A trek in JAWAI gives great perspectives of the area and an appreciation of the terrain, the communities that live here and a chance to pick out and explore the hills which never fail to fascinate.
Valmik Thapar is one of India’s foremost authorities on wildlife and environment matters and amongst the most respected experts on tigers in the world. A prolific author, Valmik has written, edited and compiled more than 30 books over a career spanning four decades, as an advocate for conservation and a voice for environmental causes throughout India. He has also been a member of critical government committees on environmental issues over this long period.
“In the mid-1950s the so-called ‘Blue’ train from Paris’ Gare de Lyon lead passengers along the route from Paris to the Côte d’Azur. A road was built in parallel to the train, and outposts of fine French taste started to flourish along this route. As the owners of one of these establishments, Marcel and Nelly Tilloy saw an opportunity to band together with other locales sharing the same unflagging passion for hospitality and excellent cuisine. They offered an enticing culinary itinerary, encouraging travellers to explore all the spots. Soon this itinerary acquired the moniker “La Route du Bonheur” or “Road of Happiness”.”
Relais & Châteaux
“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
Summer Visitors and Some Residents
In the second part of our series on birds, our blog this week looks high and low amongst the canopies and undergrowth of Ranthambhore’s forests in the peak of summer. May and June are invariably the hottest periods of the year in Ranthambhore and as many trees lose their leaves and the grasses shrivel and retreat in the heat, few creatures of the forest bother to stir unless they absolutely must. Not so with our feathered friends. Summertime sees an influx of some migratory birds to Ranthambhore who are currently here to escape the chill of the hills, from as far away as Central Asia. Other, residents – such as our male peafowl – develop such outrageously brilliant plumages, they forced Charles Darwin to splutter, “the sight of a feather in a peacock’s tail, whenever I gaze at it, makes me feel sick.”
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.
If PG Wodehouse were to have heard the alarm calls of the cheetal stag which nearly punctured my ear-drums last Monday morning, he would have described it as “a sort of yelp rather like a wolf that sees its peasant getting away…” The stricken-anxiety palely obvious in the yelp of the said deer was instead signalling the approach of a tigress, who looked like a Goddess of Death clearly running late for work, on a manic Monday morning. Read More A Tale of Two Mothers (With Apologies to P.G. Wodehouse!)