Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wilderness Wanderings field trip

Eight students and three staff members accompanied by renowned ethnobotanist Madhu Ramnath set off on this field trip to the Valparai grass hills and to the Siruvattukombai PHCC center. Sightings of Nilgiri tahr, bison, wild elephants, langur, giant squirrels and several species of birds and butterflies were the highlights of this grueling 20 km hike to the grass hills through leech infested shola. The slippery descent in torrential rain was an unforgettable experience. At Manombally the group had the privilege to study field botany with Mr Ramnath whose wealth of experience and brilliant teaching skills held everyone enthralled. At Siruvatukombai, the PHCC staff guided the group on hikes into the jungle and Mr Kannan spoke on the history of the project, the local tribals and successful conservation efforts with the grizzled giant squirrel.