When visiting Panna, Do visit the Walk with the Pardhis activity. Definitely an activity worth skipping a safari for it.
Walking with the Pardhis
On our recent venture at Panna, we got an opportunity to experience a beautiful activity undertaken by "Last Wilderness Foundation". A walk with the real stake holders in conservation on their home turf it was. This activity is conducted by LWF, who are working on a wide spectrum for betterment of the tribal population around some Protected areas.
पन्ना, पारधी और पँथर -
In this walk we got an insight in "Reading" a jungle through various signs and marks which it bears. Starting with identification of certain indigenous flora, our pardhi ecologists helped us to understand the ecological as well as economic benefits of various plants. Then came an even more interesting part of the session, where Batal bhaiyya explained to us how various animals communicate and the way in which he explained it to us was very very special. He actually mimicked the communication calls of various wild animals right from Peacocks, Quails to Jackals and Leopards. It was as if the animals were calling right in front of us. He explained to us, how on field these calls were once used to lure various animals towards traps laid by hunting communities. These traditional skills now are being channelized for greater cause through such activities. We walked with our two pardhi ecologists through the buffer understanding various aspects of reading the signs and tracking some animals. Through scats/pellets, Pugmarks, Scrape marks etc they explained to us animal behaviour traits. On our way back, we halted at the sound of an alarm call given out by a Sambar deer, it's alarm was echoing through the jungle. All of a sudden, after an alarm call we heard a huge grunt and it kept on increasing. A leopard it was! We could not believe our ears, we were actually having a leopard sighting and the most beautiful part of it was that we were not even seeing any of the animals yet were enjoying scene. No one of us can forget this experience of exploring the forests with the "Sons of the forest".
Everyone visiting Panna should do this activity if you want to experience "Eco-Tourism" in its true sense. Getting the communities around our PAs, some livelihood opportunities like these helps to reduce their dependency on forest resources which has effects on conservation efforts as well as the social status of the communities.
Panna National Park
- Va₹ad Bansod
A chilly winter evening in the Kolsa range of Tadoba, a safari full of just alarm calls and nothing else. No birding, calm herbivore activity and no sight of any predator. Disappointed, we started our journey towards the gate as the safari timing was about to end. Both of our gypsies took different roads towards the gate to maximize chances of getting signs for next days morning safari. Setting sun took all the light away pretty soon just like any other winter evening, we were enjoying the dim light and cruising through the dense bamboo grooves of kolsa. As soon as we came on the main road before 500mtrs the gate, we saw our other gypsy reversing slowly.As soon as we came near them, we were surprised to see a Tigress walking calmy towards their Gypsy at a distance.(We could see the exit gate just behind her at around 300mtrs)
We switched on our headlights at low power to understand her movement as she was walking right on the road. We were reversing to give her some space and she was walking calmly in front of us. Finally she decided to go offroad and disappeared in a thicket, a barking deer let out a fierce alarm as soon as she entered.
Managed to get a photograph to mark one of the most beautiful sightings one can have.