Article by: Sushil Chikane

Image Credit: Sushil Chikane

Maximus said the name and yes it was to it’s name!

I was travelling through remote villages and Community Conserved Areas of Nagaland with TERI. Their hard work has paid off 4 years and 3 villages have come up with their own wildlife areas with hunting and fishing completely banned. A region where wildlife still is hunted, this gave a window of hope for revival of wildlife. Still very raw, this project will grow and set an example for other villagers around I hope. 
I joined TERI team to understand the project and present alternative sustainable sources of employment and income in these 3 villages. I was travelling with a buddy Yatish Lele from TERI and I am so glad he was around on the trip. It was a cultural drift for me trying to understand Nagaland. But thanks to Yatish, most confusions were sorted easily. Another advantage of Yatish being around was both of us during our college days were from the Pune’s Herp Gang- this was no gang but young people who were keen on studying reptiles and amphibians and would just need an excuse to go on field. We knew it was too cold and surely not a good time to find herps. But we were adamant. The night this picture was clicked, we were in the 3rd village. We had visited a neighboring village who wanted to join our project as the 4th village. This was the village of the Snake Hunters. But we were outsiders and hence were not hosted for any snake hunts . But we got their permission to take an hour long walk in their tribe region with few conditions- we dont go deep into forest and walk along the road. To this they agreed. When the night fell most locals of the village we stayed in thought we would have forgotten about the night trail but we had not. People there are not used to going on night trails and surely not for finding frogs and snakes. The only person who agreed to go along was our car driver. We reached the place to which we had decided to start our trail from. We asked the car guy to follow us after a time that he thinks its not safe for us to be by ourselves. We were not scared of anything as our minds were driven by the urge for find stuff there. We walked for the first 45 mins and nothing. It was too cold for anything to show up maybe. Our eyes glued to each side of the road as we walked. It was then that we realized the car followed us throughout keeping no gap. The car guy was scared he said. We had a big laugh over it. Me and Yatish who were on foot were fine but the guy locked in the car felt scared. We by then had only 10 mins to find animals. Just then on a Bamboo leaf we spotted this beauty sitting. On close inspection the frog jumped to a neighboring bush. This image was clicked clicked instu without any setup.

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