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Old 28th May 2017, 11:30   #1
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Default Kabini jungle lodges and resorts, Karapore

I was just back from the 4 days break I had taken at Jungle Retreat. I see one Teambhpian post on one of my older threads about the Kabini. I ping him on whatsapp and get to know that the JLR Kabini trip is on and he is going solo. He was generous enough to invite me and I made a few changes to my weekend schedule and I was back on the road again this time with Nvrao in his Innova.

I met him at the RR Nagar Arch at 1.40 am and we were off towards the Veeranahosahalli gate for the Nagarahole Safari.

Day 1 - Morning Safari

A few pics

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It was a long safari almost 3.5 hours in duration. Post the safari, we reached the Veeranahosahalli gate and had breakfast at a small restaurant there. It was time to drive to Kabini Karapore. Reached Kabini Karapore at 11.30 am, a brisk check in process we were in the room bang at noon. I took a quick power nap. We headed off towards the Ghol Ghar at 2.30 pm where the lunch is served.
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Old 28th May 2017, 11:45   #2
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Day 1 - Safari 2

Post lunch, the staff came with the allocation for the safari, as Nvrao had already requested Zone B, we were allotted the same. JLR vehicles have zone restrictions and the number of vehicles entering each zone.

As we boarded the safari vehicle, the weather gods decided to bring in a shower. Now this was getting tricky with the light being pretty poor, however, I was content that we were atleast entering the forest.

We first head towards the backwaters, with no news of any spottings, the driver was zooming away towards the old MM road where a sub adult tiger was spotted by the Government safari bus. Now this rush was a bit irritating as it was zeal to spot a tiger ensured, no other animal gets any kind of importance. A lot was lost especially with a few birds. Nevertheless, we reach the spot where the tiger was spotted but not before zooming past a young tusker.

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A couple of other jeeps were waiting here for the tiger and the drizzle was getting a little heavier now. Our driver takes the jeep a further ahead and reverses after a few minutes. The Naturalist and myself spot the tiger in the bushes and I request the driver to reverse and it comes out in the open.

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Tiger decides to slip away into the bushes again. Now our naturalist asks the driver to go back 200 odd meters and wait there for the tiger to come out. Now one thing that the driver and the naturalist were missing in the zeal to see the tiger again completely missed the point that the tiger was being pestered by flies since it rained and it was just moving around to get rid of the flies at the same. It was no way going to come in the open again 200 or 300 meters away. I requested our driver to go back there again. We wait for 5 mins and the tiger comes out again. After few minutes, it decides to stalk something in the bush and then finally now it was on the move as it was almost dark by then.

A few more pics

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We return back to the JLR facility and have tea. I came back to the room, kept the camera bag and went to the place where the wildlife documentary was being played. 8.30 pm dinner time and it was time to snooze off.
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Old 28th May 2017, 12:01   #3
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Day 2 - Safari 1

We were up and ready to head out again into the forests. Morning was so fresh after the overnight rains. I knew it would be hard to spot any cats with the kind of weather and was looking forward to a few birds and other animals at least in this safari as this time we were in Zone A

The list of things that we missed were as our naturalist were keen on only Black panther/tiger

1. Spotted Deer mating pair
2. Peacock with its feathers open
3. Indian roller mating pair.
4. Racket tail Drongo
5. White bellied wood pecker.

My patience was running out and finally had a word with the staff that there are other animals too in the forest that is as important as the tiger. Post this there were a little slow and managed to click a few pics.

Fresh forests after the overnight rains

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Malabar Giant Squirrel

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Peacock with Vantage View of surroundings

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Warming the chicks

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Common Hoopoo

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Spotted deer eating mud for salts

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A young Sambar Deer

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Indian roller

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Post the safari we came back to the Ghol Ghar, had a lovely breakfast (I had ragi mudde for each meal here, loved every bit of it). Checked out at 12 noon and headed off towards Damankatte safari to do 1 quick trip again with the department bus.

Day 2 - Safari 2

Not much of sightings apart from loads of spotted deer, common hoopoos and a few peacocks

This guar was on the road side and it slid away once it noticed the vehicle.

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Post safari, we headed back towards Bangalore with a dinner break at Gokul Restaurant near Mandya. I was dropped off at the RR Nagar Arch at 10.30 pm. A couple of days well spent in the forests again.

A big thanks to Nvrao for extending the invite to me.

PS: JLR thought the facility is good, they are too much behind the tiger and the guests who come for safaris too are just wanting to see the tiger. This really screws it up for the wildlife lovers who would want to see the forests and all its fauna and not just the tiger. Hope JLR do note this and gets back to good old days. "Wildlife spotting is luck, it should remain that way instead of chasing the animals down"
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Old 29th May 2017, 08:15   #4
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Default re: Kabini jungle lodges and resorts, Karapore

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 29th May 2017, 09:59   #5
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Default re: Kabini jungle lodges and resorts, Karapore

Thank you for sharing your wonderful photographs and crisp narration.

Quote:
The list of things that we missed were as our naturalist were keen on only Black panther/tiger
Three factors are responsible for this behavior:
  1. The majority of the visitors want to see big cats ( for bragging rights, most likely) and hence the payout of tips is correlated with big cat sightings.
  2. Most of the drivers/ naturalists carry their own camera to photograph big cats and they stand to earn from stock photo sites and such.
  3. The equity of the resort is dependent on the big cats and the Management strives to ensure that sightings are experienced by allowing ( apparently prohibited) sharing of sighting references by their staff. They even display a board showing the big cat sightings in the previous safaris.

It is a problem. There are many wonderful sights in the forest which are completely missed due to this fixation. For example, in your photographs, we can see the healthy growth of Lichen, which is an indicator of pollution, or rather the lack of it. Or for that matter, the widespread cancerous growth of Lantana Camara which is killing the endemic species. Our children miss out on learning such issues.

During our visit to these National Parks (see : (A drive through some of the Wildlife Sanctuaries in the Western Ghats)) we made it a point to explain to our driver and naturalist that we wanted to enjoy the forest in all its glory, and not just tigers. Though to tell the truth, we had mixed results.

Last edited by earthian : 29th May 2017 at 10:05. Reason: added thank you
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Old 29th May 2017, 10:35   #6
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As Earthian says, there are many factors that make the drivers and naturalists chase the cats. To add to what he has mentioned:

You must already know that most of the visitors to Kabini (and indeed most other national parks too) are repeaters. There are always a few greenhorns and first timers who are excited by sighting their first spotted deer herd or serpent eagle or langurs or whatever. But most of the others, who have seen these wonderful animals many, many times, want to see the cats. I mean, come on, how many times can you photograph spotted deer? I personally want to photograph langurs since they exhibit the most adorable and quirky behaviour, but I always postpone that if there is tiger or leopard sighting report and we have to rush there.

You see, somehow the same logic doesn't apply to cats. As I mentioned elsewhere, a big cat gets your heart beating faster no matter how many times you see one. Your knees go weak, your hands start to shake so very slightly and there is an immediate adrenaline surge. This surge is what we as wildlife photographers crave for. Like addicts! Maybe it is the lizard part of your brain triggering the fight or flight reflex and you are made aware of the sheer threat this animal can pose to your life. And also the simple fact that there aren't many of them, so seeing one is like a lottery. Not so with spotted deer or langur or rollers or eagles or elephants.

This problem can be easily resolved by the safari management by simply dividing the tiger seekers and the newbies into two separate groups and asking them what they want to see. Even most of the newbies will say "Tiger" or "Leopard". There are very few people who want to just enjoy the experience and see whatever is the forest has to offer. Maybe they can create a third group and assign them to one vehicle so that everyone goes home happy. We should talk to the management at Kabini and see if this view has been put before them before and listen to their response.
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Old 30th May 2017, 15:51   #7
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Default Re: Kabini jungle lodges and resorts, Karapore

Yous seems to be on a roll, Jungle Retreat and now JLR. It is very true that Tiger gets all the attention and JLR guys simple ignores other wildlife the moment they smell the tiger. We cannot blame them since most of the guests come there to spot the tiger for the first time in life.
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Old 31st May 2017, 10:15   #8
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Default Re: Kabini jungle lodges and resorts, Karapore

Who would not like to see a predator up close, no denying the fact that it excites everyone. But, when you know the spotting are difficult, you can as well enjoy the spotting other animals too instead of zipping across the forest to find one. JLR should introspect a little and do the allotments accordingly to meet everyone's needs more so for the fares they charge. But not many would agree to this and go about chasing a tiger as it excites them more and these sightings will earn the naturalists/drivers their tips.

PS: I am not new to the Nagarahole/Bandipur forests and I have been visiting these forests for ages now. It excites me every single time I go there, not because I spot the tiger or a leopard, but the sense of satisfaction one experiences with the forests irrespective of the sightings. Photography comes last to me, experience is first. I have gone to these places even without carrying camera.

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Old 31st May 2017, 10:39   #9
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Great report and pics. Regarding the drivers and naturalists, it is a sad trend. The silver lining is that among the other tiger reserves, JLR staff are way better. I had been to Tadoba early this year and the drivers and guides can put the lives of people at risk just for spotting tiger. At most places, there were 15-20 jeeps surrounding the tiger and at times not allowing it to pass.

For the selfish soul in me, the tiger sighting was worth it. But, as we completed the safaris we just couldnt help but feel for the poor animals.
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Old 31st May 2017, 10:49   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kvish View Post
Regarding the drivers and naturalists, it is a sad trend. The silver lining is that among the other tiger reserves, JLR staff are way better. I had been to Tadoba early this year and the drivers and guides can put the lives of people at risk just for spotting tiger. At most places, there were 15-20 jeeps surrounding the tiger and at times not allowing it to pass.

For the selfish soul in me, the tiger sighting was worth it. But, as we completed the safaris we just couldnt help but feel for the poor animals.
Regarding JLR folks being better could not agree more, but the desperation from visitors will lead JLR to become worse which is really a concern.

The kind of example you give with Tadoba is pretty worrying. This will surely start changing the animal behavior which does not abode well a few years down the line.
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Old 31st May 2017, 14:56   #11
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Default Re: Kabini jungle lodges and resorts, Karapore

Very nice travelogue. Ping me next time if you need one more safari companion. Disclaimer: My focus would on the black panther and tigers :-)
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