Monday, April 21, 2014

Marsh crocodile Also known as mugger this is a broad-snouted crocodile that lives in shallow slow moving water in rivers, lakes and reservoirs or in marshes. Adults are grey-brown reach 4-5 in length and have a diet of larger fish amphibian birds and mammals usually monkeys but occasionally deer and buffalo during the dry season crocodile sometimes dig burrows for shelter and even migrate several kilometers across dry land to find butter habitat.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Spectacled Cobra (Indian Cobra)

Snakes have a powerful hold over the human imagination. The first reaction most people have when they encounter one is fear. The fear of snakes, Ophidiophobia, can be conquered by knowledge. The vast majority of snakes are completely harmless to humans. Even those that are dangerous hardly ever attack unless provoked. The more we learn about these creatures, the more fascinating they become. Snakes are highly evolved predators, perfectly adapted for the lives that they lead. Some hunt in trees, some on the ground and others in the sea.

Spectacled Cobra (Indian Cobra)
Active by day and by night, the cobra is one of India’s most common snakes. A good swimmer, this snake is seen in trees and fields and near streams, rock piles and granaries.

The villages around Mount Abu

A nomad's campsite
The villages around Mount Abu are a snapshot in time. People still live in the traditional manner growing their own food and producing Rajasthani traditional shoes and clothes. Special features include the Rajasthan sand pot, the Marvadi turban, and corn chapatis and curries that are delicious to eat. Houses are still standing from the 13th century. Ghee is still churned by hand, and wheat is picked and milled freshly for the renowned Rajasthan roti. Mustard is grown for oil and for seeds. Many children will follow you around and play. A heart warming experience.
However these villages are often trapped in a cycle of poverty. Children are malnourished, contact with the outside world is limited and it is impossible for villagers to directly sell their produce. For the villages we visit, the treks provide an additional source of income for things like new wells and education.
    This is Trevor Tank, a local wildlife sanctuary that was established in the 1960's. Its purpose was preserve the local flora and fauna, which is still a goal today.
    This picture was taken on a tractor with the villagers. We had to travel by tractor because the roads were not conducive to regular automobiles and it enabled us to take a closer look at shepherd life in villages surrounding Mt Abu.
    This picture is of the Katchhi people from Gujarat (south-west of Rajasthan) migrating to the villages for food for their camels.
    During our tour of the local village, we experienced women making purified butter from buffalo and cow. Locals call this "ghee." Our group had the opportunity to churn the butter with the villagers and were welcomed to participate in the daily chores.

Wild date palm sylvestreis