Wild tiger wanders into hotel, becomes first translocated in Nepal

It all started when a curious wild tiger wandered into a hotel in the tourist-friendly town of Sauraha in Nepal. The male tiger, estimated to be one of only 3,200 tigers remaining in the wild, was hurt trying to flee the hotel during this incident last September. Conservation authorities took the tiger to a secure enclosure within Chitwan National Park so that he could properly rehabilitate.

The tiger slowly regained his strength. Meanwhile, conservationists, including the World Wildlife Fund, realized the rare opportunity they had before them with this tiger: the opportunity to translocate the tiger to a more suitable habitat and tag it with a GPS collar to track him on his mission to settle down in his new home.

This tiger has become the first in Nepal to be translocated and monitored in this way. Just in the last decade, 1,000 tigers were killed for their skins and parts. This tiger’s new home is in the Babai Valley–where anti-poaching efforts have been improving.

These efforts are necessary if we’re interested in protecting tigers and admiring their beauty… from afar or, in some cases, from our hotels. Read more about this tiger’s story at Treehugger or at World Wildlife Fund’s website, where you can see a video of the tiger receiving his GPS collar.

[photo by Elizabeth Seward]

India’s Kaziranga National Park has world’s highest tiger population

Zoologists studying at Kaziranga National Park in Assam, India, have declared that it has the greatest density of tigers in the world–32.64 per 100 square kilometers, in fact. By way of comparison, Corbett Tiger Reserve, which is in the number two slot, has “only” 19.6 per 100 square kilometers.

Park officials say there’s such a healthy population because of the large amount of tasty wildlife such as deer and buffalo for the tigers to eat, as can be seen in this amazing slide show from the BBC. Less edible for tigers but equally interesting to visitors are the rare Indian Rhinos, of which two-thirds of the world’s population live in the park.

Kaziranga is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular destination for safaris. Visitors can ride an elephant through forest and grassland in order to spot the diverse population of animals and birds.

It’s wise to remember that wildlife is truly wild. Back in April a Dutch tourist was trampled to death by a wild elephant at Kaziranga. The park also has large numbers of King Cobra, the longest venomous snake in the world. Acting with caution and listening to your guide will keep you safe from most dangers, however.

3 chinese students, 48 tigers, and 72 hours to kill

The Qinling Wild Animal Safari in the Xi’an, Shaanxi province of China, recently held a unique promotion, recruiting three people to spend 72-hours living inside a small cabin located at the center of a tiger enclosure. The recruits were tasked with observing the behavior of the 48 big cats that prowled the grounds just outside the thin walls of the cabin, recording their interactions 24-hours per day.

Officials from the safari park say they received more than 650 applicants from brave souls looking to spend the night in the tiger pen. They ended up selecting three students, ages 24 and 25, who were given laptops, digital cameras and notebooks to record their observations, and this past Sunday, they were locked into the small, ten square-meter cabin to begin the process. Sunday also just happened to be the start of the Chinese New Year, marking the beginning of the “Year of the Tiger”

For it’s part, the cabin wasn’t exactly luxury accommodations. It had no electricity or heat, and contained no furniture what so ever. It was packed with straw to help keep the students warm however, and it allowed them to get up close and personal in making their round-the-clock observations of the cats, without disturbing their natural patterns. In a sense, it served as a duck blind for the three days they were in the enclosure.

The students managed to survive their stay inside the cage, and were let out on Wednesday. Their observations will now be used as part of a larger study on the behavior of tigers in an attempt to better understand how they live in the wild. Some experts think that there may be as few as 50 tigers still left in the wild in China, and during the Year of the Tiger, they hope to raise awareness of that fact.

Wild animal travel: Where the hunter becomes the hunted

There’s nothing quite like seeing a wild animal in its natural habitat. It’s why people go on safari in South Africa to see lions and elephants, trek through the jungles of Borneo in search of monkeys, and submerge themselves in steel cages off the coast of Baja California to swim with Great White sharks. But it’s important to remember that despite the precautions taken by tour guides and rangers, these are still wild animals and getting close to them in nature carries some risks. In other words: there’s a reason that safari guide carries a gun.

Forbes Traveler has put together a list of “10 Places Where Animals Eat You”, a collection of destinations where the danger of visiting wild animals in nature is greater. Among the spots that made the list are Khao Sok National Park in Thailand, where cobras kill several hundred people per year; South Luangwa National Park in Zambia, where aggressive hippos have been known to flip boats and even eat people; and Ranthambhore Bagh, India, where around 100 people are attacked by tigers each year.

The article goes on to detail other encounters with wild animals, like when the girlfriend of a Tanzanian guide had her sleeping bag dragged 30 yards by a lion, while she was sound asleep in it. It seems animal attacks can happen almost anywhere though, and the danger certainly won’t stop most people from visiting these areas to see wild animals up close. You may just want to think twice about wandering too far away from your guide.

Gadlinks for Tuesday 8.18.09

Hello and welcome to this Tuesday’s edition of Gadlinks. How does it work? The wise and ever-watchful writers of Gadling scour the best of the day’s travel news from around the Internet, summarizing it in one easy to read post. What caught our eye today? Read on below:

  • Frenchman Alexis de Toqueville might have been the first foreign visitor to write about his experiences in America, but he certainly wasn’t the last. Jaunted’s Brit “londontown” is on a cross country road trip from Los Angeles to New York. See what road trip tips he’s learned on his way. [Via Jaunted]
  • Heading to Amsterdam? Why not make your way over to the Herenstraat and Prinsenstraat corridor, two parallel streets that have filled in recent years with hopping bars, restaurants and quirky stores. [Via The New York Times]
  • Stephanie Carrie went to Saint Petersburg to brush up on her Russian language skills. All was going well until her encounter with the barrel of a police machine gun. What happened? Read the full story here. [Via World Hum]
  • Tired of seeing the same old elephants and zebras at the zoo? If you’re in search of something more exotic, head to these zoos which feature some downright bizarre looking creatures. How about some proboscis monkeys and mustached tamarins? [Via MSNBC]

More Gadlinks HERE.