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Thread: BRT Wild Life Sanctuary-Abode of the Gods-A feb visit 2014

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    Default BRT Wild Life Sanctuary-Abode of the Gods-A feb visit 2014

    1.The Biligirirangaswamy Temple Wild Life Sanctuary, which was declared a Tiger Sanctuary in 2010, spreads over about 539sq km of a very unique ecosystem which connects the Eastern and Western Ghat systems. It comprises the ranges of Biligiri Rangaswamy and Male Mahadeshwara range running north to south in the Deccan plateau, which forms an important link between both the ghat system, and carries features unique to both.

    2 It is about 215 km from Bangalore and the approach is via Kanakpura, Malavalli, Kollegal, Yellandur. From Mysore the route is through Chamrajnagar and the distance is about 90 km.

    3. BR Hills lies about 4000ft above sea level between the Cauvery and Kapila rivers in the Chamrajnagar district. It is the home to a variety of flora and fauna. There are an estimated no of 17 tigers, elephants, leopards, gaur, sloth bears, wild dogs and the giant flying squirel. Besdes it is home to 270 birds of which 210 are migrant species. These forests play a unique role of creating a living bridge and bringing about diversity in the gene pool of the flora and fauna of the two Ghat systems.

    4. The Biligirirangaswamy temple is located on the highest point of the BR range and occupies a pivotal place in the lives of the local Sholiga tribe. The foothills of the range are covered by scanty shrubs while the heights are characterized by thick deciduous forests.

    5. It was a rarely visited forest till the Karnataka State Govt made one of its resorts right in the middle of the sanctuary and gave visitors a rare in house experience of undiluted wilderness. The resort consists of tents perched on the mountainsides. During the day the air resounded with the calls of innumerable avian species and the night was rent by the calls of Sambhar warning us that a predator was on the move. We were often awakened by the sounds of wild hogs and chital foraging in the darkness right outside our tent. Leopards, Samhar, and muntjac have been sighted in the very premises of the resort.

    6. Safaris were a unique experience in the sense that the tracks were balanced on steep mountainsides,so that we saw animals either fleeing up or disappearing down into thick deciduous forests or coffee plantations of local tribes. Photographing them was quite a matter of luck. We saw plenty of birds, muntjac, gaur and slothbear. The sloth bear experience was very frustrating in the sense as we just missed them three times.
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    Default A surprise sighting around a Picturesque Bend

    Mother Gaur followed by her calf
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    Default A Gaur calf caught on the wrong side of the track

    Not too happy with our presence
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    Default Muntjac--Well developed canines

    I saw this fine specimen tiptoeing around the resort premises.According to S.H.Prater-The upper canines of the male are well developed and are used by the animals in self defence.
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    Default Wild Boar

    The wild boar seemed to be more slim and streamlined then their counterparts in Corbett.
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    Default Another Gaur

    Struggling up a steep hillside.
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    Default Criss Cross of Antlers

    Sambhar and Chital
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    Default The face of BR Hills

    The elusive Muntjac
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    Default Sloth Bear!

    Now you see me and now you don't!
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    Default A Surprise Rendezvous

    Malabar Whistling Thrush
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    Default A Lone Sentinel -Crested Serpent Eagle

    Keeping vigil over one of the many lakes and ponds that are unique to BR Hills.
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    Default One of the innumerable water bodies

    These were all still replete with water from the unseasonal rains.
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    Default Tree Cancer ?

    There were quite a few trees which seemed to be so afflicted.
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    Nicely written 'Tales of a Jungle'. Ably supported by photographs of major fauna as also some glances into the habitat. I like the image of male Kakkar with such formidable canines ( not exactly fixed but slightly movable) in the upper jaw capable of inflicting deep wounds.
    Thanks for sharing.SaktiWild

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    Nice details of one of the lesser known sanctuaries of South India. Nagarhole, Bandipur-Mudumalai, Topslip-Parambikulam and BRT top the list in this part of the globe for Wilderness circuits (though others like Valparai, Munnar, Satyamangalam, Idukki, Kallakad Mundanthurai etc are options, they are not as well organized as these).

    BRT has always been know for its high concentration of Muntjac's and one of the higher percentiles of Predator to Area (Sq KM). In the recent past till he was shot dead, the area around BRT was prime territory of the dreaded bandit Veerapan. In fact, MM Hills and BRT hills were home to his family deities and he spread terror in that area. Hence BRT actually took a back seat on the wildlife and tourism fronts until he was eliminated.

    Of late, quite a few resorts and home-stays have sprung at at BRT (like Gorukana etc which are nice ones). However, these are situated at the entrance to the forests and you will need to drive all the way to JLR for the Safari, but the drive in itself is an experience as well. JLR BRT has traditionally been a Wildlife photographer friendly place and most of their senior naturalists are accomplished photographers as well - a rare combination.

    Thanks to Shyamala for putting up a lovely photo blog of the wilderness at BRT.

    Sabyasachi, Mrudul: Another nice nomination for the next Indiawilds meet ? :-)

    regards
    Rajan

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    Default

    Nice account of BR Hills. Unlike other places one can feel the wilderness in BR Hills. Last time when I came out of my tent, a deer came pretty close and then started pushing me. My phone died else there was some funny video I had clicked.

    If members want then we can certainly have a meet at BR Hills may be in winter when the Malabar whistling thrush gives a loud and lovely morning wake up call.
    Cheers,
    Sabyasachi

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