Dear Tiger lovers,
While this post may not seem to be related to Tigers, please spare a few minutes to read this in it’s entirety to hopefully realize the fact that it actually is.
We had taken a Night safari (7.30 – 10.30 p.m) into Khatia buffer zone of Kanha Tiger Reserve last weekend. As Forest guards from Chapri gate (with wireless sets) need to accompany tourists on night drives, we picked up a guard and set off at 7.30 p.m. After scanning through the jungle with the help of our Gypsy’s headlights as well as the guard’s torch light, sighting herds of Chital, Sambhar & Wild Boar, we hit upon what looked like not-so-old pugmarks of a Male Tiger along with a Female on the track.
At around 9.00 p.m, as we approached Batwar main road, we cut down the engine for a moment to listen to the sounds of the jungle when we chanced upon a pair of headlights approaching from 500 odd metres away. As we were sure of the other 2 Gypsies being a lot behind us, we were taken aback to come across a TATA 407 vehicle approaching us & motioned them to pull over. The occupants of the vehicle seem to have been caught unawares when we switched on our head lights raising further suspicion. Upon enquiring with them (3 villagers seated beside the Driver & another 6-7 odd people seated behind in the van), the Driver feigned ignorance & casually remarked that they were on their way to Sarekha village near Mukki. It may be noted that villagers are permitted to traverse through this patch of forest on motorcycles only during day time.
We then put our foot down, clearly stated that entry after sunset is prohibited, insisted that they get back to their village (Batwar) and go to Mukki through the road outside the park or face the prospect of getting booked for a serious offence. In order to ensure that they left the area, we followed them till their village & returned back to our safari only after being assured they wouldn’t attempt to sneak in again. We might have missed Tiger sighting on that drive but came back relieved that nothing untoward happened. We reported the incident to the forest officials and the Department has assured us that a barrier shall be built at the Batwar junction to act as a deterrent to such unauthorized entries. By the way, we also got a brief Leopard sighting during this safari.
Although forest personnel do conduct extensive foot patrolling during daytime, sadly the scant resources do not enable them to perform night patrolling in buffer areas. With this post, we urge our members to opt for at least 1 or 2 night safaris during their visit to Kanha & indirectly assist the forest department in monitoring areas vulnerable to illegal activities please. Only 3 Gypsies (with a forest guard) are permitted & hence night safaris need to be booked at the Khatia gate counter at least a day in advance.
Origen: Tiger Trackers – Biografía