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- The Making &
  Other Miscellanea



A FOREST EXPERIENCE

Don’t talk inside a forest. If you must, do so only in whispers. Don’t move, sit silently. Follow these simple rules and the forest will come alive for you. Keep binoculars handy; you’re wasting your time in a forest without them. Animals never come close, but a pair of binoculars makes them life size, as if you can reach out and touch them. Keep a bird book with you and train your binoculars on any birds you see. Forests have the most breathtakingly beautiful birds. If you work at it, bird watching can develop into a pastime that will enrich your life forever.

Animals and birds are doubtless the main draw of a forest, but there is more. No forest experience is complete without absorbing the peace and tranquility of a wilderness area. Imagine the absence of the rumble of traffic, of the bustle of humanity, of the drone of engines and motors that run our world. Take in instead the rustle of the wind through the trees, the call of birds and animals, and the serenity of a forest. Understand what primal human beings enjoyed and what cities and civilisation have robbed us of – the grandeur of nature.


TIGER SIGHTING

A sighting of a tiger in a forest is an event no one forgets. There is sheer majesty in the animal’s movement. It shuffles with a noticeable swagger, exuding the carelessness of a creature who knows he is the ruler of all he surveys. My remembrance of my first sighting was a vision of strength, grace, nobility and also of a fear that struck at my very heart.


THE MAKING Ranthambore Adventure

This book isn’t just about tigers. It is about the forest and all the creatures that live in its embrace. Wilderness areas can be truly beautiful, and it is the wilderness experience that I want to captivate my readers with.

Who will protect our wilderness areas in the future? It is you, the YOUNG-ISTAN of today. It is your generation that will soon be entrusted with the preservation of our forests and wildlife. The purpose of this story is to create a connection between YOUNG-ISTAN and the natural world and hopefully generate a compassion for all things wild.


GEOGRAPHY of Ranthambore




When you turn off from the Sawai Madhopur highway on to a narrow road leading to Ranthambore National Park you are driving in a semi-desert zone. There are only bushes and degraded land around you. The last thing you would expect in such a bleak landscape is a forest, but a short distance later, after motoring through a pass between low-lying hills, you are confronted by a living, thriving forest.

The rocky hillsides inside the park are thickly forested with dhok trees. The valleys Ė deep gashes in the land Ė are wilderness areas of the highest quality. There are lakes inside and far above, as if guarding the park, rises an ancient fort that towers above all else.


Sawai Madhopur station (on the Mumbai – Delhi line) is only 13 kilometres from Ranthambore Game Park and Jaipur (accessed by car) is 160 kms distant.

Why SAVE THE TIGER?

Why save tigers? Arenít they just beasts? Donít they kill
humans? What use are they anyway to the human race?
This is some of the reasoning one comes up against
during debates on saving the tiger. Well, here are some
responses:

The earth doesnít belong to humankind alone. It never
did and it never will. Our planet is home equally to all
forms of life. There is an intricate web that connects all life.
We are each dependent on one another. If we hack plants and trees
down, oxygen will deplete in our atmosphere resulting in the suffocation
and death of oxygen-loving species like us. It works the other way too, that is
if oxygen-loving species like ours are killed off, then plants will find it hard to
get the carbon dioxide they need to survive. All living species are connected in the web of life. The more species you have, the greater is the biodiversity and more intricate the web, which results in a better and healthier planet.

The tiger is no ordinary species of animal. It sits at the top of the food chain. If you take the tiger out of the food chain it results in a serious species imbalance. In a forest without tigers the number of deer multiply unchecked, as there is no animal to kill them and control their numbers. This results in too many deer. The excess deer quickly eat up all the grass and soon there isnít enough. The deer and other species that require grass begin to die. If there are tigers this wonít happen. They will control the deer and the forest will have plenty of grass and therefore will be healthier.

In fact, the tiger is called an indicator species. Wildlife scientists judge the health of a forest by the number of tigers it has. The more the tigers the healthier the forest is what they say. For a forest to have a large number of tigers there obviously has to be a large number of herbivores (deer, antelope and other grass eating animals). If there arenít a lot of deer the tiger cannot survive. To support so many deer there has to be a lot of grass, plenty of trees and a lot of water. A lot of grass, lots of trees, lots of deer and other herbivores, and plenty of water, means a healthy forest. So, in this way the tiger is an indicator species Ė many tigers equals healthy forest.