Birds And Lost Tigers of Nauradehi

by pateluday

A remote forest in Central India Nuaradehi was once teeming with tigers. Hunting and poaching reduced the predator to naught in the dense jungles. The area teems with birds...

Forests out of purview or not of National interest or without tigers are notified as wildlife sanctuaries with a nominal degree of protection albeit on paper. Nevertheless, if the destination holds ecological value and some wilderness it may be elevated to a status of a National Park or a tiger reserve. This is a good sign however greater impetus should be accorded to places that still support wild animals, reptiles, and avian species or are good ecosystems. If not conserved over a period of time the forest will face intrusion, destruction, and ravage.

Nauradehi A Wildlife Sanctuary is being brought under the scope of protection in India. It is home to many wild animals, reptiles, and birds that have been noticed, and hence a lot of conservation efforts are in place....thankfully.

The landscape is picturesque with steep cliffs that form deep glens and verdant greenery if not for wilderness the destination is equally fit for holidays.

Nauradehi Forests

Nauradehi Forest
Nauradehi Forest


Bengal Tiger
Bengal Tiger
Anshuman Singh

My First Tiger

Hunting in India

EagleIt was a sad spectacle as the tiger lay dead and was being skinned by a cobbler. I could see fat coming out loose as the sharp knife began to make incisions. I could make out the size of the animal as huge but the overjoyed shikari came out with all details as the neighborhood crowd began to gather...   

"Nine feet nine inches we were informed...a young male...I could only see one eye in light engulfed by darkness..." And that was it the hunter on a bullock cart shot dead the majestic cat and victory trumpets bellowed in the camp. The celebrations continued whence the party arrived at our home in Jabalpur inebriated to the brim.   

Aged around eight perhaps, I had never seen the tiger in my life. Trepidation is what we felt at the mention of the big cats. The lifeless object stirred no emotion a blood-thirsty vermin has met its end. This is what the majority thought of the predators in India including the past masters and the present incumbents. And this is what lead to the demise of this majestic cat well almost. As I write the leopard is facing the same threat and could well be next on the list.    

The shikari had committed no crime for as much Rs.45 you could get a license to shoot big cats. A cow venerating Nation had no qualms about this and many of the tigers were killed after having been labeled as cattle lifters. This was succor to humans as they were senselessly making inroads into the prime forests and replacing them with fields for food.  The big cat was a major threat to the livestock and their own lives which were more important...the wild animal had lost ground and was a deadly nuisance...a vermin. For the elite complicit in the crime, humanity was a grand excuse to continue with the mayhem and fulfill their egotistical recreation...  

Video Nauradehi


Birding And Wolves

After having driven more than a hundred kilometers from Jabalpur we headed straight to Chivala Talao a small water body that attracted wolves often. My client an enthusiastic birder was all eyes for avian at the shore and in the surrounding forests.    

I could see a mustached warbler, common chiffchaff, open billed stork, and a serpent eagle waiting patiently on a dhava tree for its next victim. The wolves never arrived and the tigers had lost ground in this sanctuary a long time ago. Birds were our only companion till a fox arrived in daylight to quench. 

That was it our first experience of a would-be tiger reserve and a Cheetah relocation center. Well, efforts are being made. But at the moment we were Chivala Lakenot interested in the future with all the avians around us. Nauradehi is home to a good number of marsh crocodiles which you can see in the Bearma,  Kopra, Bamner, and Vyarma Rivers that are the lifeline of this ecosystem. Water bodies like Chivala are also supportive along with many others that have been excavated by diligent forest staff.  

The area of the sanctuary is 1197 sq. km although the forest landscape is larger. Tiger relocation has already taken place with the introduction of a pair and the destination is slated to conserve the Cheetah after relocation. The area is now about 1600 sq. km plus as per the forester I met, and there are five tigers in the park in the year 2021. 


Video You Tube

Nauradehi Wildlife

SarusThe wildlife sanctuary is home to the endangered wolf, striped hyena, jackal, fox, black-naped hare, civets, mongoose, porcupine, sloth bear, blackbuck, Nilgai, chousingha, sambar, barking deer, spotted deer, langur, rhesus macaque, wild boar, smooth-coated otter, and Indian gazelle. The leopard is a rare sight here. But with conservation measures in place they can make a comeback. 

Among the birds, a lot has to be discovered. I searched for the spotted grey creeper but could not find one instead I was able to discover much more. 

Indian pitta, Bonelli's eagle, verditer flycatcher, plain colored flowerpecker, painted and open billed storks, jungle myna, paradise flycatcher, Egyptian vulture, white-rumped and Indian vulture, bay backed shrike, long-tailed shrike, Malabar pied hornbill, grey hornbill, tawny bellied babbler,  shama, puff throated babbler, tree pipit, olive backed pipit, paddy field pipit, paddy-field warbler, Hume's Warbler, sulfur bellied and greenish warbler, orange headed ground thrush, black-naped flycatcher, white eye, rose-ringed parakeet, Alexandrine, and plain Prinia, grey breasted prinia, jungle prinia, racket-tailed and white-bellied drongo, ashy drongo and any more...

Regular ornithological surveys would yield many interesting bird species and perhaps some new discoveries.

Video Nauradehi

Tourism at Nauradehi

Wildlife Sanctuary

Sarus CraneThere was an absence of the big cats from this destination but now and then tiger sightings have taken place. There are many inaccessible areas in the sanctuary that keep poachers and livestock away. This may be the reason for one odd big cat sighting. The proximity of Panna Tiger Reserve may be leading to the movement of the tiger here although it is very occasional.  

Though the distance from Jabalpur Airport is 100 km of good road, visitors are scarce. More visitors arrive from Sagar also in Madhya Pradesh and very close.  Another reason for the lack of bird watching at Nauradehi WLS is poor infrastructure. Wolf is the apex predator here, and some tourists visiting the park for birding do wish to see this carnivore. Other attractions are the marsh crocodile and the smooth-coated otters hence sooner or later tourism will pick up. A plan is in offing to translocate cheetah from Africa here.  

Lack of proper accommodation is one major reason. There are only two rest houses but they belong to the Government hence mostly out of bounds. Few enthusiasts make a day trip from Jabalpur, Sagar, and Damoh but they return by evening. A permit is available at Sagar DFO Office and online booking at MPOnline Website will be available soon. It is preferable to hire a jeep from the towns as the road inside is not fit for cars. 

A large number of villages are encroaching on the sanctuary which causes interference to wildlife and is a discouragement for tourism. Thankfully some villages have been relocated and perhaps more will be moved out sooner or later. Ambitious plans for tiger and cheetah relocation will perhaps strengthen conservation measures in this sanctuary.    

Updated: 07/11/2021, pateluday
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DerdriuMarriner on 11/12/2020

pateluday, Thank you for pictures, practicalities and products.
What owl is featured in the image under your heading video Nauradehi? The image under your heading Nauradehi wildlife looks like a Sarus crane, which I recognize from one of your previous articles on birding.

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