Wednesday, March 5, 2014


-Nirmal Kulkarni

  1. Always let a family member/friend/colleague know the area and approx. location or range/beat of the forest as a rule. This is the first precautionary rule that every serious amateur / professional student of ecology or wildlife enthusiast should follow. It helps a lot in the long run in times of any eventuality.
  2. Always enter a Protected area with permits/ entrance tickets and after paying prescribed fees. In case of reserved forests and community forests one must inform the local forest officer or village community forest committee member before entry into a forest.
  3. Read up on the area/habitat/ current social and forest related issues in the area. It is also a good habit to cross check from those who have worked in the area before. A detailed map is always an asset too.
  4. First Aid Kit/ torch/water bottle/whistle/good walking shoes are essentials that one MUST have while heading out on a field trip. Do not attempt to borrow or share any of these at any time during a field trip. Get your own set of essentials and always be prepared.
  5. Be very clear on why you are visiting/ entering a forest area in the first place. Is it for leisure/investigation/survey/photography- a combination of any of these or anything different? It is essential you do just that and do not change focus. Remember, forest sojourns impact wildlife too. 

 Nirmal Kulkarni can be contacted at

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Getting lost in the woods...and surviving

Five tips if you get lost
No one plans to get lost, but it can happen; yes, it can even in these days of mobiles and Google maps.  We hear of people getting lost in forests without food or water but surviving for many days.  But how?  By eating lizards, squirrels, insects? We’re not saying that you need to practice your hunting skills, but the point is –  you must do what you have to do and survice. Most people would.

Whenever you enter the wilderness there are precautions you should take to make sure you’re prepared for anything.
These tips will get you started.

1) Plan for Your Situation

Every situation is different and should be treated as such. If you’re hiking in an area with unpredictable weather patterns, plan for warm and cool clothing. If you’re going hiking during the summer, pack plenty of water and wear light colored clothing. If you’re trekking into the wild by yourself, let a friend or family member know where you’re going, and when you plan on returning.

2) Know Where You Are

Study a map of the area or bring one with you. Being able to identify landmarks or waterways could save you in the event you get lost. Always carry a compass so you can triangulate your position.

3) Don’t Panic

The natural reaction is to panic when we are unsure of our surroundings. Panicking can waste crucial energy and affect your state of mind. Use the acronym STOP to regain your composure and get in the right mental state.

S = Sit Down
T = Think About The Situation
O = Observe Your Surroundings
P = Prepare for Survival by Gathering Materials

4) Call For Help

If you’re out hunting, firing your weapon can direct attention towards you and hopefully lead to your rescue. Unfortunately, most people aren’t carrying when they’re out hiking or camping.  A great alternative is a whistle, which studies have shown to be the least cost and most effective way of getting attention.

5) Be Prepared

Having a whistle is just one of many survival tools that can help you in a dire situation. A water filtration straw can help you drink safely from a river or stream, and a fire striker can easily assist you in getting a heat source going. But If you ask any survival enthusiast, they would probably tell you their knife is the most important. And for good reason. A survival knife can be used for:

First Aid Tool
Food Prep
Shelter Building
Fire Making
Hunting Weapon
Prying Tool
Make-Shift Screwdriver

Tips courtesy @ Blog