Time seems to fly when you tend to enjoy your work and it seems that with the fifth edition of “What I Saw 2018”, these five months have passed by in a flash.
I was up in Manang with Debby Ng, an ecologist from the University of Tasmania. We were conducting the first canine distemper survey in Annapurna. Staying in one of my favorite places Manang meant that along with work, I would be able to see the amazing flora and fauna that are found at higher elevations and we spent nearly a month there. Manang district falls under the Annapurna Conservation Area Project’s coverage. As Manang covers a very diverse area of terrain and elevation, there is a lot of flora and fauna.
The research coincided with the Yarsagumba (Cordyceps sinesis) picking time here in Manang along with other areas of Nepal as well. As the years are progressing this herb has been a lucrative business and other places around Nepal including Manang come alive with throngs of people coming in. This herb picking creates a lot of business in various sectors and in my opinion, the concerns of precious pasturelands getting ripped apart at a time when new grass is coming out are high. The Yarsagumba (Cordyceps sinesis) grow underground with the fungi popping out some 2-3 inches off the ground, the herb pickers normally scratch the surface to locate it and dig to get the precious herb out. In my opinion, along with the problem of pasturelands getting trampled upon the other problems includes pollution, scaring the wild animals, etc. which does a negative effect on the flora and fauna of the region. The other concern is the over the picking of the herb which will defiantly help in the decline in the near future and not only will this affect the flora and fauna but also the business sector as the insatiable desires of humans can never be fulfilled until the source dries up and we turn our heads to another alternative and the vicious cycle repeats.
With another round of my own opinion, back to the usual segment, and this time around I was able to take some pictures of the fauna like Himalayan Vulture, Lammergeier, Ruddy Shelduck, Grey-backed Shrike, Himalayan Snowcock, Common Raven, Yellow-billed Chough, Chukar, Rock Bunting, Snow Pigeon, Blue sheep, Oriental turtle dove, Orange-bellied Himalayan Squirrel, Large-eared Pika and many more.
On the flora side, I was able to take pictures of wild strawberries, Spongiocarpella purpurea, Stellera chamasejasme, Androscace robusta etc.
Missing a proper shot of Grandala, Falcon, Lammergeier, Yellow-throated Marten, Yellow-bellied Weasel has definitely taught me not to repeat the mistakes I did this time around. As my mentor during the wildlife conservation photography workshop, Mr. Balan Madhavan said “Wildlife photography is an art of disappointment”, and for me, this is the disappointment that keeps going.
Thank you again to you and many others who have been following the blog and coming back time and again to check out the contents. Please do provide your valuable comments and creative feedback so as to have me improve the blog.
Thank you again and wishing you a very good weekend.
Ajay Narsingh Rana