Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hungry Lions of Lal Sohanra and I

A few years back, while I was posted at Multan, a friend arranged a visit for me and my family to Lal Sohanra National Park, near Bhawalpur.  We went to Lal Sohanra National Park and were lodged into the beautiful guest house of the Forest Department. At night, we lit a bon fire and our host slaughtered a goat which was roasted on open fire and we devoured every meat that we could find on its bones. I never tasted such a yummy dinner in my life.

The next day, our host informed us that we shall be taken to two places besides a drive through the forest. Our first adventure was to be Lion Safari – a drive through the caged portion where a pride of lion is set free in as close to their natural habitat as possible. So we made two groups – one in a car and the other in a coaster and entered the danger zone. After driving on the dirt track for a while, we spotted the pride resting not far away from the track. 
While the lion and three lionesses were a little away from the track, one lioness was sitting hardly 20-30 feet away from us. We stopped and I proposed to get out and have a photograph with the lioness in our background without realizing the danger of being attacked. So we got out, though very carefully, and posed for the photo. But the photographer panicked and could not snap clearly (when we got the prints it was all grass and nothing else). The look on the lioness face forced us to hurriedly get into our car from where I was able to shoot her (as seen in the above photo). Now when I see this photo, I shiver with fear because had she got up and ran after us, at least one of us would have been caught.

Our next stop was the compound of the blackbuck habitat – now we need not fear and went as close as possible and saw them being fed. They were in hundreds and when the ran, they left behind huge smoke of dust.
Here I my add that Lal Suhanra National Park was declared a national park on 26 October 1972. Originally, the park comprised an area of 31,355ha, of which 20,932ha were desert, 8,488ha irrigated forest plantation and 1,934ha reservoir; it was due to be enlarged by 22,680ha. It is crossed by the dried-up bed of the Hakra River and features an important wetland, Patisar Lake. Blackbuck which is virtually extinct in the Cholistan Desert, is being raised in Lal Suhanra within large enclosures, together with Chinkara gazelle, Nilgai antelope, Hog deer and Indian rhinoceros. There is big lake in the centre of the park called Patisar Lake, which is ideal for bird watching. Patisar Lake regularly holds between 10,000 and 30,000 ducks and common coot in mid-winter. Over 13,00 waterfowl were present in January 1987. The park also supports a large population of birds of prey.

Photos - Personal Photos 
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S A J Shirazi said...

This reminds me of six years of my service in Multan-Bahawalpur - lovely people, lovely area.

Admin said...

I have been to the Lal Sohanra a number of times. It's indeed a good place to find solace.