Corbett Tiger Reserve

Report of my visit to parts of Corbett Tiger Reserve in May 1997 is enclosed. This document is in the Public Domain. You are not only permitted but also encouraged to distribute this document freely in any form -- print, electronic media, or broadcasting to anyone who may be interested. This document is also available in Latex and HTML format via the Internet at the following URL: http://www.iucaa.ernet.in/~yogesh/wildlife.html. A report based on an earlier visit in May 1994 is also available on the same site. Please send comments/corrections/requests for more information to : Yogesh Wadadekar
Mail:
Yogesh Wadadekar
I-1 Rajat
968/20 S Bapat Road
Pune 411 016
India

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Contents

REPORT OF A VISIT TO CORBETT TIGER RESERVE IN MAY 1997

Yogesh Wadadekar
May 1997
We gratefully acknowledge the help and cooperation received from Project Tiger authorities at Corbett Tiger Reserve particularly the Field Director, Mr. R. C. Gautam, the Deputy Director, Mr. Rajiv Bhartari, and the DFO, Kalagarh Tiger Reserve Division, Mr. Samir Sinha.

1 Basic Information On Corbett Tiger Reserve

1.1 Geography of Corbett Tiger Reserve

Corbett Tiger Reserve is spread over areas of Nainital, Almora, Pauri Garhwal and Bijnore Districts of Uttar Pradesh. The present area of the Reserve is 1318.54 sq. km. including 520.82 sq. km. of core area and 797.72 sq. km. of buffer area. The core area forms the Corbett National Park while the buffer contains reserve forests (496.54 sq. km.) as well as the Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary (301.18 sq.km.). The core is bounded to the North by the Kanda Ridge, with a height of 1043 m at its highest point. The entire area of the reserve is mountainous and falls in the Sivalik and Outer Himalaya geological province. It forms the catchment area of the Ramganga, a tributary of the Ganga. The Ramganga flows from East to West in the reserve through landscapes of incredible beauty.

The Ramganga was dammed at Kalagarh at the south-western end of the reserve in 1974. The reservoir created submerged 40 sq. km. of prime grassland. The area on the western side of the reservoir now constitutes the Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary.

1.2 Conservation History

Corbett National Park became the first national park of India and the Indian subcontinent, when it was established on 8 August 1936. It was then called Hailey National Park after Sir Malcolm Hailey, the then governor of the United Provinces. Major Jim Corbett was largely responsible for delineation of the park boundaries. After India attained independence in 1947 the park was renamed as Ramganga National Park. In 1957, it was renamed as Corbett National Park, in memory of Jim Corbett. Project Tiger, India's ambitious conservation program to save the tiger and its habitat was launched from Corbett in 1973. In 1991 the area of the reserve was enlarged to its present area, with a large buffer area coming under the direct control of the Field Director.

1.3 How to get there


Map of Corbett Tiger Reserve

The headquarters of the Corbett Tiger Reserve are located in the town of Ramnagar, District Nainital. Ramnagar is a town located on the south-eastern boundary of the reserve. It is conveniently accessible from Delhi via Moradabad and Kashipur. There is a train route to Ramnagar with a convenient train called the Ranikhet Express which leaves the Old Delhi Railway Station at 2300 and reaches Ramnagar at 0445 the next morning. Bus services to Ramnagar are available from Delhi/Moradabad/Kashipur. Both private and government run services are available. Hotel accommodation is available at Ramnagar. A Tourist Lodge is available adjacent to the Project Tiger complex. A number of private operators run retreats with comprehensive facilities which include room, board, transportation and wildlife guides. Most of these retreats are located a few kilometres beyond Ramnagar on the Ranikhet road. STD/ISD telephones, medical and grocery facilities are also available at Ramnagar.

1.4 Entry formalities

Daytime visitors are permitted to travel only in the Bijrani sector of the National Park. Day permits are issued at the Ramnagar office starting from 0800. Overnight visitors to Corbett require an entry permit as well as reserved accommodation in one of the Guest Houses. Advance reservations for overnight visitors can be made at the Field Director's office in Ramnagar subject to availability. You are strongly advised to book in advance to avoid disappointment. You can do this by getting in touch with the Field Director by mail.

1.5 Where to stay

Accommodation is available at 24 Rest houses in the Reserve including Bijrani, Gairal, Sultan, Sarpduli, Khinnanauli, Dhikala, Lohachaur and Halduparao. Accommodation at some of the Rest Houses can be booked at Kotdwar. Dhikala is the largest tourist complex and houses a magnificent library. A visit to Dhikala is a must for first time visitors. Elephant rides through the forest for viewing wildlife are available at Dhikala, reputed to have the highest density of tigers in the world. Tourist pressures are high at Dhikala and it might be worthwhile to visit other locations that are as rewarding for the nature enthusiast, and much less crowded.

1.6 Flora of the Reserve

Corbett's floral diversity is mind boggling. In association with bhabar about 110 species of trees, 51 species of shrubs, 27 species of climbers and 33 species of bamboo and grass are found. The dominant species of tree is Sal Shorea robusta which is found over 75 % of the total area. In a few areas pure stands of sal are found. Trees like Haldu Adina cardifolia, pipal Ficus religiosa, Rohini Mallotus philipensis and mango Mangifera indica are also commonly found. Sheesham Dalbergia sissoo is found along the Ramganga river. Weeds such as Lantana sp. have overrun many parts of the forest and are a major nuisance.

1.7 Fauna of the Reserve

Great faunal diversity is found in Corbett because of its varied climate and habitats, abundant food sources and shelter and protection from human disturbance for over half a century. A list of species reported from Corbett includes 582 species of birds, 26 species of reptiles, 7 species of amphibians and 50 species of mammals.

Our encounter with the cat family was restricted to a chance spotting of a leopard at Halduparao. We found tiger pugmarks, scat and parts of a sambar kill by a tiger near Halduparao. We found no evidence of any other member belonging to the cat family.

The Deer family representatives at Corbett gave us many pleasurable sightings. Barking Deer were seen at Lohachaur, Gairal and at Halduparao. Sambar were sighted at Lohachaur, Kanda and Halduparao. Chital were spotted all over the Reserve.

Wild Pig were spotted by us at Lohachaur, Gairal, and Halduparao. Corbett's wild pigs are huge, probably due to the abundant food supply. Boars have been known to tip the scales at an imposing 100 kg.

At Lohachaur, we frequently spotted troops of langurs around the Mandal river. Rhesus macaques were also spotted by us in this region. Langurs were seen everywhere, but Rhesus macaques were not very common.

Gharial were seen by those who went to Crocodile Bank near Gairal. Jackals were spotted near the Halduparao Guest House. Elephants (always lone tuskers) were seen at Halduparao and at Hathikund.

Useful Addresses:

  1. Field Director, Project Tiger, Corbett Tiger Reserve, Ramnagar, Nainital District, Uttar Pradesh 244715 Tel: (05946) 85489, Res: 85376 Fax: (05946) 85376
  2. Corbett Birdwatching Programme Corbett Tiger Reserve, Ramnagar, Nainital District, Uttar Pradesh 244715 Fax: (05946) 85376
  3. Oriental Bird Club 101/4 Kaushalya Park, Hauz Khas New Delhi 110016. Tel: 011 660607/6961520 Fax: 011 6864614

  4. Email: biks@giasdl01.vsnl.net.in
  5. Bombay Natural History Society, Hornbill House, Dr. Salim Ali Chowk, Mumbai 400023. Telegrams: HORNBILL Tel: (022) 243421, 243869, 244085
  6. Wildlife Secretary, Student's Gymkhana, Indian Institute of Technology, Powai, Mumbai 400076.
  7. Yogesh Wadadekar I-1,Rajat, 968/20 S. Bapat Rd, Pune 411016. Tel: 91 20 5657527
1cm

References

  1. Nature Reserves of the Himalaya and the mountains of Central Asia, IUCN 1993, pp 170-176. Extremely Useful Article
  2. Bedi R., Corbett National Park, Clarion Books, Delhi, 1984.
  3. Dillon Ripley S and Ali S. , Pictorial Guide to the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent, BNHS, 1995.
  4. Dr. Kumar, Girish, Land of Roar and Trumpet, Sanctuary, Sept.-Oct. 1994.
  5. Corbett National Park: A Golden Jubilee Celebration 1936-1986, Corbett Tiger Reserve, 1986.
  6. Sinclair et al, Insight Guide to Indian Wildlife, Insight guides, 1990.
  7. Corbett Jim, Man Eaters of Kumaon, Oxford University Press.
  8. Brochure, Corbett National Park: Rest Houses and Facilities
  9. Brochure, Corbett Tiger Reserve: Rate List 1996-97
  10. Grewal and Sahgal, Birds of Corbett Tiger Reserve, Oriental Bird Club, 1996.

A FLORAL AND FAUNAL LIST

Only species observed by us have been listed. The complete Checklist is much bigger and may be found elsewhere [in Reference 10, for birds]. The numerals preceding the name of the bird refers to the species/subspecies numbers as given in Dillon Ripley's A synopsis of the birds of India and Pakistan. This should remove all ambiguity and facilitate easy reference. It should be noted that only the birdlist is fairly complete. Birds listed as seen at Rathuadhab also include birds seen on the way to Kanda. Birds listed for Halduparao include birds seen at Hathikund. The butterfly and plant lists are extremely sketchy and incomplete because of our shortcomings in identification & our preoccupation with birds.

A.1 BIRDS

Key
 
L, R, H Seen at Lohachaur, Rathuadhab and Halduparao respectively
Extremely Common: seen on almost every outing
2 Common: seen about 5 times a day
3 Seen more than once but not common 
4 Seen only once
 
29 Darter Anhinga rufa H4
38  Little Green Heron Ardeola striatus R3
42 Pond Heron Ardeota grayii R1 H2
161 Crested Hawk Eagle Spizaetus cirrhatus H4
164 Booted Hawk Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus H4
174 Pallas Fishing Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla H3
177 Himalayan Greyheaded Fishing Eagle Ichthyophaga nana H4
179 Cinerous Vulture Aegypius monachus L4
196 Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela cheela L2 R4
222 Kestrel Falco tinnunculus L4
238 Black Partridge Francolinus francolinus L3 R2
293 Kaleej Pheasant Lophura leucomelana R3 H3
299 Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus L1 R2 H1
311 Common Peafowl Pavo cristatus L1 R1 H1
366 Redwattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus R1 H2
369 Spurwinged Lapwing Vanellus spinosus L1 H1
493 Pintailed Green Pigeon Treron apicauda H2
516 Blue Rock Pigeon Columba livia L1 R2
529 Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur R1 H1
531 Rufous Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis L2
534 Indian Ring Dove Streptopelia decaocto R2
537 Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis L1 H1
542 Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica R3
545 Alexandrine Parakeet Psittacula eupatria H2
549 Roseringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri H3
557 Blossomheaded Parakeet Psittacula cyanocephala L1 R1 H1
573  Common Hawk Cuckoo Cuculus varius L1 R1 H1
717 Himalayan Pied Kingfisher Ceryle lugubris L2 R3 H2
719 Lesser Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis H2
722 Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis R1 H2
722 Storkbilled Kingfisher Peragopis capensis H2
736 Whitebreasted Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis L2 R1 H1
744 Chestnutheaded Beeater Merops leschenaulti L2 H2
748 Bluetailed Beeater Merops philippinus H2
750 Green Beeater Merops orientalis R1 H2
755  Indian Roller Coricias benghalensis L2 R2 H2
758 Broadbilled Roller Eurystomus orientalis L3 H2
763 Hoopoe Upopa Epops R3
767 Common Grey Hornbill Tockus birostris H1
774 Indian Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros malabaricus H2
776 Great Pied Hornbill Buceros bicornis L3 H3
777 Great Hill Barbet Megalaima virens L3 H3
783 Lineated Barbet Megalaima lineata L1 H1
788 Bluethroated Barbet Megalaima asiatica L1 R1
792 Crimsonbreasted Barbet Megalaima haemacephala H3
809  Blacknaped Green Woodpecker Picus canus H3
819 Lesser Goldenbacked Woodpecker Dinopium benghalense L2
865 Longtailed Broadbill Psarisomus dalhousiae R4
953 Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus L3
958 Blackheaded Oriole Oriolus xanthornus L2 H3
962 Black Drongo Dicrurus adsimilis L1 R1 H1
965 Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus L2
971 Bronzed Drongo Dicrurus aeneus L3
987 Greyheaded Myna Sturnus malabaricus H1
996 Rosy Pastor Sturnus roseus R3
1006 Common Myna Acridotheres tristis L1 R1 H1
1009 Jungle Myna Acridotheres fuscus L1 R1 H2
1027 Redbilled Blue Magpie Cissa erythrorhyncha L3 R2
1037 Himalayan Tree Pie Dendrocitta formosae L2 R2 H2
1054 Jungle Crow Corvus macrohynchos L1 R1 H1
1080 Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus flammeus L3 H3
1090 Small Minivet Pericrocotus cinnamomeus L3 R3
1115 Blackcrested Yellow Bulbul Pycnonotus melanicterus L3 H3
1118 Redwhiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocusus L2
1125 Whitecheeked Bulbul Pycnonotus leucogenys L1 R1 H1
1131 Redvented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer L3 R3 H3
1147 Browneared Bulbul Hypispetes flavalus L1 R1
1148 Black Bulbul Hypispetes madasgacariensis L1 R1
1265 Jungle Babbler Turdoides striatus R3 H3
1283 Whitecrested Laughing Thrush Garrulax leucolophus L2 R2 H2
1374 Blackchinned Yuhina Yuhina nigrimenta L4
1421 Whitebrowed Blue Flycatcher Muscicapa superciliaris L4
1451 Whitebrowed Fantail Flycatcher Rhipidura aureola R3 H3
1460 Paradise Flycather Terpsiphone paradisi L2 R2
1465 Blacknaped Flycatcher Hypothymis azurea H4
1661 Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis L1 R1 H1
1700 Pied Bush Chat Saxicola caprata R3
1729 Blue Whistling Thrush Myiophonus caeruleus L3 H2
1793 Grey Tit Parus major R2 H2
1884 Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea L4
1891  Large Pied Wagtail Motacilla maderaspatensis L1 R1 H1
1917 Purple Sunbird Nectarinia asiatica R4
1927 Yellowbacked Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja L4
1933 White-Eye Zosterops palpebrosa L3
1938 House Sparrow Passer domesticus R1

A.2 MAMMALS

  1. Chital Axis axis
  2. Elephant Elephas maximus
  3. Wild pig Sus scrofa
  4. Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak
  5. Sambar Cervus unicolor
  6. Tiger (heard) Panthera tigris
  7. Common Langur Presbytis entellus
  8. Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatta
  9. Jackal Canis aureus
  10. Leopard Panthera pardus

A.3 REPTILES

  1. Gharial Gavialis gangeticus
  2. Common Skink Mabuya carinata
  3. Monitor Lizard Varanus bengalensis

A.4 BUTTERFLIES

  1. Common Crow
  2. Plain Tiger
  3. Blue Tiger
  4. Common Sailor
  5. Yellow Sailor
  6. Common Bluebottle
  7. Blue Pansy
  8. Lemon Pansy

A.5 PLANTS

  1. Sal Shorea robusta
  2. Haldu Adina cardifolia
  3. Pipal Ficus religiosa
  4. Kadipatta (Curry Leaf)
  5. Mango Mangifera indica
  6. Mahua
  7. Tendu Diospyros melanoxylon
  8. Awala
  9. Lantana
  10. Sheesham Dalbergia sissoo
  11. Banyan Ficus benghalensis
  12. Teak Tectona grandis
  13. Rohini Mallotus philipensis
NOTE: The list presented above is merely a fraction of Corbett's rich natural heritage that we were able to sample with the limited amount of time (9 days) and knowledge available to us. It should be noted that we could learn so much in spite of having no background in Life Sciences whatsoever. Students of Botany/Zoology would undoubtedly find it easy to multiply the list many fold. We would also state here that we saw a few bird species than we were unable to identify.

B List of Participants

  1. Amey Parandekar
  2. Anup Joshi
  3. K. Harikrishna
  4. K. Srinivasan
  5. Nishant Awasthi
  6. Sandeep Tambe
  7. Sanjeev Dangi
  8. Sheetal Bahl
  9. Sushruti Santhanam
  10. Yogesh Wadadekar

C DAILY LOG

6 May 1997: Reached Ramnagar at 0445 by the Ranikhet Express leaving Old Delhi at 2300 the previous night. Train journey was quite unpleasant because of frequent stops and mosquitoes. Walked to Field Director's (FD) office. Met the FD - Mr. R. C. Gautam at 0800. Our booking at Lohachaur, Rathuadhab and Halduparao had been confirmed. Met The DFO, Kalagarh Tiger Reserve Division, Mr. Samir Sinha later in the day. He gave us a briefing about Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR) and provided us copies with the bird checklist. We left for Lohachaur in a Forest Dept. vehicle at 1430. Rained a little on the way. Saw two female sambar beyond Durgadevi. Reached Lohachaur around 1630. Went birdwatching on the Lohachaur Maidavan road. Saw a pair of Great Pied Hornbills sitting and in flight.

7 May: Some of us went for tiger census with the Forest guards. Rest of us went on short trails around the guest house. Spent the afternoon doing photography on Lohachaur Maidavan road. At night barking deer heard just behind rest house. Tried to enter the forest to find it. Unsuccessful.

8 May: Almost everyone walked to Gairal. Hari and Bahl walked all the way to Maidavan to buy biscuits. Those who went to Gairal saw chital, sambar, wild pig, barking deer, gharial (at Crocodile Bank). Tambe and myself walked to Domunda and back. Lots of birds on return journey. Great Hill Barbet, Scarlet Minivet, Broadbilled Roller, Lesser Goldenbacked Woodpecker to name a few.

9 May: Left for Maidavan by bus. Bus was quite crowded. On the way, the last crossing of the river Mandal before Maidavan looked tense. All of us got of the bus and did some shramdaan, putting in logs and stones into the river so that that the bus would not plunge into the river. After 30 minutes of hard bridge building the job was done. Had lunch at Maidavan. While getting onto the Maidavan Kothdwar bus, we discovered that our utensils had been left behind in the previous bus, which had already departed for Panaas. Left a message at a shop in Maidavan to offload our sack when the bus returned the next day. Reached Rathuadhab at about 3 p.m. Beautiful Rest House not far from the river, which did not have much water. Rathuadhab is a fair sized village. No electricity except for some scattered solar panels. Went birdwatching near the river. 3 species of Kingfisher and Little Green Heron. Turtle doves seen everywhere. I saw Redbilled Blue Magpie clearly for the first time on this trip. Sooty flycatchers are extremely common and very bold. Amazingly beautiful cloud formations after sunset. Ate dinner at an old woman's shop who had sort of adopted Hari. Skies very clear.

10 May: All of us except Bahl and Dangi left for a trek to Kanda. To walk one has to walk for 3 kms along the Rathuadhab Maidavan road and then climb uphill for 7 km. Jeepable road right to the top. Kanda Rest House is located right at the top of the ridge. Scenic views of the Dhikala chaur, Ramganga river and Reservoir, the Paterpani ridge as well as a few snow covered peaks at the extreme western end of the Nanda Devi Trishul range. Walking up took about 2 hours. Rest house is the best maintianed amongst those seen by us. Ate Milkmaid and groundnuts for lunch. On a hill near the Rest house a Sardarji from Delhi has constructed an imposing bungalow. Started walking back at about 4 p.m. Lots of birds on the way. Longtailed Broadbill was the major attraction. Whitebrowed Flycatcher, Large Yellowcrested Woodpecker, Paradise Flycatcher, Kaleej Pheasant. Saw Comet Hale-Bopp near the western horizon at sunset. Reached Rathuadhab at 2015. The vessels had arrived. Dangi and Bahl had gone to Maidavan to get them. Shruti had arrived from Delhi via Ramnagar and Maidavan. Dinner at the same place.

11 May Birdwatching trip in the morning. Bluethroated Barbet, Purple sunbird. Breakfast of tea, omelettes and biscuits. Bought some rice, biscuits and sweets for the stay at Halduparao. Bus to Vatanvasa at 0830. Reached Vatanvasa at 0920. Left for Halduparao with Forest guard. 9 km. of easy trekking. Plain river is crossed three times on the route. Halduparao Guest House is located on a ridge just above the Plain river. The river is hardly a foot deep here. Ideal for bathing. Mr. Samir Sinha, the DFO came in the afternoon. Some of us set out with him on a tiger trail after he heard the alarm call of a sambar. Tiger growl heard but tiger was not seen. On 8 May when walking near Halduparao, for some tiger census work, he had spotted a tigress with 3 cubs all at one place. Did birdwatching just sitting on the machan nearby in the evening. 21 species seen in about 1 hour. Pintailed Green Pigeon, Lineated Barbet, Alexandrine Parakeet, Greyheaded Myna, Himalayan Greyheaded Fishing Eagle and more. Saw about 50 Grey Hornbills crossing the river at dusk. Chital calls close by after dark.

12 May: Walked with forest Guard in Tiger country, west and north- west of the Guest House. Extensive grasslands covered with Cannabis sativa. Saw Crested Hawk Eagle, Darter, Crested Serpent Eagle and a nest of a Redwattled Lapwing with three eggs. Lots of tiger pugmarks. Near a sot saw some tiger scat. A little ahead was a broken leg of a sambar lying beside its thigh bone. The leg was very fresh. The bone marrow inside had not even dried yet. The kill must have been made the previous night. The forest guards made some effort to track down the tiger but were not successful. Further ahead saw a sambar carcass rotting on the stream bed. This was an old kill, probably more than a month old. Further ahead saw pugmarks of the tigress with the 3 cubs. While returning saw Blackheaded Oriole, Chestnutheaded Beeeater, Blackcrested Yellow Bulbul. I slept on the machan at night along with Anup. Lots of calls. Nightjars flying on the river bed could be tracked with our torches. Night calls included chital, longtailed nightjar, an unidentified nightjar like call and occasionally Brainfever Bird. Also heard some very strange calls which were probably langur. Milky Way in Scorpius and Sagittarius was magnificent in the early morning.

13 May: We split into smaller groups. Tambe led one group on a tiger chase. They spotted two tuskers up close. No tiger though. Myself and Anup saw all the kingfisher species and a Booted Hawk Eagle. Also an unidentified Harrier. Hari and Shruti were sitting on the river bed a short distance upstream from the Rest House. Hari was busy watching a herd of chital grazing on the hillside on one of the banks. He pointed out the chital to Shruti. After looking at the chital for a few seconds, Shruti hearda rustle behind her. She turned around and there about 50 feet away on the river bed was a full grown leopard. It got up and walked away up the slope on the other side of the river. She saw the leopard for about 30 seconds but she was too scared to draw Hari's attention to it. Hari was still looking at the chital. After it disappeared she found voice and told Hari about it. Hari wanted to know where it was but by then it had climbed up the hill on the opposite bank and he was unable too see it. That evening we went on a trail in the same area, but saw nothing interesting except for a Blue Whistling Thrush. Slept on the machan again. It rained at night so we had to rush back to the Rest House.

14 May: We decided to go and visit a Gujjar settlement called Hathikund about 10 km from Halduparao. Steep climb followed by a flat walk and another steep climb. There is a small Shiv temple here with a a great view of the chaur at Hathikund. Water available at a small waterhole nearby. An hour's descent followed by a short flat walk brought us to the Gujjar settlement. There are only three houses here where three related families live. There are a few more houses on the other side of the Sonanadi river. These people's sole source of income is from the milk and milk products they sell. They own large numbers of buffaloes which graze all day in the surrounding grassland. Lots of Bluetailed Beeaters and Scavenger vultures nearby. Drank Lassi and slept. 5 of us Srini, Hari, Tambe, Shruti and I stayed back for the night with the Gujjars, while the others returned to Halduparao. In the evening, suddenly someone spotted an elephant about 150 m away in a small ravine near the Gujjar's hut. Tambe, myself and Hari and one of the Gujjars chased the elephant for about a kilometre and tracked it to a sot. Tambe took some close up photographs. It was a lone tusker, not very big. The Gujjars say that this particular elephant visits them often. Saw some chital. Ssw the same elephant from a great distance on the Hathikund chaur a little after sunset. Many interesting ideas came up while talking with the Gujjars. Good dinner of dal, roti and milk. Slept under the stars on a wooden platform outside the Gujjars hut.

15 May: Took some photographs of the Gujjars in the morning. Left for Haldu at 0800. It was really hot on the way back. Srini and Hari saw a heard of sambar including a male with antlers. Reached Halduparao at 1200. Slept in the afternoon. In the evening, Awasthi and Dangi went on a trail across the river. The were standing at the junction of the road to Cheeta Nala and the Haldu Vatanvasa Road. Suddenly they heard a rustle on the Cheeta Nala road and saw a big cat advancing along the road towards them. They were too scared to move. The cat looked like a leopard but it was light brown in color and had no spots. It stopped when it was about 100 m. away, because it saw them standing on the road. It then slunk off into the forest. They picked up a couple of sticks and some courage and walked down the road. They heard a rustle and a leopard like growl very close. They ran back. I did some photography in a river bed behind the Rest House. Ate our last dinner in the wild. Fantastic pithla and khichadi made by Anup.

16 May: Started trekking to Vatanvasa at 0630. Reached at 0830. Left by bus at 0930. Almost all of us were on the roof as it was too crowded below. Reached Kothdwar at 1200. Went on to Haridwar and Rishikesh to reach Delhi the next morning.


Map of Corbett Tiger Reserve The guest houses we visited are circled in red

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