If Rannvijay Singh had his way, he would have traveled to different parts of the country, exploring different landscapes – from mountains to beaches, deserts to backwaters. In a way, Safari India is like a dream come true for them. The show has taken them to seven national parks across the country as they explore India’s rich wildlife, one forest at a time. Handing over Singha, he recounts the experience of a lifetime:
What convinced you to be on this show?
I got a call from the makers, they said that they want to do a show that includes seven wildlife safaris in India. But [the job] It was not about getting into the vehicle and watching the animals. This involved interacting with local people, forest officials, tribals, villagers, naturalists and people who dedicated their lives [to forests], it was a trip [that drew me], We shot Safari India over 28 days in seven different wildlife parks – Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand, Kaziranga National Park in Assam, Pakke Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh, Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, Gir National Park in Gujarat, Goa in Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary and Dubare Elephant Camp in Karnataka.
Rannvijay on safari in Arunachal Pradesh
Did being a part of an adventure reality show for years help navigate the show?
My father was in the military, so I went to nine different schools. I have seen a different side of India which ordinary citizens do not get. I was a player in school and college, and used to go to tournaments in different parts of the country. I was always traveling; This is how I got selected to appear on a special adventure reality show [Roadies], Although I have been to Jim Corbett and Kaziranga before, this time I had an exciting experience. Geographically, India is the most blessed country because we have [it all] – Himalayas, beaches, backwaters, deserts and rain forests. India is also an affordable destination for tourists. The show is a step to encourage more people to come to India not only for its traditions and historical places but also for the wildlife.
There are constant reports about the loss of forests and the lack of wildlife. Do you think India has improved wildlife conservation?
There is a belief that forests are being cut because we have grown up learning this. Kaziranga is prone to floods, often resulting in deforestation and loss of animals. I met some senior officials in Kaziranga who claim that if the place does not flood, the ecosystem will deteriorate in the next few years. The animals depend on wetlands and vegetation. Flooding is a natural selection process for the fittest to survive. The forest which was earlier only 432 sq km has increased to 1300 sq km. In the last one year, one incident has come down in the case of poaching of rhinos after the government became active. Initially there were only 12 to 18 Asiatic lions in the Gir forest, and according to the last census in 2020, we now have 674. The situation has improved in the last 15 years.
The trips must have been full of memorable moments.
Some moments are special because they are more physical than others. We saw two bear cubs in the woods, at Revling Camp. One of the female cubs, Kali, hugged my leg. It was emotional. We saw the hump-nosed snake in Goa, which is something you don’t see in winters. We saw it on the road during a night safari and saved it. On my first day at Jim Corbett, I photographed a baby elephant playing in the mud with its mom and dad. Usually, you have to wait 60 odd days to get the correct picture.