You are on page 1of 4


Wild Mischief of Katarnia Ghats
“Unheeded Biography of a Tiger”
A heartbreaking story of annihilation of honor and nobility of a Tiger across the
borders of Nepal and Uttar Pradesh in Lakhimpur Kheeri in Katarnia Ghats,
being driven into a vicious circle of man and animal conflict. A tiger struggling
hard to survive, a wild cat caught in the web of man’s muddle of hodgepodge. A
king being declared a marauder of his own subject… A K Singh
I happen to be the Tiger of Katarina Ghats. Tree
stands of Sal, Terminalia, Ficus and Shisham
watch over trails of my pugmarks every day.
They are the guardians of my lost will and
renewed conscience. Unbeaten treks of my trails
disappear into the thickets of bhabar grassy patch
of low alluvial savanna woodlands of aeglekhair-sissoo forests, wrinkled with jamun and
gutel, creased with phragmites and arundo
grasses. As of now, I am reduced to being one of
the most bemused, befuddled and bewildered
king of this jungle. I live and work under the
generous but highly principled supervision of the
shrubs, bushes and trees of Katarnia ghat woods.
As the monsoon sets in, broad leaves become
fresh green in cloudy sunlight. Upland
waterlogged plains run away at a sharp angle
into the ravines of Girva river. As the water
dwindles, sandy dunes emerge in islands and
embankments of the river. Solitary Crocodile
and congregation of Gharials can be seen
altogether basking in the sun the whole day
unperturbed, unruffled and unconcerned of the
folly of humans in the surroundings. Pintail
ducks, goose, jacana, coots, storks play with
waves of meandering current of lazy waters.
Kingfisher swinging on long shoot of Imperata
grass keeps tweaking kila kila warning his friend
birds about impinging danger from fishing cat.
Crested serpent eagle and white rumped vultures
keep waiting to grab their bait perching in
remote corner of high canopy on ficus tree
witnessing the scene of pouncing upon aquatic
denizens. Herds of cheetal, sambhar and some

blue bulls browsing under the canopy of teak,
terminalia and gutel unheeded remain busy in
their routine search of food as I move along the
way of herbivores.
Seasonal floods of monsoon rains in Girva river
restrict my roaming amidst
hundreds of waterlogged
phanta where I need to travel
through upland grasslands of
sacchurm, imepreata and
within dry grasslands planted
with teak, shisham, semal and

eucalyptus often fetches me with plenty of foods
in swamp deer and blue bulls. Just as there is
honor and morality among men, so there is
solidarity, harmony, camaraderie among plant
and animals. As men fear death, as children fear
to go in dark so are the wild animals like me
scared to encroach upon human territory.
Over the last one decade wild beasts of
Katarnia Ghats like me and leopards have gone
crazy, unbridled and scary. I quite often fill with

outburst of tantrums, listening to the news that
femur bone of one of the leopards was found
broken and neck of another leopard was found
fractured by some poachers of Daulatpur village.
Revenge is a kind of wild justice man is prone to
wrangle and more ought law to weed it out. Its
traumatic and painful to hear the revenge of this
kind. Recently a 10 year boy was attacked in
Kukrigava by leopard. Big cats like me have
started straying out of the forests during
midnight too. This is alteration of my behavior, a
deviation from being normal. Leopards were
reported to have been hiding inside bushes and
two young girls in Sujauli village were injured.
A leopard was beaten to death by lathi charge a
month back. Last time a young girl caught the
attention of a leopard and she
was mauled to severe injury. It
is shocking to learn that in
Uttarakhand, during the past 10
years over 722 leopards, 81
tigers and 241 elephants have
been reported dead due to
unnatural means. On the other
hand, leopards, tigers and
elephants have collectively
killed 338 human lives and
injured 460 during the same period. It is
disastrous. It is awfully terrible and abysmally
horrifying. This has never happened in the
history of this sub tropical Indian subcontinent. I
have no rivalry with human, I have no enmity
with man, his cattle, his live stock and his
paraphernalia. He is setting fire on my last
frontier forests of old natural growth. He is
destroying my shelter, obliterating my food and
nutrition, demolishing my last asylum in this
sanctuary of wilderness.
I feel proud to have lived in the foothills of
Himalaya amidst luxuriant wild population of
elephants, rhinos, deer, sloth bear, hog deer and
blue bulls connected via a corridor from Rajaji

National Park, Corbett Tiger Reserve, Dudhwa,
Valmiki Tiger Reserve and Bardia National
Park. But since almost last four decades my
connectivity to these earlier contiguous bio
geographic provinces has been coming under
question. I can not move freely on the wild-lifecorridors as these have been diverted for
agricultural cultivation, seed farm propagation
and other purposes. While crossing through, I
often fall on the farmers sugar cane fields or
paddy farms. There seems to be no country for
old man like me. So called habitat fragmentation
and infestation of invasive species have broken
my linkages and relations to other provinces.
Increased human population, life style change of

gujjars, muslims, tharu and gonds of their
livestock over grazing, over cutting of firewood,
timber and fodder has started eroding my shelter
of relief. Railway networks and roadways traffic
congestion cause havoc to my free movement
and other mega mammals. Upcoming Hydro
electric power lines, irrigation projects, sand and
boulder mining in river beds have been causing
fragmentation of my inviolate pristine
uninterrupted zone of undertaking. In Katarnia
ghats more than 20% area is infested by Lantana
due to over grazing and fire incidences.
Increasing dominance of undesirable succession
in grasslands and weed proliferation has caused
late successional regression of nonpalatable
Tiliacora acuminate, Helicteres isora, Cassia

tora and Ageratum conyzoides to increase
Since 1975, with pronouncement of Tiger
reserve, I breath a sigh of relief, to have been
connected between Dudhwa, Bardia and
Kishanpur sanctuary. I feel proud to be ruling
over number of endangered species of rhino,
dolphins, gharials, crocodiles, swamp deer,
hispid hare, Bengal floricans and variety of
vultures. Katarnia ghat became a unique and
outstandingly world famous for its sympatric
population of crocodiles and ghariyals together
with dolphins living in harmony in girva river.
Now this area has been declared as no
disturbance zone, for helping the breeding cats.
This area shall be emptied, made inviolate,
which is inhabited by more than a dozen of
villages as of now.
agricultural expansion,
livestock depredation
dependence on forests
of Katarnia Ghats has
shrunken the forests,
fragmented the habitat
genuine shelter of all
those animals who had
been living in wild in peaceful harmony with
nature. Love is a matter of comedies than that of
tragedies. Life begets much mischiefs, some
times like rage, some time like frenzy and other
time like fury. In this decade almost hundreds of
people were killed and more were injured by
number of feline attacks under the ferocity and
vehemence of raging wild cats. Obviously such
cases can not be called as chance encounters.
Although habitat fragmentation is widely
regarded as a major threat of our survival and
sustenance but little is known about the
immediate mechanism on population response to
fragmentation. No body knows about meta

population dynamics of carnivores, exchange
rate of viable populations of this bio-geographic
province. Lesser is known about small scale
fragmentation and patchy population and the
changed behavior of felines, altered habits of
ungulates and tainted patterns of conduct of
antelopes. Natural growth and dispersal rate of
sparse population and their social organization
remain largely unknown. Few years back
government made special tiger corridors in a bid
to save big cats, all of sudden a dead tigress was
Injury marks on
her head and
claws declared
it a furious fight
cats. Very less
people except
scientists know about
an ecological network,
a set of the biotic
species connects by pairwise interactions.
Species competes, evolves and disperses simply
for the purpose of seeking resources to sustain
her struggle for her very existence. Some times
they take form of resource consumers, some
times as plant herbivores and other time as hostparasite-interactions. In 1926, Alfred Lotka and
Vito Volterra, a famous mathematician proposed
a differential equation model to explain the prey
predator relationship. A pair of differential
equations describes predator prey dynamics. It is
characterized by oscillations in the population
size of both predator and prey, with the peak of
the predator’s oscillation lagging slightly behind
the peak of the prey’s oscillation. Most of the
time various solutions of prey predator relation
models show oscillatory nature of the population
of the two species in a state of dynamic

equilibrium even though there are very few
preys. In the study of dynamics of single
population, natural growth rate of
the species and the carrying
capacity of the environment is
sustenance. This model makes
assumptions that the prey
population will
starve in the
absence of the
prey population
another type of prey), predators can consume
infinite quantities of prey and there is no
environmental complexity. Here in Katarnia
Ghat I don’t feel any dearth of natural resource
abundance. I find herbivore base stronger than
any other place like Bardia, Dudhwa and
Kishanpur. Chitwan, Katarina Ghat, flanked by
rivers, ample number of big water reservoirs, is a
forest ecosystem, par excellent for sustenance of
6 to 7 tigers per 100 sq Km on long term basis. If
the prey density is some how maintained within
the Katarina Ghats I need not have to starve,
famish and depredate any where.
If the quality of forests is improved a bit with
upgrading of habitat and accentuation of
herbivores, if the boundaries of pristine
wilderness get recognition, if across the margins
of forests, clash of interactions are lessened, if
across the edges of forests, cobwebs of relations
are enriched, then in no time the healthy
equation of the wilderness shall start prevailing.
There is a strong and healthy bond of

relationship between man and animal across all
the frontiers of forests. Bond of love, care,
concern and kind heartedness. It
flows from both sides with mutual
respect, regard and admiration. Such
bond of relationship between man
and animal is quite old, as old as
earth, as strong as rock of Gibraltar,
as robust and resilient as claws of
the tiger or sharp wit of human. A
heavenly connection of affiliation, an ecological
relationship need to be developed from both the
sides so as to repair and build the broken
linkages of ecological setting so as to seal the
inoperative set of ecosystem services, so as to set
an equilibrium of population dynamics between
man and wild animals.
A K Singh is the member of Indian Forest Service
1997 serving in the Ministry of Forest, Ecology and
Environment of the Government of Karnataka. Views
portrayed here are personal which are
expressed in the wake of references






Fahring L Merriam G 1994. Conservation of Fragmented
Populations. Conservation Biology.
Foster J and Gains MS 1992. The effects of a successional
habitat mosaic on a small mammal community. Ecology.
Gadgli, M and Guha R 1992. The Fissured Land:An
Ecological History of India. Oxford University Press. New
Hanski I and Gilpin M 1996, Metapopulation Biology,
Ecology, Genetics, and Evolution. Academic Press. London
Harris L D 1984. The Fragmented Forest: Island
Biogeography. Theory and Preservation of Biotic Diversity
Chicago and London. National Academy Press.
Harrison S 1991. Local extinction in a meta population
context: an empirical evaluation. Biological Journal of the
Lennean Society.
Ims R A 1995. Movement Patterns in relation to landscape
structures. Mosaic landscapes and ecological processes.
Johnsingh AJT, Qureshi, Goyal, Rawat,2004 Conservation
Status of Tiger and Associated Species in Terai Arc
Landscape of India. Wild Life Institute of India.