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Old 23rd March 2011, 00:15   #136
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gd saheb, thanks for sharing nice travelogue and wonderful pics. story of neelgai reminded me of some national geographic show in wild, specially with graphic pics.
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Old 23rd March 2011, 00:23   #137
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We watched the four Neelgais frolicking in the water and waited. Hopeful that some more action might happen. Happen it did. The Cormorant, that I had seen earlier in the morning came flying from somewhere and perched on the same twig. Was it the same Cormorant? I dunno but am guessing it was the same. I surely need a bigger telephoto prime lens like a 400mm or the 600mm if I have to take birds seriously...

Cormorant - perfect landing

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-4024.jpg

It was quarter past 3 in the noon and after sometime when nothing stirred, we decided to explore some other place. As we reached the man-made water-hole where I had seen the peacock dancing, saw the tracker jeep parked with one of the forest guard holding the antenna high. I raised an eyebrow and he responded that after I had mentioned about the pug-marks, they had gone there, saw the marks, circled them and followed. They had surmised that ST 4 had come towards this direction and were looking for signal. And they were not getting any signal. They were disappointed and frustrated as they had to report the position of the Big Cats every hour to the HQ, and for the last more than 48 hrs, ST 4 was untraceable.

Leaving them to their fate we came on the road and decided to go to Pandupol as in this heat every animal was resting in the shade. Peacocks & peahens sitting on their belly under the shade and not moving at all. Probably conserving energy. Similarly the Sambhars, Cheetals, Partridges, Langurs and birds too were resting in the shade. As the jeep lurched forward, we saw this Jackal sitting under the shade on the roadside. Normally a shy animal, this fellow did not make any attempt to scoot away when the jeep stopped so near him/her. Probably the heat was too much. I took a couple of pictures including some close-ups and moved. As soon as the jeep moved this fellow got up and came very near the rear of the Jeep, stood there staring at us. We moved on.

Jackal

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-4034.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-4036.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-4036a.jpg

The Pandupol area is a known Leopard area & habitat. With a hilly terrain, perennial water source and abundant prey base in the form of large number of primates quite a few Leopards reside there. As we neared the temple I heard a loud "khok". It was the Langur alarm call. On our right rose the hill that had crevices & caves. We stopped and looked for the Langur. There it was perched on the highest & thin branch of the Sal and intently looking at the hill. He called again and then another Langur that was not visible, called. Excitement running high we all were looking at the hill very intently. Nothing visible yet. The Langur called again and then fell silent. We watched him. He sat still and after some time climbed down. The danger had passed...!

The primates at the Pandupol temple complex never cease to amaze with their candidness. Here are some candid shots of the Rhesus Macaque.

Keeping the dignity of the fairer sex I've refrained from titling the photographs..

Rhesus Macaque

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-4037.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-4037a.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-4038.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-4040.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-4041.jpg

My wife and daughter went to have a darshan of the deity while I was busy 'shooting'. We all were tired & exhausted so decided to have some hot tea that would rejuvenate us.

Left Pandupol and headed towards the Kaalighati checkpost. Interestingly, this being a Friday and a day before the Holi celebrations were to start all over the country, the tourists & pilgrims were very few. At the checkpost asked if any calls were heard or sightings reported; it was negative. Decided to explore the Tehla area that was the domain of ST 3. Interestingly, the Tehla area is on a height on the hill and has only one artificial water hole that is periodically replenished by pumping water and a salt-pit next to it. Reached the waterhole and parked. A few Sambhars were drinking water & two Langurs were licking salt. It was a hunch. ST 3 had not been seen near that water-hole or any other in the last 24 hrs. So, it had to come out to drink water. We were intermittently dozing and I thought I heard 'PONK'. It was the Sambhar's alarm call.

The area around the water-hole came alive in a second. The salt-licking Langurs in a flash climbed the nearest tree and the Sambhars alert with their tail raised and nostrils trying to get the scent. The Sambhar called again and again and yet again. Then everything went silent. We strained our ears to hear a rustle or the sound of a twig breaking but nothing. After sometime we left as the Langurs came down and resumed licking and the Sambhars relaxed.

It was 5:15 pm and the day was nearing to end and the Park would close at 6. Gauri had disappointment written all over her face. Harisingh turned around and asked - "Ab kahan chale (now, where should we go)". On an instinct I said - 'Tarunda chalo. ST 4 ke marks usi taraf jaa rahe the. Lagta hai woh pyasa hai, paani jaroor piyega (Let's go to Tarunda. ST 4's marks were leading to that place. Seems he is thirsty, will surely drink water)'

We went to Tarunda, passed the man-made water-hole and reached a tri-junction at Bujaa. On the left a gypsy was parked whose occupant knew me from my several visits. He gestured and pointed towards the thicket. Rameshwar slowly took the jeep near that place, parked and lo behold the King was sleeping in the bushes. We waited for him to get up and move but the fellow wouldn't budge. In the meanwhile two more gypsies arrived and the squeals of excitement from one of the occupants made ST 4 to raise its head and look straight at me. I had to admonish them to keep silent.

The Sleeping Maharaja

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-4043.jpg

Head Up

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-4045.jpg

Meanwhile puzzled, I asked Harisingh as to how the other two gypsies came to know. He said that the driver of the gypsy that was parked earlier had made a call and informed. I took out my mobile to check the signal. There was none. Mine is an Airtel 3G connection. I looked at Harisingh quizzically. His response - "yahan kai jagahon par BSNL chalta hai aur hum sabke paas BSNL connection hai (here, at most places BSNL works and we all have BSNL connection)".

I heard the sound of two more gypsies approaching and cursed BSNL. This time it were the two tracking jeeps. They set up their tracking gear and moved the antenna in various directions. The Tiger was sleeping 25 feet away in the bush, was visible to all but the tracking gadget wasn't receiving any signal. I asked the tracker to check if he was getting any signal of other Cats and sure enough a faint beep of ST 2 was heard. Light was falling fast and taking pictures was becoming a problem. I picked up the binocs to have a closer view and then I saw a white patch on the collar. When I had seen ST 4 last there wasn't any such patch on the collar. I asked the tracker about the white patch and he also said there wasn't any and if at all there is then the collar must've been damaged. I asked him to take a look from the binocs and he confirmed that indeed the collar was damaged, hence no signal. As I had mentioned earlier that I would explain as to why they were not getting signal, this was the reason. All along the Cat was nearby only and they must've passed through that place umpteen times but....

In the meanwhile I took a meter reading of the area through my lens and realised that if ST 4 came out I would't be able to take any picture at that low shutter speed. Boosted the ISO to 800.

Time: 18:40

It was 40 minutes past the Park closing time and we all were still here. Harisingh whispered - "Sir you shall be fined. Minimum Rs.250/- & maximum Rs.500/-". I said I would leave if all others leave and if they pay fine I too would.

In the meanwhile all this cacophony thoroughly disturbed the Cat and he got up and started moving out. Rameshwar smartly reversed and parked the jeep at a vantage point for me to take pictures. I had a clear view of the opening where ST 4 would emerge. And he emerged just 10 feet away in front of my jeep, stopped, turned his head and looked at me. It was to be a perfect shot but alas it wasn't.

I had prefocussed at that spot and was waiting. I have a fairly steady hand. The reading was 1/13 at f/2.8 at ISO 800. As I clicked, Rameshwar eased on the brake pedal and vehicle lurched. This is what I got

ST 4 - shaken & stirred

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-4047.jpg

And then the Tiger moved further. Light had dipped further. The reading 1/15 at F/2.8 at ISO 800. As I clicked, a gypsy immediately behind my vehicle bumped into me. The result..

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-4049.jpg

The Cat went into a bush and would emerge on the road in front of my jeep. I boosted the ISO to 3200 and the best I got was a 1/60 shutter speed at f/2.8. True to anticipation he emerged on the track and started walking towards that man made water hole right in front of my gypsy. Rameshwar followed her slowly, very very slowly.

Presenting the ST 4 catwalk

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-4051.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-4053.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-4055.jpg

Gauri was very thrilled and happy to have seen a Tiger in the wild for the very first time. The look of contentment and happiness on her face made me forget all the gruelling running around done in the hot day.

Rameshwar turned around and raced towards the waterhole from another route to reach before ST 4 would reach there. We were the first one to arrive there and saw Basheer a forest guard with a RT unit in hand perched atop a tree. He was there to sight the Tiger and report to the base camp. We parked and the track on which he would come was right in line of my sight. I lifted my camera to see if I could. I realised I couldn't take a picture without a tripod or a flash. Flash I wouldn't use. It was 7:05 pm. I turned back.

Reached the exit gate. I was fined Rs.500/- for overstaying and so were the others. Settled accounts with Harisingh and left for home. Enroute stopped at Behror Midway to have something to eat. The treatment given was a pleasant surprise. Certain things had improved after my complaint (post #: 134) to Rajasthan State Tourism Minister Mrs. Bina Kak about the pathetic service & condition of the RTDC joint. Reached home at 1 am.

This trip concluded...

Last edited by gd1418 : 23rd March 2011 at 00:30.
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Old 23rd March 2011, 00:51   #138
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Thanks Shatru. I think I know you better at some other forum...

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gd saheb, thanks for sharing nice travelogue and wonderful pics. story of neelgai reminded me of some national geographic show in wild, specially with graphic pics.
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Old 23rd March 2011, 01:19   #139
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

GD sir , so finally you were able to trace the ST 4 . C4 spotted ST4 .
Excellent travelogue narrated by you , loved it .
I think you shouldn't have been fined , you helped them identifying the broken collar .
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Old 23rd March 2011, 20:32   #140
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

I didn't trace. The other jeep found him; by chance. Thanks for liking the travelogue. Well, we overstayed and there was no point in arguing..

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GD sir , so finally you were able to trace the ST 4 .

C4 spotted ST4.

Excellent travelogue narrated by you , loved it .

I think you shouldn't have been fined , you helped them identifying the broken collar .

Last edited by gd1418 : 23rd March 2011 at 20:33.
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Old 23rd March 2011, 21:21   #141
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Increase in Tiger population at Sariska

You all must be aware and I mentioned elsewhere here about the relocation of ST 6 (male).

Not many would know and officially it hasn't been declared as yet, but I just received an information from my contacts at Sariska about another relocation of tigers in Sariska. But before that I've to give you the background.

Ranthambore tigress T-5 found dead

February 10, 2011

A six-year-old tigress was found dead on Wednesday morning in the Kundera range of the Ranthambore National Park.

The tigress, referred to as T-5, had been sighted for the first time with her new cubs late last month in the Kachida area, bringing cheer to the park, which lost 10 tigers in the past year and a half.

She was found wounded last week, when state tourism minister Bina Kak spotted her, giving rise to fears that she had been in a fight with a tigress named T-17. The latter had been sighted in T-5' s territory in Kachida.
T-5 was treated following tranquilisation by doctors from Jaipur and Sawai Madhopur.

A post-mortem has been ordered to determine the cause of death. Rajasthan's principal chief conservator of forests R. N. Mehrotra said the wound - near the anus of the big cat - had opened up and got infected by maggots.

The death of T-5, which gave five tigers to the park in her lifetime, has put a question mark on the survival of her three-month-old cubs.

"We have to capture them and keep them in captivity as they won't survive in the wild," Mehrotra said. "The survival of the cubs is a challenge for the forest authorities," Rajpal Singh, a member of the state committee for wildlife, said.

Recently seven cubs, including the two of T-5, have been sighted in the park.
----------------------------------------------------------

Two cubs of T-5 tigress spotted in Ranthambore

Feb 11, 2011

The two cubs of T-5, which died in Ranthambore on Wednesday, have been spotted by forest department officials on Thursday. Both cubs are in good health and are spotted on a hilltop, officials said. "They consumed some dressed meat and water. But when we tried to catch them, they ran way. We will not be chasing them now as it might scare them away from the area and make it more difficult to catch them. We will wait for them instead," a forest official said.

"We have designed a special cage for the cubs in which we hope to keep them after we catch them. But plans thereafter are yet to be framed," state chief wildlife warden H M Bhatia said. He said the department is in consultation with the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) to take care of the cubs, which have also been caught by a trap camera.

R N Mehrotra, principal chief conservator of forest and head of forest forces, however, ruled out the possibility of keeping the cubs in a zoo. "There is no point keeping them in a zoo. It has been ruled out," he said.

Officials said the best place for the cubs would be the already existing enclosure at the Sariska reserve. "Safety of the cubs is our prime concern and Sariska promises to be a better place for them than Ranthambore. We will hand raise them for some years in a protected cage. After that whether we leave them in Sariska or bring them back to Ranthambore will be decided," an official said.

T-5, popularly known as Kachida tigress, died on Wednesday. She underwent an emergency surgery recently at the Ranthambore National Park after tourism minister Bina Kak spotted it with a wound on its rear.
--------------------------------------------------------

I am very delighted and happy to inform that those two Tiger cubs of the late T 5 would be relocated to Sariska very shortly and for the time being will be kept in the enclosure where the earlier - ST 1 (now dead), ST 2, ST 3, ST 4, ST 5 and the latest ST 6 were kept and acclimatised before being released in the open. After these cubs grow up to adulthood, then will be released in the open.

On my recent visit to Sariska, I had seen the enclosures. Waiting for the cubs to arrive..
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Old 29th March 2011, 13:29   #142
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Brother's wife coming down from the US of A on 5th April. Wants to go to Sariska. Propose to go on the 9th....
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Old 29th March 2011, 13:39   #143
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Sariska has been really kind to you, at this rate all the ST's will know you by heart and automatically present themselves to you when you reach there

Told you I am the "panoti" (badluck)

Now waiting for the 9th April's photoshoot!!!
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Old 29th March 2011, 21:05   #144
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Deky, you are too kind with words. In my post #: 137 in the picture titled ST 4 - shaken & stirred, don't you think ST 4 gave a smile of recognition when he turned around and looked at me? Ha ha ha ha ha.....


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Sariska has been really kind to you, at this rate all the ST's will know you by heart and automatically present themselves to you when you reach there

Told you I am the "panoti" (badluck)

Now waiting for the 9th April's photoshoot!!!
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Old 29th March 2011, 22:05   #145
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

GD bhai, latest news on our second day trip was that ST3 and ST6 are together. This info was given by tracker gypsy and ST3 was spotted too some are on road kankwari if i remember right.

May be this time you may be able click these two.
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Old 30th March 2011, 12:01   #146
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Oh, so this temperate naughty ST 6 has found his girl? That indeed is good news. This also means that ST 6 has done his exploration of the forest and marked his territory. Last known he was seen marking over the markings of ST 4. This could lead to a show of strength.

I wish I had time to park myself at Sariska for a few weeks to witness this confrontation.

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GD bhai, latest news on our second day trip was that ST3 and ST6 are together. This info was given by tracker gypsy and ST3 was spotted too some are on road kankwari if i remember right.

May be this time you may be able click these two.
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Old 30th March 2011, 12:13   #147
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Originally Posted by gd1418 View Post
Oh, so this temperate naughty ST 6 has found his girl? That indeed is good news. This also means that ST 6 has done his exploration of the forest and marked his territory. Last known he was seen marking over the markings of ST 4. This could lead to a show of strength.

I wish I had time to park myself at Sariska for a few weeks to witness this confrontation.
One more warning was issued by Hari that ST-6 has a history of attacking Gyspy if disturbed. .
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Old 30th March 2011, 12:32   #148
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Read my post #:103. I'm well aware of the temperament of T 7 or the ST 6 as it is known today. Have been tracking him ever since he was thrown out of Ranthambhore in a territorial fight. He escaped and hid in Koeladev at Bharatpur.

Was clever enough to outsmart the forest rangers thrice to escape tranquilisation. Also attacked and injured the brave ranger of R'bhore Daulat Singh Shaktawat when he went to tranquilise him. Daulat Singh lost his right eye.

I would love to confront this rascal...!

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One more warning was issued by Hari that ST-6 has a history of attacking Gyspy if disturbed. .
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Old 30th March 2011, 21:59   #149
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Originally Posted by v&v View Post
GD bhai, latest news on our second day trip was that ST3 and ST6 are together. This info was given by tracker gypsy and ST3 was spotted too some are on road kankwari if i remember right.

May be this time you may be able click these two.
well, here's some proof for the above statement. Presenting the two together as sent by my friend who visited sariska in the last few weeks:

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-9425066834d91b0bbe9019.jpg

GD sahab, please take atleast 3 days time out of your schedule and go and see whats st6 is up to.

If you can give me an idea about the movement of this couple (in a pm, not publicly) then i can maybe think of coming down for a couple of days to try and get them to pose for me.

Regards,
Dr. A Ghosh
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Old 31st March 2011, 12:32   #150
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

To me it looks like the ST 2 (standing) & ST 4 (lying). ST 6 & ST 3 have been reported together but not seen.
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