Jungle Lodges and Resorts-Naturalists’ Training Program

Jungle Lodges and Resorts , an organization which has been involved with eco-tourism before it became a buzzword, has been conducting Naturalists’ Training Programs, where interested people are introduced to the wonders of wildlife.

The programs occur over a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and are conducted by S.Karthikeyan, Chief Naturalist at JLR. The program concentrates on birdwatching, but other branches of the animal kingdom are also touched upon.

Having taken the course in the past, I decided to attend one session of the latest group, and here are some photographs, all of which were taken on 19th May 2007.

Here’s the venue of the NT Program, the Bannerghatta property of JLR:

JLRNTP 19 May 07 1

And here’s Karthikeyan, affectionately called Karthik by everyone, conducting one session (note the young participant, Aditya…he is still in school!):

JLRNTP..Karthik

Karthik is a most experienced wildlifer himself, having been with WWF for 17 years before taking up the assignment with JLR. He has travelled extensively, and authored many papers and has helped many others with their books on various aspects of wildlife. He takes excellent photographs, but the knowledge that he carries with him is encyclopaedic!

Karhik is fond of saying that it is not just the big cats or the mammals that make up wildlife; everything, to him, is equally important. So I decided that on this post, too, I will show the variety of things one sees with new eyes….

Participants are also taken for rambles on forest trails, and are also taken for the big cat/herbivore/bear safari in a van.

n the safari, One can see several big cats, including an albino tiger, though the one pictured below is a normal-coloured animal:

Tiger, Bannerghatta, 19 May 07

Here’s a lioness, lying peacefully in the shade:

Lioness, Bannerghatta, 19 May 07

This is a sloth bear in the Bear Enclosure; they are shy animals and difficult to spot in the wild:

Sloth bear

On the walking trails, too, one can see many other mammals and birds. Recently, one naturalist spotted a pack of wild dogs (dholes) hunting spotted deer in the Bannerghatta Forest area. Here is one scene where you can see a couple of Nilgai, a Woolly-Necked Stork, and just in front of it, a Red-Wattled Lapwing:

Nilgai, woolly-necked stork

Here’s a Gaur, or a wild bison, drinking at the water body:

Gaur drinking

And this is a Bonnet Macaque:

Bonnet Macaque

Several kinds of birds can be seen at all times of the year; here is a Snake-Bird or Darter, high up in the bamboo thicket. The bamboo is actually the tallest kind of grass in the world!

Darter or Snake Bird

You could see many reptiles and snakes, like this beautiful Rock Agama:

Rpck Agama

Even the trees and plants are important; here are some commonly seen ones…

The Gul Mohar or the May flower, named after the time of year it flowers:

Gul Mohar

The beautiful colours in the new leaves of the Peepul Tree which is a variety of Ficus:

Peepul Tree new leaves (Ficus religiosa)

As one’s eyes are opened to the wonders of Nature, even a fruit is looked at with attention as one passes:

Fruit Bannerghatta Forest

Or these beautiful seed pods on the very common Copper Pod Tree or Copper-Shield Bearer, which, at this time of the year, give the tree its name:

Copper Pod or Copper Shield Bearer

(All the trees are common avenue trees in Bangalore!)

Even this shrub, the White Oleander, which has been domesticated as a garden plant, is interesting. The seeds of this plant are very poisonous!

White oleander

Not even insects will escape one’s notice thereafter…while we were having the session with Karthik, we noticed a wasp making its nest on the curtain of a window in the room. As we watched, fascinated, the wasp made the nest chamber, laid its eggs inside, and then went and brought back worms that it had paralyzed, and put them inside as food for the hatchlings. Here is the nest, you can see the caterpillars inside….

Wasp's nest with Caterpillar Inside Bannerghatta JLR 19 May 07

So truly, the JLR NTP serves to make a participant aware of Nature and wildlife in a way s/he has never been before, and inspire one to do all one can for the preservation of wildlife and our natural resources.

Here is the group that took the course on the 18th,19th and 20th of May 2007:

JLR NTP, May 2007

Here’s hoping that JLR and Karthik continue their good work!

To know more about JLR, click on the name at the beginning of the article, to visit their website.

14 Comments so far

  1. Chitra (unregistered) on May 21st, 2007 @ 5:44 pm

    Thanks for the fantastic write-up! Great info for us, especially to introduce it to our own kids at a later stage. (Too young now!)


  2. Charles Haynes (unregistered) on May 21st, 2007 @ 6:16 pm

    Wow, I want to go!

    BTW all of the Oleander plant is poisonous. The toxin is a cardiac glycoside similar in action to digoxin (digitalis.) Some people say you can die from eating food cooked on oleander wood skewers, but there’s no actual solid evidence. What is clear is that ingesting the plant can kill, especially children.


  3. Prabhu (unregistered) on May 21st, 2007 @ 6:37 pm

    Deepa,
    Excellent write up, and very good photographs.

    Charles,
    Make it two. I too want to go ;) Maybe we should have a metblog meet there ;)


  4. Puttanarasimhaiah (unregistered) on May 21st, 2007 @ 8:04 pm

    Good Write up, thanks for your time deepa


  5. Nimish (unregistered) on May 21st, 2007 @ 9:33 pm

    I spent Sunday (20/May) afternoon/ night at the JLR at Bannerghatta – but did not see any of the photography sessions there.

    Digressing slightly – I can highly recommend a night at the lodge – the log huts are really awesome and there was a male spotted deer that was permanently stationed below our log hut (#1)!

    Kids love the place..


  6. Briju Prasad (unregistered) on May 21st, 2007 @ 10:12 pm

    Thank you for this excellent report+pictures on JLR and Bannergatta park.
    A must see I would imagine.
    just out of curiosity,How many Tigers do we have at Bannergatta?


  7. Walter Solbchak (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 7:20 am

    Dunno about others, but I find Jungle lodges and resorts is highly over priced. Might be alright at Bannerghatta but at other places at Nagarhole, K.Gudi etc its unaffordable, everything is priced at “resort” rates :). There is no option of taking a guide along and camping by yourself. I feel they are turning forests into “nature resorts” which only a few can afford, or is that their intention?


  8. silkboard (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 10:45 am

    Nice one with great snaps Deepa!


  9. anita (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 11:22 am

    Nice detailed write-up Deepa. I do hope more people open their eyes to nature’s bounty after reading this! It will be great to do this sometime. Am keeping it on my to-do list :)


  10. furniture bengalooru (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 12:49 pm

    If you want map of bangalore online you can visit Bengalooru India map


  11. Deepa Mohan (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 4:27 pm

    @Nimish…the Program was over by lunch on Sunday the 20th of May.

    @Walter Solbchak….I too thought JLR overpriced when I first paid up…and then we realized that it includes food, accomodation, jeep fees, fuel costs, guide fees, forest fees….so instead of our booking a Forest Guest House and running around for all these things, the package works very well indeed. I have come to regard JLR as being value for money. Service is excellent at their resorts.

    One of my younger naturalist friends thought JLR was expensive for his pocket and booked the Forest Guest House at B RHills. When they got there, they found that an ex-minister had just occupied the place and there was no recourse…they had to drive back to Bangalore!

    @rest of you…thank you very much!

    @furniture Benagalooru..thanks for the most helpful URL. Have bookmarked it! I wish all comments would be as constructive as yours…


  12. Deepa Mohan (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 4:28 pm

    @Nimish…the Program was over by lunch on Sunday the 20th of May.

    @Walter Solbchak….I too thought JLR overpriced when I first paid up…and then we realized that it includes food, accomodation, jeep fees, fuel costs, guide fees, forest fees….so instead of our booking a Forest Guest House and running around for all these things, the package works very well indeed. I have come to regard JLR as being value for money. Service is excellent at their resorts.

    One of my younger naturalist friends thought JLR was expensive for his pocket and booked the Forest Guest House at B RHills. When they got there, they found that an ex-minister had just occupied the place and there was no recourse…they had to drive back to Bangalore!

    @rest of you…thank you very much!

    @furniture Bengalooru..thanks for the most helpful URL. Have bookmarked it! I wish all comments would be as constructive as yours…


  13. Deepa Mohan (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 4:28 pm

    @Nimish…the Program was over by lunch on Sunday the 20th of May.

    @Walter Solbchak….I too thought JLR overpriced when I first paid up…and then we realized that it includes food, accomodation, jeep fees, fuel costs, guide fees, forest fees….so instead of our booking a Forest Guest House and running around for all these things, the package works very well indeed. I have come to regard JLR as being value for money. Service is excellent at their resorts.

    One of my younger naturalist friends thought JLR was expensive for his pocket and booked the Forest Guest House at B RHills. When they got there, they found that an ex-minister had just occupied the place and there was no recourse…they had to drive back to Bangalore!

    And if you think JLR is expensive..have you seen the Taj Resort rates? $600 and up per person per night!!

    @rest of you…thank you very much!

    @furniture Bengalooru..thanks for the most helpful URL. Have bookmarked it! I wish all comments would be as constructive as yours…


  14. Mamta Naidu (unregistered) on May 26th, 2007 @ 12:44 am

    No wonder Karthik called a prolific writer….Keep up the good work!



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