristic gusto. Occurring on the cusp of summer and winter Diwali is also a reminder that winter is coming and it is a game of droves as the cooler temperatures attract a whole range of birdlife that migrates to Rajasthan, and Jawai. Predators, waterfowl and other kinds come roving to the Jawai Bandh and its surrounding scrubland. So here is a list of some of our favourite winter visitors:
“We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in. For it can be a means of reassuring ourselves of our sanity as creatures, a part of the geography of hope.”
– Wallace Stegner, 1980
Tracker Academy Blog
We head out with Bright (one of our trainers at Tracker Academy) in a Land Rover. Scanning for tracks we were going pick up Renias Mhlongo (one of South Africa’s renowned trackers and a trainer at the academy). En route, a leopard leaps out of a bush and seizes an impala from its herd, literally fifteen feet away from our vehicle. By the time we realise what just happened, the leopard (a female) had successfully killed and dragged the impala to the base of a tree. Bright, also stunned with the suddenness of the sighting drives us into the thicket to try and get a closer view of the leopard. In the middle of all this, two hyenas stroll by, possibly attracted by the commotion the impalas created as they witnessed one of their herd snatched by the subtle predator. Relying on their highly acute sense of smell, the hyenas manage to locate immediately the trench in which the carcass and leopard lay under the shade of an acacia. As soon as the leopard hears the hyenas approaching, she bolts, disappearing into the bush and leaving her hard-earned food behind. Within seconds the two hyenas had mangled the impala and erratically tore off its lifeless limbs in a savage frenzy. I will not and cannot for all of our sakes describe the sound of the joints popping out of their sockets or the crack of the bones as they manically devoured the corpse. They laughed in their characteristic way as they competed for the last ounce of flesh and after a mere 20 minutes, the impala was gone.
Vedant Thite and William Asquith, both Rangers from the JAWAI and Sher Bagh Field Teams respectively send their first despatch from the Londolozi Private Game Reserve, where they are attending a three-week training course over the summer. Over the next few weeks we will follow their progress and adventures as they report on their experiences from the African Bush! Stay tuned…
The Rusty-spotted cat Prionailurus rubiginosus is one rare cat which we occasionally encounter at JAWAI. Also called the ‘humming bird’ of the cat world, not just for its small size — at just over a foot, it’s about half the size of the domestic cat — but also because it is extremely agile and active. They have been described as abundant in some parts of India, and have been observed close to and within villages.
Rajasthan was gifted with a very wet monsoon season last year: Ranthambhore’s verdant nature had returned and the wildlife rediscovered their Arcadia. In October, as you meandered through the jungle, you were able to witness the park’s rebirth, the dhok trees flourishing in their senility, the grass long, thick and lush and the network of water channels flowing full. This allows wildlife to disperse throughout the park and the numerous watering holes scattered around the area were full for cheetal, or sambar deer to quench their thirst and leafy groves for nilgai antelope to browse and feast upon.
The JAWAI family is delighted to announce the return of one of our most beloved leopards: The Temple Female Read More The Temple Female: The return of an Icon!
There was barely any light when we first saw her, moving slowly at first then bounding into the castor fields; caught in the act of killing a porcupine. I had just finished relaying the sighting report to Adam Bannister as a message crackled the jeep wireless into life again. The voice was Jaisalbs, radioing in from Camp to say antelope alarm calls outside his tent were bellowing the presence of a leopard nearby. We were about 10 kilometres out from Camp already so stayed in our position, waiting for the light to rise on that extraordinarily cold December morning last year, sitting metres away from an adult leopard now enjoying feasting on her porcupine kill. Read More Jawai at One!
Blackness turned first to gloom and then to pale blue. Soon papaya orange painted the dusty skies of the east as morning crept gently up upon the world, climbing the back of the hill on which we sat. A dry but green land of fields, parched riverbeds and impossibly sculpted granite hills lay spread out around us, slowly opening its colours to the sky as the sun broke the horizon. Pink rocks, orange soils and precipitously green crop plantations prepared themselves for another day of the intense Indian heat, memories of the recent monsoons gradually evaporating under what would almost certainly be another relentlessly clear Rajasthani sky. Read More Cats of the Dawn
The Organic Gardens at each of our SUJAN properties are blossoming with delicious fresh produce as we begin the season with a burst of yummy vegetables, salads and herbs. Read More The SUJÁN Organic Kitchen Gardens