With nothing to do on a weekend in September, I casually called up Deepa (http://deponti.livejournal.com/) who is the head and the organizer in the group for any activity or walks happening, she informed that we could go to Uganiyam for KANS activity and I readily agreed. I was not aware much about the place or the activity we would be doing until we met the other members of the Kenneth Anderson group on that day morning.
(forest track in the Uganiyam range...)
I had volunteered earlier with KANS for the mammal survey in the Hosur forest division a couple of years ago and have been a fan of Kenneth Anderson and monitoring the activities of the group closely. My cupboard hosts the Kenneth Anderson's books that gives you goosebumps while reading, riveting and involving I should say.
(patterns created by the caterpillars/moths)
The activity was about data collection from the preset camera traps at specified locations in the Uganiyam forests in the Melagiri range that’s along the Cauvery river near the temple of Dabaguli that is infamously famous for the annual “Dabaguli jathra” that happens. From the last few years, members of KANS (Kenneth Anderson Nature Society) camp near the Dabaguli temple area during the mela and ensure the forests are not raided and kept clean by collecting the litter, great job being done!
The reserve forest area we went to is about 130 odd km from Bangalore that is in the Tamil Nadu state and across the shore is the forests that belong to Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary in the Karnataka state. APC’s are located prominently opposite to each other so that patrolling can be done effectively and in co-ordination. The entire Melagiri range is an important elephant corridor and hosts a variety of wildlife (as seen from the camera traps) and also rich in all forms of life. Myself and Deepa went along with the regular KANS members Karthik, George, Prem and Ashish who are doing a tremendous job regularly.
(Luna moth, I had a hard time to figure out the head and the lower part)
The activity involved visiting the traps laid, downloading data from them and relocating them if required and we did this across 4 different locations in the Uganiyam range. Checks of the data collected revealed presence of wild boars, lots of spotted deers, sambar deers, langurs, elephants, leopard and “cattle”. Good amount of promising wildlife but the “cattle” infestation is a problem and yet no signs of the big cat (tiger) so far, but hope remains!
Deepa, as usual was behind all forms of life and now to see, she has made an amazing collection from the outing and I was also behind those lovely butterflies in their migration period as we could see hordes of them all around. The area was full of birdlife too that started on the way and the richness in the Uganiyam range was fantastic.
Sighting of the herd of elephants led by a huge alpha female, otters in the Cauvery river, a juvenile white bellied sea-eagle and the butterfly congregation was the treat for the hard work put in for the day. It was also humbling to see the vast, rich evergreen forests divided by the river Cauvery that flows with grace all along without any human disturbance or talks about border issues; truly the forests and the rivers have no borders or boundaries. Karnataka state on one hand has been more proactive in declaring the area as a wildlife sanctuary while the Tamil Nadu part of the forests is still a reserve area; tremendous efforts are put in by the KANS team to preserve these rich, contiguous forest areas that supports amazing wildlife.
Thanks to George (for that wonderful ride in his jeep), Karthik (I had met him earlier too), Prem, Ashish and Deepa Mohan (for taking me along). Will be back soon!
(Camera trap being opened, picture courtesy Deepa Mohan)
Kenneth Anderson Nature Society can be found here:
KANS - http://kans.org.in/
Yahoo groups - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kennethanderson/
KANS Facebook group -
Deepa’s write up - http://deponti.livejournal.com/936683.html
Deepa’s FB album of Uganiyam - https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151075004538878.448835.587058877&type=3
KANS needs the service of volunteers, donors for their activities, interested people can contact them directly. Save the forests!