Wildlife Adventure and Fun in Shimla Hill Station
Water Catchment Wildlife Sanctuary is one of world’s most beautiful Adventure Travel & Backpacking destinations; located north of kufri, 8 Kms East of Shimla at an altitude of 1915 m to 2750 m, is a 20 minute drive from the city, via the Sanjauli-Dhalli Tunnel. It is connected by a forest corridor to Chail Wildlife Sanctuary in the South. It Comprises a moderately steep catchment which is the main water supply for Shimla. Nine perennial streams flow from this area, the main ones being Churat Nala and God Ki Nala. Mean annual rainfall is 1600mm and temperatures range from 5.4 C to 32 C. Meteorological data are also available from nearby at Shimla at 2,200m.
Charabara Village is surrounded on three sides by the magnificent Shimla Water Catchment Sanctuary, a 125 year old sanctuary that was established by the British as a reserved forest. The sanctuary was the initial source of water for Shimla, the water pumped to Shimla town through a series of steam pumps, reputed to be the first of their kind in the country. The Himalayan Black Bear and the Brown Bear, Barking Deer, Goral, Jackal, Indian Red Fox, Striped Hyena and the Yellow-Throated Martin are some of the species of wildlife that thrive in the undisturbed forests of the sanctuary.
It is an Asian species of marten which is listed by the IUCN as Least Concern due to its wide distribution, evidently relatively stable population, occurrence in a number of protected areas, and lack of major threats. It is a large, robust, muscular and flexible animal with an elongated thorax, a small pointed head, a long neck and a very long tail which is about 2/3 as long as its body. The tail is not as bushy as that of other martens, and thus seems longer than it actually is. The limbs are relatively short and strong, with broad feet. The ears are large and broad, but short with rounded tips. The soles of the feet are covered with coarse, flexible hairs, though the digital and foot pads are naked and the paws are weakly furred.The skull is similar to that of the beech marten, but is much larger. The baculum is S-shaped, with four blunt processes occurring on the tip. It has relatively short fur which lacks the fluffiness of the pine marten, sable and beech marten. The winter fur differs from that of other martens by its relative shortness, its harshness and its luster. It is also not as dense, fluffy and compact as that of other martens. The hairs on the tail are short and of equal length over the whole tail. The summer fur is shorter, sparser, less compact and lustrous.
The color of the pelage is unique among martens, being bright and variegated. The top of the head is blackish brown with shiny brown highlights, while the cheeks are somewhat more reddish, with a mixture of white hair tips. The back of the ears are black, while he inner portions are covered with yellowish grey. The fur is a shiny brownish-yellow color with a golden tone from the occiput along the surface of the back. The color becomes browner on the hind quarters. The flanks and belly are bright yellowish in tone. The chest and lower part of the throat are a brighter, orange-golden color than the back and belly. The chin and lower lips are pure white. The front paws and lower forelimbs are pure black, while the upper parts of the limbs are the same color as the front of the back. The tail is of a shiny pure black color, though the tip has a light, violet wash. The base of the tail is greyish brown.
It is found across much of northern Eurasia and North America. It is sometimes referred to as the bruin, from Middle English. This name originated in the fable, History of Reynard the Fox, translated by William Caxton, from Middle Dutch bruun or bruyn, meaning brown. They are thought to have evolved from Ursus etruscus in Asia. The brown bear, per Kurten (1976), has been stated as “clearly derived from the Asian population of Ursus savini about 800,000 years ago; spread into Europe, to the New World.” A genetic analysis indicated that the brown bear lineage diverged from the cave bear species complex approximately 1.2-1.4 million years ago but did not clarify if U. savini persisted as a paraspecies for the brown bear before perishing. The oldest fossils positively identified as from this species occur in China from about 0.5 million years ago. Brown bears entered Europe about 250,000 years ago, and North Africa shortly after. Brown bear remains from the Pleistocene period are common in the British Isles, where it is thought they might have outcompeted cave bears. The species entered Alaska 100,000 years ago, though they did not move south until 13,000 years ago. It is speculated that brown bears were unable to migrate south until the extinction of the much larger Arctodus simus. There are many methods used by scientists to define bear species and subspecies as no one method is always effective. Brown bear taxonomy and subspecies classification has been described as “formidable and confusing” with few authorities listing the same specific set of subspecies.
Himalayan Black Bear:
It is a subspecies of the Asian black bear found in the Himalayas of India, Tibet, Nepal, China and Pakistan. They are omnivorous creatures and will eat just about anything. Their diet consists of acorns, nuts, fruit, honey, roots, and various insects such as termites and beetle larvae. If food is scarce, they may turn to eating livestock such as sheep, goats, and cattle.
It is the largest of the true foxes and one of the most widely distributed members of the order Carnivora, being present across the entire Northern Hemisphere from the Arctic Circle to North Africa, North America and Eurasia. It is listed as least concern by the IUCN. It originated from smaller-sized ancestors from Eurasia during the Middle Villafranchian period, and colonised North America shortly after the Wisconsin glaciation. Among the true foxes, the red fox represents a more progressive form in the direction of carnivory. he red fox is considered a more specialised form of Vulpes than the Afghan, corsac and Bengal foxes in the direction of size and adaptation to carnivory; the skull displays much fewer neotenous traits than in other species, and its facial area is more developed.
Red foxes colonised the North American continent in two waves: during or before the Illinoian glaciation, and during the Wisconsinan glaciation. Gene mapping demonstrates that red foxes in North America have been isolated from their Old World counterparts for over 400,000 years, thus raising the possibility that speciation has occurred, and that the previous binomial name of Vulpes fulva may be valid. In the far north, red fox fossils have been found in Sangamonian deposits in the Fairbanks District and Medicine Hat. Fossils dating from the Wisconsian are present in 25 sites in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, New Mexico, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wyoming. Although they ranged far south during the Wisconsinan, the onset of warm conditions shrank their range toward the north, and have only recently reclaimed their former American ranges because of human-induced environmental changes. Genetic testing indicates two distinct red fox refugia exist in North America, which have been separated since the Wisconsinan.