After coffee and cake it was time to leave on our evening safari to the East Buffer Zone. The first time we had been there. This zone had more interaction with the local village and because of this had encountered problems. With Tigers, Leopards, and Dhole crossing the river and attacking the local cattle. The Dhole have also mixed with the local villagers’ dogs and passed on rabies.
The villagers themselves now have a restricted use of the trees in the forest as they have started to destroy the habitat by taking too much wood. To help solve the issues its proposed that the villagers are going to be relocated, both for their protection and that of the buffer zone habitat. It’s hoped that they will be relocated to a similar farming environment to minimize disruption and change to their lifestyle. As with other relocation in the Indian reserves they will receive compensation.
East Buffer Zone
On the way into the zone we had a brief distant glimpse of a Black Buck and an Indian Gazelle walked through the undergrowth near a water hole. An Oriental Honey Buzzard and Jungle Owlet sat in a tree, as a Drongo and a Rufous Treepie prepared to roost for the night. A Nightjar sat roosting in a nearby tree. Jungle Babblers came down to the waters edge for a drink.
As the light started to fade a male Muntjac appeared cautiously out of the forest and headed to the waterhole. We watched as it headed down the slope to the waters edge for a drink. This small forest deer is also known as the Barking Deer due to its warning call sounding like a dog’s bark. It has short unbranched antlers and has a reddish brown coat colour. The bony ridge on its forehead gives it a masked look. Only the male has antlers. Although these deer are common in Central India they are hard to see because of their small size and ability to blend into the undergrowth. The Muntjac we have in the UK is the Reeves’s Muntjac an introduced species and looks slightly different to the Indian Muntjac.
After leaving the Muntjac we headed back along the trail, spotlighting the forest edges. Very small spots of light twinkled in the light, they were the eyes of wolf spiders. Suddenly a movement and eyeshine reflected in the spotlight along the forest track caught our eye.. It was a Jungle Cat out hunting. As we drove towards the park entrance, in a dry river bed, a Palm Civet was scurrying along the bank edge searching for an evening meal.
We left the buffer zone and headed back to the lodge for our evening meal. Tomorrow we would be leaving and going our separate ways but first we had an early morning bird drive at 6.00 a.m.