“Leveraging Wildlife Conservation through Photography - Series 3”

A Conservation Photography Workshop,
Bardia National Park,
Bardia, Nepal.

  • Organizer: ROAR FOR CONSERVATION, Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Venue coordinator: Tharu Home Resort, Thakurdwara, Bardia.
  • Program coordinator: The DEN Adventure, Bardia.
  • Supported by: The Generation Green, WWF Nepal ,Nepal Tourism Board, Bhrikutimandap, Nepal 
  • Co-sponsors: Shikhar Insurance, Laxmi Bank 
  • Mentor: Mr. Balan Madhavan (Senior Fellow, iLCP)
  • Total participants: 13 
  • Date of workshop: 28th February to 7th March 2019.

Introduction

The document on hand is a narration of the detailed activities and reviews of the Leveraging Wildlife Conservation through Photography- Series 3 that was conducted by ROAR For Conservation with support of The Generation Green, WWF Nepal, and Nepal Tourism Board. The workshop was conducted at Tharu Home Resort with major activities inside Bardia National Park for 8 days. The workshop was continued for the 3rd time as per the positive responses from the individual level from the participants and institutional support from organizations. Balan Madhavan was the mentor of the workshop while the mentees who participated in the workshop were from various fields ranging from IT professionals to local park guides. The general objectives of this workshop were to increase the interest of people in nature and wildlife photography and promote eco-tourism and to conduct a story sharing between the participants about their experience in conservation and wildlife photography world. The other specific objective was to involve the local guides into photography sessions so that they tThe document on hand is a narration of the detailed activities and reviews of the Leveraging Wildlife Conservation through Photography- Series 3 that was conducted by ROAR For Conservation with support of The Generation Green, WWF Nepal, and Nepal Tourism Board. The workshop was conducted at Tharu Home Resort with major activities inside Bardia National Park for 8 days. The workshop was continued for the 3rd time as per the positive responses from the individual level from the participants and institutional support from organizations. Balan Madhavan was the mentor of the workshop while the mentees who participated in the workshop were from various fields ranging from IT professionals to local park guides. The general objectives of this workshop were to increase the interest of people in nature and wildlife photography and promote eco-tourism and to conduct a story sharing between the participants about their experience in conservation and wildlife photography world. The other specific objective was to involve the local guides into photography sessions so that they themselves become better conservation photographers of their places. hemselves become better conservation photographers of their places.

About Participants

The delegates participated in the workshop after the call from ROAR For Conservation through Websites and Social Media promotion. 9 of the attendees were from South India. The professions of the attendees from India were IT Professionals, Event Managers, and Freelancers. The 6 other attendees from Nepal were students, local media persons, businessmen, and local guides. Besides, 4 of the organizing committee members were also included as mentees in the workshop.

About Mentor

The Mentor for the workshop was one of the 60 Senior Fellows from iLCP (International League of Conservation Photographers) Mr. Balan Madhavan who has been a professional wildlife photographer, trainer, mentor and also writer of many coffee table books for last 3 decades. The participants were helped to excel in their skills of Wildlife Photography with the experience of mentor directly into the field. The participants could explore the jungle through walks, drives, and rafting.

Title

  • The world-renowned mentor will sharpen your technical photographic skills
  • The workshop offers excellent chances to meet and interact with the local steward of these forests, friendly and informative local people.
  • You will get a glorious chance to closely interact and observe the ancient alive cultures of Tharu communities.
  • The workshop aims to tick all possible boxes of experiencing wild including jungle walk, safari and also thrilling camping in the jungle.
  • You will be guided by an expert team of nature guides who have been brought up in the regions we will visit. This will optimize the possibility of wildlife photographs’ captures.
  • With your permission, the best photographs clicked by you might be used by reputed organisations like WWF Nepal, ZSL, NTNC, BCN and many more for spreading conservation awareness. This is written on the basis of the past experience of such organisations using best photographs of our event.
  • The workshop offers a platform for mutual sharing of stories, motivations and morals of conservation and nature experiences.

about activities

1. Jungle Drive

Three vehicles with two guides each were taken to the vehicle permitted areas of the National Park. The vehicles were taken to as different places as possible for optimizing the possibility of a sighting. The mentees were taken to sal forests and the grasslands for site seeing, birding and animal sighting. Major hotspots for animal sighting were chosen as resting places to wait for the wildlife sighting. Jungle drive was done for 3 days during the workshop. During one of the 3 days, the mentees were taken to Babai valley which is widely known as the virgin forest. 

2. Jungle Walk

The mentees along with the mentors and guides were taken to the jungle to explore the pristine forests of Bardia for one day. Besides, during the full day jungle drive also, the mentees were given chances to walk to sight the animals and click photographs. 

3. Classroom Sessions

The classroom activities included sessions from the mentor. The contents that were included were discussed under topics as mentioned.  

  • ISO settings  
  • White Balance  
  • Aperture setting  
  • Shutter speed  
  • Photography, an art  
  • Depth of Field  
  • Image processing: Basics Conservation and Photography

The workshop included both practical and theoretical sessions. During the practical sessions, participants had complete exposure to the jungle to capture photographs along with the mentor. They also received basic training about the do’s and don’t’s of the jungle from the best of Guides in Bardiya and were also accompanied by them during the practical session which gave them a chance to experience the jungle in the best and safest ways. 

4. Rafting

Rafting was done for 2 days in the tributary of Karnali flowing inside the National Park. During the rafting, the major sighting of wildlife was possible.

5. Interaction

Interaction with the local villagers Stay in the tharu homestay in the vicinity of the Bardia National park was arranged. This was done with the anticipation of the interaction of the mentees and the villagers about the conservation issues. There was storytelling during the informal meetings during the one night stay in the tharu homestay. 

Time schedule

The eight days workshop was scheduled keeping in consideration the weather conditions and sighting probabilities in the jungle. The workshop started each day at 7 A.M and ended at 8 P.M. with informal campfire discussions. On the first day, i.e. 28th of February the mentees arrived and icebreaker sessions were conducted. Full day jeep drives on the second and fourth day, jungle walk on the third day, rafting with drives on the last two days and full-day class and tharu homestay in the 5th day was the overall time schedule of the workshop. On the 8th day, certificate distribution along with review sharing about the workshop was done.

Workshop in Brief

The workshop was successfully conducted as per the objective set beforehand in the proposal. The activities like jungle walk, jungle safari, rafting, and interactions with the indigenous group in the villages were conducted on different days of the workshop. Local participants were included in the workshop. There was ample time for the interactions between the mentees from local areas and India. Additionally, the mentees were taken to the Dalla homestay for the promotion of the local approach to ecotourism. The mentees were given theoretical sessions about nature photography. On the other hand, the mentees were taken to the jungle so that they could sense the beauty of the forests through all their senses. The local participants also attended the formal sessions of the workshop where tricks and rules of nature photography were explained by the mentor. The discussions made during the workshop contained conservation inspiration to the local guides and villagers. Some of the photographs taken during the workshop are already used by the mentees to promote Barida National Park and its beauty in social media websites. In between the workshop, energizer events such as Tharu dance display, story-telling was also conducted. The mentees were divided into 3 main groups and the group was reformed every day in order to maximize the interaction between them. Each group was guided by naturalist and assistant guide for the activity inside the jungle to ensure the safety of the mentees. The sighting of the one-horned rhino, Bengal tiger with cubs, wild elephants, sambar deer, porcupine, jackal, python and many bird species was possible during the workshop. Despite the drizzling rains in the initial two days, the sighting was good in the latter part of the workshop. The reviews collected from the mentees give a thorough assumption of the success of the workshop.

 

Participant's Reviews

“As a student of Forestry and passionate nature photography, I was eagerly waiting to participate in this workshop. As expected, Balan sir added so much to my knowledge of nature photography. This workshop gave me an opportunity to interact with the other mentees and widen my horizon of knowledge about wildlife. I will always cherish the adventurous and overwhelming moments spent in this workshop.”

– As mailed by Sandesh Thapa to Roar for Conservation.

“Countless migratory and local birds posing for your camera shot. You know that there is a tiger within 10 to 20 meters but you can’t see it, your guide can sense it and sometimes smell it. Most probably the tiger is watching you and you don’t know it: This is the beauty of Bardia. This workshop was a completely different experience for me. Kudos to the organizers”

– As mentioned by G. Vijaya Raghavan

“I am a shopkeeper by profession but nature and wildlife are my passion. This is my second time in the workshop but yet I always want to rejoin it every time.”

– As mentioned by Indrajeet Pariyar

“Just returned from Bardiya National Park, Nepal after a week of high adventure and luck…!!! Indeed we were lucky to get back home after the sudden charge by the Indian One-Horned Rhino… at really close quarters… We were doing rafting in the narrow and shallow river inside the park when we heard the grunt of a tiger inside the tall grass on the shore. While we were searching for the yellow and black among the high contrast golden grass. Out of nowhere, the rhino charged at us. Thankfully… it changed its mind at the last moment. at around 10 feet from the raft…. Bardiya is not for Safari Photographers. This is one place where you are stalking tigers, rhinos and wild elephants on foot. Stick to Kanha or Ranthambore if you cannot walk 10 km every day. Bardiya is special and it’s only for those who can run, run, and again run. I am coming back to Bardiya… that’s for sure…”

– Our Mentor; Balan Madhavan, writes about his experience during the workshop in Bardiya

 

Glimpses of workshop

Events

Expeditions

Conservation Outreach and compaigns