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2010 FEBRUARY MUGGER CROCODILE PROJECT
 
About twelve years ago, the beautiful jungle lake of Rani Tal, deep in the heart of the White Grass Plains Wildlife Reserve, in far west Nepal, had one of its container banks suffer a complete collapse and erosion, as a result of which, over the course of several months, the lake lost all of its water. When local authorities refused to do anything about restoration work, the International Wildlife Conservation  Society (IWCS) rose to the occasion and with a grant from the American Himalayan Foundation, rebuilt some 800 meters of the original bank, thus restoring the lake to its original pristine condition.
 
As happens in nature, even the best intentioned work of man may sometimes bring about unexpected environmental changes and in this case what happened was an unusually heavy increase in the growth of the grasses that surrounded the lake, from sparse patches with open areas, where crocodiles basked, to a solid wall of 18 foot high elephant grass that in time completely buried all of the lakes shoreline mud banks and clearings. As result of this, the resident mugger crocodiles - a reptile that regulates its body metabolism by using heat and cold (sunlight and shade) by basking, had nowhere to carry out this vital function and soon became seriously reduced in numbers. Seeing this, IWCS stepped in with another project and once again with a grant from the American Himalayan Foundation, designed and then put into effect a plan designed to rectify the problem.
 
This rectification took place in March of this year and was in the form of the design and building and installation of five new crocodile basking platforms, each made of natural local materials-i.e., old dried logs of naturally fallen trees-wired together and anchored to large existing stumps within the lake itself.
 
The project took one month and was completed on March 20th 2010. The work was carried out by Peter Byrne, advised and assisted in the field by veteran safari fieldhand Mr. Phil (Tuborg) Fry of Auckland, New Zealand. Excellent, on-site photographic coverage of the project was accomplished by Eric and Monica Tablada of Marina Del Rey, California.
 
As of April, 2010, at least one of the platforms was in use and there is no doubt that others will soon be occupied by returning muggers,  as a result of which it is believed that the crocodile population of the lake will soon revert  to its original healthy and biologically sustainable levels.
 
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Thanks are due to the directors of the American Himalayan Foundation for their generous support of the project, a final one within their ten years of dedicated contribution to the IWCS Water For Wildlife Program; to New Zealander Phil (Tuborg) Fry for his energy and zeal within the field; to IWCS Treasurer Cathy Griffin for her able handling of the financial background of the project;  and to Eric and Monica Tablada for their great photographs.
 
 
By Peter C. Byrne, Founder and Chairman, International Wildlife Conservation Society

IWCS EDUCATION PROGRAM
 
In March, 2010, IWCS Executive Director Peter Byrne and myself, Phil Fry, from New Zealand, visited Sukila Phanta Wildlife Reserve, to complete a mugger crocodile project, and, to visit Shivalik School to spend some time with Gaurav, Akash and Yeshoda, our three IWCS sponsored children.  The three children, whose father was killed in 2005, are enjoying a good boarding school education, with excellent personal care for them.  They are well dressed, happy, polite, intelligent and full of bright inquisitive energy.  Their mother is working in India to survive.  There is no social welfare in Nepal!  The past 5 years have been tough for her.  
 
The little girl, Yeshoda, is now 7 years old, brother Akash is 10, and, is showing artistic ability, Gaurav the big brother, at 12 years old, is a very attentive and caring leader of our delightful trio.  They are wonderful, well balanced children who would impress any where in the world.  We are very proud of them!
 
During our time in Far West Nepal, Peter and I visited Shivalik School twice, and, mixed with both pupils and teachers.  We were lucky to be joined by Eric Tablada, an expert Los Angeles photographer, whose photographs accompany this report.  The children stayed with us at our lodge camp on the Sukila Phanta Reserve border.  I enjoyed very much guiding them around the area of bush, farm, river and forest, watching birds and animals with our binoculars.  They came to our jungle lake side crocodile project site, and explored all around, having great fun.  A day and a half adventure with us, sleeping in a tent and enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the jungle.  
 
Our energetic children were very impressed with the wonderful camp food prepared by Mr. Jangbu Sherpa, who has worked with Peter Byrne and IWCS in Nepal for 25 years.  A great time with a lot of pleasure for both children and adults.  IWCS will continue to fund the care and education of these three fine children in Nepal, for 7 - 10 more years, through the donations of our kind and generous spirited supporters.
 
Reported "from the front" By
Philip E. Fry, President IWCS.
April, 2010

Monica
OUR TRIP TO THE  JUNGLE
 
Eric and I were both very excited to travel to Nepal.  We were especially looking forward to visiting the Sukila Phanta Wildlife Reserve and our safari host Peter Byrne.  Eric had last visited Nepal in 2002, and had not visited the Reserve since that time.  After a long flight from Los Angeles we finally made it to Kathmandu and traveled on to the Dhangari airport. 
 
We were greeted at the airport by Peter's Project Manager, Mr. Umesh Bista, who drove us on to Peter's safari lodge. The drive itself was fairly long, but went by quickly, as it was very picturesque. There were many small farms, one road towns, and, on the road, lots of birds, cows, water buffalos, and goats. The Nepalese people were another wonderful part of the ride, with the women dressed in very colorful saris, and either walking or riding bicycles. One of my favorite sights was that of a young woman in a yellow sari on a bicycle while speaking on her cell phone.
 
I did not know what to expect seeing the Conservation Center for the first time.  Not complete, it has the basic structure, walls, roof, dirt floor, but no permanent plumbing and only partial electricity. But our accommodations were very comfortable;. a large two room safari tent set within the lodge compound and close to the  jungle river. It was exciting being my first camping experience! Across that river lay the Sukila Phanta Wildlife Reserve and every morning we would wake to  the sound of exotic birds of which I learned Nepal has 803 species.  During our visit we saw many peafowl, crow pheasants, hawks, eagles, vultures, herons, and many others.
 
We were also able to view a herd of swamp deer, a family of spotted deer, a mongoose running across the road, elephant tracks, a crocodile (mugger), rhesus monkeys, langur monkeys, leopard and rhino tracks.
 
Unfortunately we did not see any big cats. I truly loved every minute I was in the Wild. Well, except for the mosquitos and gnats in the evening!
 
The week long experience of spending so much time in nature was truly wonderous and unique.  It makes me appreciate everything that I have here in Los Angeles with all of the modern conveniences. However, it also opens my eyes to how much is lacking in our every day life as Eric and I go about our work, in our own concrete jungle. By having separated ourselves from the sound of running water, animals, birds, and and the great outdoors, we are missing an intimate connection with nature. Our stay in the Sukila Phanta helped us realize that we are missing a direct connection to the earth; if we do not stop now and try to save every last bit of what remains free in nature, the wild animals and their habitat, then we will lose a precious connection to our past, as well as the ability of others to be able to have the opportunity to share in such a glorious experience.
 
By Monica Tablada
Leonard "Skip" Fink
LEONARD “SKIP” FINK
 
Leonard "Skip" Fink is an attorney with a broad background in international law and ventures including work in Europe, Africa, Iran and Russia. He came to Washington to work with NASA and then with the Peace Corps in its formative days with legendary Sargeant Shriver. He met Peter Byrne in 1967 and helped him establish International Wildlife as a not -for-profit organization in 1968. Skip has continued since then to serve as a Board Member and a valued IWCS "consigliore". He and wife Amelia, a fashion designer, live in Washington D.C.
 
 
Skip is leading IWCS's planned giving discipline whereby donors are able to plan their donations over time to the organization as well as remember IWCS in their Will and Trust plans. Recently Skip has has taken the lead on two major willed donations to IWCS both in Florida and Washington, DC. Due to the fact that the donor used the name "International Wildlife Society" and not the exact name of the organization? Skip has put in a few more hours than he would like! His message to you?
 
 
Make sure you designate International Wildlife Conservation Society" as the organization for your donations. You can also add Tax ID #520 885499 which will be perfect to link IWCS to your donation.
 
  
Any questions: email Skip:  laafink@verizon.net
 

PASANG SHERPA
 
Back in 1953, when I was starting my career as a professional hunter, I wrote to Tenzing Norgay in Darjeeling, asking him to send me three good men for camp staff. Two weeks later, three men walked from the Indian railhead at Gauri Phanta and into my hunting camp in far west Nepal. One was  Injung Sherpa, a calm, efficient worker, who became my cook. The second was Tashi Kirong, a small,  cheerful, hard-working little man who soon settled in as camp manger over my Taru villager staff. The third was a tough looking, hard-faced ex Indian Army soldier, Pasang Sherpa, who quickly became my gun bearer. The first two stayed with me all through my hunting career and into the early seventies. Pasang stayed on for fifty years,  working at first as a  fearless, first class, thoroughly dependable   gun bearer and later, when my safari career came to an end, through my eight year career as a white water river runner and then on, as a most able assistant and field man,  into my wildlife conservation years with IWCS.
 
Pasang saved my life at one time by firing an inadequate gun across the  face of a man eating tiger that was approaching me, unseen and unexpected,  from behind. By doing so he risked his own for had the tiger turned on him,  he would not have survived. (For those of you interested, the story is included in my book, GENTLEMAN HUNTER, Safari Press, California). He also, over the course of the years, moved from being an employee to become my close friend and in recent years, I am happy to say, that I was able, with the help of one time safari clients Neal McLanahan, of Elberton,  Chuck Ennis of San Antonio and Ken and Sally McConnell of Red Bluff,  California,  to provide him with a pension, one that enabled him, through his later years,  to live comfortably in Katmandu.
 
Pasang, one of the toughest and most trustworthy men I have ever known,  died in his sleep in January, 2010. He may have been, like me,  about 85; in the village of Thammi, in the Sola Khumbu district of the middle Himalaya, where he was born, records of birth were not at that time maintained. The last time he was with me on safari, in the winter of 2006, sitting at a campfire and drinking a little rum together, we joked about this, he telling me that he had no idea how old he was  but that he thought he might be about the same age as me, thus making us both deri boora munchies … old old men!  Age aside,  his memory, for those of us who knew and admired him, will forever be young.
 
By Peter C. Byrne
3801 52nd Street NW | Washington, DC 20016 US

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