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All creatures great and small

With a bouquet of destinations, Jungle Lodges and Resorts Ltd. is well placed to cater to an equally wide array of interests and expectations.  Each destination located in unique settings is special in its own right.

Be it the Kabini River Lodge, the flagship property of JLR and the very first or the more recent Dubare Elephant Camp, each one has something unique on offer; this being largely due to the different geographical locations in which each of them is sited. The locations vary from the banks of rivers to the backwaters of dams; from riparian to deciduous forests; from the beach to hill stations. Naturally, one can expect a great deal of diversity in vegetation. Consequently, the fauna dependent on them will also be very diverse.

Placid and serene River Cauvery during the drier months at Dubare.

Many of the destinations of Jungle Lodges are known for the charismatic megafauna viz. the elephant, tiger, leopard, sloth bear and other large mammals.  Seeing one of these is invariably on the top of the list for most visitors. Properties like the Kabini River Lodge, Bandipur Safari Lodge, K.Gudi Wilderness Camp often satisfy such desires. Talking about mammals, it is extremely important to mention some of the rare mammal species that are often seen while at JLR; primarily because these are not charismatic and few are aware of the existence of such creatures. Take for instance the Indian Tree Shrew which is seen frequently at the K.Gudi Wilderness Camp; in fact, it was reported from here for the first time for Karnataka. The Grizzled Giant Squirrel is another endangered species and is often seen around two of the camps situated on the River Cauvery – Bheemeshwari and Galibore. Or for that matter the shy Four-horned Antelope that is seen from time to time in the environs of these two camps.

 

Bandipur landscape

However, what many people do not realise is that all properties of JLR are rich in birdlife. A visit to any of the properties almost guarantees a good birding session. When in pursuit of birds which is a much larger and diverse group, the sighting of the megafauna can come in as a bonus making the trip a more memorable and enjoyable one. Several interesting and endangered bird species can be seen. If you happen to be at the Kali Adventure Camp, Dandeli or the Old Magazine House, Ganesh Gudi there is a good chance of seeing all the four species of south Indian hornbills there. This is besides several specialities like the Crimsonfronted Barbet, Rubythroated Bulbul, Fairy Bluebird, Malabar Whistling Thrush, and the like.

If you are visiting the River Tern Lodge, Bhadra during summer you will be treated to the mass nesting of the graceful Indian River Terns. The Small Indian Pratincoles also nest alongside the terns on the islands created by decreasing water levels of the dam. Watching them going about their routine can be quite a treat as can be their flying skills. The Whitebellied Sea Eagle has been reported from Kali Adventure Camp, Dandeli and River Tern Lodge, Bhadra on several occasions. But, it is best seen and appreciated at the Devbagh Beach Resort. Some good time spent on the beach is sure to be rewarded.

In spite of its proximity to the city and the pressures Bannerghatta National Park experiences it still boasts in excess of 200 species of birds as do most of the destinations. While the environs of the Dubare Elephant Camp by virtue of being part of the Western Ghats has on offer interesting species like the Greyheaded Bulbul, Racket-tailed Drongo, minivets, nuthatches, etc.

Besides birds, one can see a plethora of organisms in all the properties - be it the crabs and barnacles in Devbagh, the tiny translucent fresh water jellyfish at Bhadra, the jumping ants at Kabini or the mahseer at Galibore.

Jumping Ant

It could be spiders that rely on camouflage or those that surprise their prey; it may be those that look like a bird dropping to those that mimic a scorpion! Being the largest group of organisms, insects are omnipresent; the group that most of us would warm up to immediately are butterflies and these can be seen everywhere. During a stroll through some of our properties one can chance upon some stunning butterflies like the Southern Birdwing (the largest among all Indian butterflies), Blue Mormon, Silverline, Common Pierrot, Crimson Rose, Grass Jewel (smallest Indian butterfly), etc. Similarly, one can see beetles, praying mantids, grasshoppers, ants, cicadas, crickets, and many more fascinating creatures which are often dubbed ‘creepy crawlies'.

Jumping Spider

If one has the inclination, there is a host of creatures big and small that can be seen in all JLR properties. One can also try and understand the intricate relationships they share with other organisms (both plants and animals) that share the same space. They are all there waiting to be discovered. So, look beyond the charismatic megafauna and any place will come alive! This will not only make your trip more enjoyable, but also more meaningful and educative.

Karthikeyan

Karthikeyan S. is the Chief Naturalist at Jungle Lodges & Resorts Ltd.



Anand
Brilliant Write-up. Very inviting and illustrative...
Posted on 9/25/13 1:33 PM.
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