February 6, 2011

Large Game Workshop - 18 to 20 March 2011

The Lower Nilgiris

Since the latter part of the 18th century the Nilgiris have been described in colonial journals and accounts as a place teeming with game and wildfowl. Endowed with altitudes touching 2600mts  ASL and healthy rainfall, the Nilgiris is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet.

Unfortunately, like most of our wild lands, these ranges are also facing tremendous pressures from human development and exploitation. There have been massive declines in faunal populations over the last century and the total forested area has also dropped significantly.


However, about two decades ago, a few individuals and families started homestays and small resorts in the area. This wildlife tourism slowly began to boom and today there are numerous such places around the region. In the last decade or so, it does seem like some species are making a comeback here. Large cats, for example, are being spotted a lot more frequently and since the conversion from agriculture to tourism has been quite expansive, there seems to be a decline in conflict.

Jungle Retreat, a family run resort on the periphery of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve has been doing its bit for conservation work in the lower Nilgiris for more than a decade. The land was initially barren and stark and was used in agriculture- primarily rice, finger millet and potatoes. Farmers used to poison wild animals that strayed into the property and use electric fences tapped directly into the main grid, killing animals regualrly. Today, Jungle Retreat covers over thirty five acres of land that has been returned to the forest. Animals and birds are welcomed and watched and everything that you find in the forest can be found on the property. This is truly an example of a simbiotic improvement.

This March the Gerry Martin Project is running a large game workshop in this jungle paradise with the objective of inculcating field skills in tracking and spotting, understanding the behaviour of these animals, and looking at the relationship between man and animal in this fragile eco-system.

·         Hikes into the forest
·         Interpreting Tracks and signs
·         Birdwatching
·         Camping out for a night
·         A Game drive
·         Setting up camera-traps and hides
·         Night Surveys

Workshop Dates:
The workshop will start at 11 am on Friday, the 18th of March and end around 1:30 pm on Sunday the 20th of March, 2011.

Accommodation and Logistics:
We will be staying in gender specific dormitories at Jungle Retreat which is in Bokkapuram near Masinagudi, on the Mysore-Ooty road. There is a common dining area and there are attached bathrooms and toilets which are permanent structures and are fully functional.
The drive to Jungle retreat is about 5 1/2 hrs from Bangalore. Make sure you are there early so as not to miss out on any activity.

For further details or to register, please get in touch with Conan Dumenil. +91-9972068300/ conan@gerrymartin.in.