The broad-leafed forested hills and riverine valley habitat at Vanghat offer a rich mix of wildlife as diverse as our neighbour, Jim Corbett National Park.
Our largest visitors are herds of elephants which amble through the valley, often peacefully between the buildings of the property itself, something accounted for in the design of the lodge, and their trail of browsed fruits and grasses is unmistakable. Wild boar and porcupine are our most rambunctious guests, leaving numerous holes and burrows in the wake of their rummaging.
Deer species, such as Barking Deer (also known as the Indian Muntjac) and large Sambar Deer are commonly seen in the valley, and troops of langurs often pass through. The Himalayan Goral (a shy goat-antelope species) can be frequently seen on the rock faces of the valley opposite the lodge, and the extremely rare Himalayan Serow Antelope was photographed here in what was likely a first for the region. The distinct alarm calls of these animals, echoing from the forest from dusk until dawn, tell us of a predator's presence.
Though sighted only on occasion, cat species are in abundance around Vanghat, with fresh pug marks seen almost daily in the valley all throughout the summer and winter months (November to June). The forests around Corbett Tiger Reserve are home to one of the highest densities of tigers outside any protected area (PA) in India. Leopards are also present, but are famously more circumspect of unwanted human contact than tigers. Other felines, such as jungle and leopard cats, and other predators including Indian python, cobra, mongoose, and marten, have been spotted. Both Sloth and Himalayan Black Bears are occasional visitors too.
Apart from the immense Golden Mahseer and Goonch (a giant catfish); Smooth-coated Otters and Mugger Crocodiles are also seen around Vanghat.
More than anything, however, Vanghat plays host to an exceptional variety of birdlife. The Corbett landscape boasts around 600 species, both resident and migrant. A rich mix of forest, riverine, and mountain species can be sighted here year-round, with the winter months being especially good for migratory birds.
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