Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Wild Side of Corbett

When our friends, Ritish Suri and his wife, Minakshi, residents of the area, invited Rom and I to visit, I demurred. Ritish insisted there were parts of Corbett, like Halduparao, that few tourists visited. Then he dangled a carrot: herds of elephants congregated in the nearby river during May, at a time when the country was in a heat daze. My spouse, Rom, had last visited 40 years ago when he did the first crocodile survey in the area, just when the water had risen to fill the newly constructed Kalagarh dam.I had never visited Corbett Tiger Reserve. The main tourist complex of the Forest Department was smack in the core area, supposedly a zone of no human disturbance. Scores of private resorts lined the edges of the park, and many hosted loud parties. None of this enticed me to visit.

I was intrigued, and Rom was curious to see how the park had changed since.
Read the rest here at Outlook Traveller October 2014

Interview: Krzysztof Wielicki, the ice warrior

OT: When you’re in the mountains, are you thinking about your family or the summit?
Krzysztof Wielicki:
 In my generation, it was easy. When I got the sports passport, my wife said, “I can’t go, but you have the opportunity to go, so go.” But now, everybody has a passport. So when you say you want to go climbing for three months, your wife will say, “Bravo, bravo. When you come back, don’t come here.” Younger climbers ask, “How was it possible for you to go away for three months at a time, come home for a week and go off for another three months?” Women have equal opportunities in Europe now and it’s much more difficult for men to go away. It’s my privilege that when I’m climbing, I can be completely separated from family and home. I’m only concentrating on the climb. You cannot climb if you think, “My God! My wife, my kids.” You have to forget them. I focused only on the problem of climbing and surviving.

Read the rest here at Outlook Traveller

Dead Reckoning

Photographs: Manish Chandi
Photographs: Manish Chandi

We had lost sight of land when the full import of our enterprise hit me. Five of us from the Indian mainland and six Karen from North Andaman were in two dungis (dugout canoes) headed for the re- mote uninhabited island of South Sentinel. We were to make a film about the wildlife of the island.

None of us carried a compass, charts or sextant to navigate the seas because we didn’t know how to use them. Handy GPS devices were not yet in vogue in 1998, and we couldn’t afford flares, radios or satellite phones. There was no way to communicate with anyone should we run into trouble. Instead, we were dependent on two venerable Karen gentle- men, Uncle Paung and Uncle Pambwein, to get us there. Suddenly, our intrepid little expedition seemed foolhardy.

Read more at The Indian Quarterly October-December 2014

Locals fearful of suspected killer tiger released near their village in India

Tigers normally walk away from humans. When they chase humans, trouble follows.
Photograph: AP

Scared residents of Talawade in Karnataka are calling for forest officials to recapture a tiger, suspected of killing a woman and chasing vehicles, that has been released into a wildlife reserve near their village.

Read more at the Guardian