It’s a Frog’s World- Part 2: Munnar, Kerala

Continued from the previous post…. The next day we made our long road journey to Munnar, a land of tea plantations set amongst the grand Anamalais. Here we would be met by two amazing researchers, both of whom we had heard much about, Lilly Margaret and Sandeep Das. Varad, through the course of his studies throughout the country, had managed to convince these two to take some valuable time off their research projects to join us and impart their collective knowledge. We met Lilly first, well known for her work involving the study of amphibians in modified landscapes. As she would elaborate, tea plantations have been in Munnar as long as 1890, and along with eucalyptus formed the dominant landscape in and around Munnar. Yet as her work was beginning to show (and we would soon see first-hand), anurans here were resilient, and had not only survived but adapted and […]

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It’s a Frog’s World- Part 1: Wayanad, Kerala

[The following story is from a visit in October 2014, have done my best to add updates per October 2015 :)] ‘What crazy looking eyes!’, we exclaimed as we pored over the field guide of the ‘Common Amphibians of Kerala’ by P.S. Shivaprasad, moving along the bumpy roads outside Calicut, driven by our Keralite Schumacher, Majeedji. For the 7 of us traveling together, the past few months had already been a roller-coaster ride. Dr. Varad Giri, one of the most well-renowned Indian herpetologists, had started a 4-month course dedicated to amphibians in June for those interested in the same, regardless of their background, as part of his initiative of the Western Ghats Regional Station to raise a fresh crop that could participate in further studies of this little-known class of organisms. All our notions and perceptions of amphibian identification had been shattered in the last few months. We would recognize that color […]

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Encounter with Lady & Luck- Satpura National Park, Madhya Pradesh

(Edited Version of the below write-up was published in the Sanctuary Asia Feb. 2015 issue, the below encounter took place in November, 2014) Dawn broke at the Churna FRH in the Satpura National Park, Madhya Pradesh. We were up and pretty excited already; in our time here, apart from the wealth of birdlife such as the Indian Eagle Owl, Scarlet Minivet, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon and mammals such as sloth bears, gaur, sambar, Indian giant and flying squirrels, we had been very lucky in getting a coveted sight of Satpura’s enigmatic tigers. It was barely for a few minutes the previous evening, in the process of waiting at a particular spot shown by our guide, Rameshwar (who on a previous day’s patrolling inside the forest, had seen a mother along with two cubs). After about half an hour, we had spied a cub deep within the lantana undergrowth. The instant he […]

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Mount Abu- Encounter with Big Black Baloo

Bears have poor eyesight, fortunately this individual sensed our presence from some distance.

A few months back in December, we were invited to a wedding of a family friend of my wife at Abu Road in February. I was not sure of making it, but the family insisted it would be a good idea; we could even spend the weekend at Mt. Abu. I did not particularly relish the idea as I only remembered the place as a child and the only thing I recalled was boating at Nakki Lake and figured it would be like every other bustling hill station. However, some reading up online got me interested, a small number of people were talking about the excellent trekking options. I dug a little deeper and stumbled on a few fragments of info on the Mount Abu wildlife sanctuary. The website of the Rajasthan forest department and a few scanty TripAdvisor reviews were all I could find. So I got in touch […]

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