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Old 25th March 2022, 18:56   #46
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Re: Our Wild Classroom - Panna Tiger Reserve

So post the installation of the new camera, literally a new dimension has opened up before us.

Of course it needs careful and continued monitoring but when the results are like this, I would happily sit for hours each day, wouldn't you?

This is only but a short set, the entire footage is over 18mins long

The uniqueness of the video is not just about being able to capture one of the most elusive cats taking a nap, but that it is comfortable in doing so right outside the camp - peacefulness levels approved by Leopards

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Old 23rd February 2024, 19:54   #47
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Re: Our Wild Classroom - Panna Tiger Reserve

Its been quite a while since I updated this thread, and a lot of life has happened too.

I think this should make for an interesting read ...

Sometimes, when we think of starting/writing a blog, the 'Title' plays an important part and takes some time in arriving at too. The same was my situation when I started this blog back in 2019, now after 5yrs of having started this story and almost 7 since we started working on developing our dream - was the title apt?


Never in our wildest dreams, did we imagine ourselves to be doing all that we have done, to learn all that we learnt and share all that we have shared.

Nature is one heck of a teacher provided the students are interested, there are many a chance to stop and let go, to get back to the comfort of a civilized and developed world. But yet, many persevere, for the passion is addictive - and the resulting happiness - unmatched.

The interest in wildlife and nature is what brought us here. Covid gave us ample opportunity to live here, to understand life as it was - to see it and witness it close hand.

The sheer harshness of it all, as there are no cushions in remote regions - you see it and take it as it comes.

Wildlife had always intrigued and fascinated me, so I used to leave to no stone unturned to get an opportunity to photograph them - to see them - or simply to be in their presence.

This took a whole new turn when, I realized the hardships that Animals face while being in proximity to civilization, the constant conflict takes a heavy toll on both man and beast. I could not just stand and watch and realized that more was needed, consolation and good words don’t mean much - especially when the threat is real, the risks are obvious and the losses many. A more actionable approach was needed, my assumptions on the lack of active water holes within the forest turned out to be true.

Not that I referred to some report on the same, but having walked every inch of the forest, I was certain for sure.

The question was what could I do about it, and that's when I built the water hole - it was an experiment, hoping to provide water to animals with the belief that they may stop entering the village.

Did it work? Yes, it sure did - but it took its own time. This was an entire degree on understanding animal behavior by itself. The fact that Animals rely on Neural networks, hard-coded in their brains and passed down from generations of repetition. A random water hole placed in their way means nothing to them.

One needs to develop their trust and show the consistency that this is no random act but a consistent provision.

It took 6 months for the animals to finally trust us and our water hole, and life has changed for the better for the villagers for from that day, in the last 5yrs there has been no incident of a Sloth Bear or a Hyena within their fields or in their village. Peace at last.

What has it meant for us, we realized that we were not just preaching about coexistence but were practically living the life every single day. It became a common affair for us and our team, to see a Sloth Bear or Leopard waiting for us to fill the water as they came out from their forest abode as night beckoned.
It allowed us to witness some of the rarest of rare instances to be captured without intrusion, like

- Leopards and porcupine drinking water together during peak summer

- Sloth Bear cleaning the water hole

- the first ever documented sighting of a pair of Honey Badgers, an animal who existed on paper - for none had ever seen it in 50yrs of the Tiger Reserves history

Of course, stories like these spread far and wide and soon enough, we started receiving requests from Senior Indian Administrative personnel from all services, that whether they could come and spend some time at the camp and if it was possible for me to host them. I realized and learnt that powerful stories like these need to be shared more and more and that’s how change can be brought about.

I wrote an article on the same and I can never forget the day, it was published in the Sanctuary Asia Magazine, a publication which I had read as a child - to read something of your own, is a feeling that cannot be expressed.


Our Wild Classroom - Panna Tiger Reserve-whatsapp-image-20240223-7.41.46-pm.jpeg

This brought us closer to people, more and more wanted to understand and listen to the wonderful tale of survival and coexistence. Soon enough translating to conducting workshops in schools, clubs and even being invited by the Forest Department to host VVIPs like G20 delegates and train their team of Guides and Naturalists.

Our Wild Classroom - Panna Tiger Reserve-whatsapp-image-20240223-7.41.46-pm-1.jpeg

And of course BHPians, the support and camaraderie present in this forum is beyond just a few words. Inspite of me not being active at all, I have constantly received messages, calls and even surprise visits by members who have followed our journey and those moments are very special.

Almost everyone whom we meet, asks us - Why did we do what we did?

I think we all have this aspect within ourselves, where we want to pursue our passion. But most of the time life happens and these take a backseat - transforming into something that you would like to do later in life - maybe early retirement.

As we move closer to that moment, we realize that the idea is good but should we invest so much of time and money into something that is only passion? And what happens if it does not work out?

These and many more 'practical' questions pop, reality is we no longer have the 'risk taking appetite', this is inversely proportional to our age and hence passion gets eliminated.

Instead, dreams and passions need to be nurtured and developed – it need not be something that one should be looking at it from a commercial point of view – but something which gives one happiness – some creative freedom – a sense of comfort – and the opportunity of being yourself

Rome wasn't built in a day and our dreams should not be any lesser.

Has this journey been easy? No
Has it been without pitfalls? No
Has it been without sacrifice? No

What has it given us?


Our Wild Classroom;

it made us feel;
it made us understand;
it made us introspect;

but above all...

it taught us Life

Our Wild Classroom - Panna Tiger Reserve-whatsapp-image-20240223-7.46.20-pm.jpeg

Thank you for reading.
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Old 23rd February 2024, 23:25   #48
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Re: Our Wild Classroom - Panna Tiger Reserve

Hey Salil, the badgers are really a good record! Thanks for sharing. Feel like a quick visit again :-)

Last edited by Rangy62 : 23rd February 2024 at 23:27. Reason: Grammar
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Old 24th February 2024, 12:16   #49
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Re: Our Wild Classroom - Panna Tiger Reserve

Originally Posted by Rangy62 View Post
Hey Salil, the badgers are really a good record! Thanks for sharing. Feel like a quick visit again :-)
yes you should, its raining Tigers in Panna by the way!
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