At the Bandipur forest reception, a couple of department drivers informed me about a leopard sighting that happened earlier that morning.
A spotted deer (chital) had been hunted the previous night and the leopard perched on the tree with its prized kill and a full tummy. The morning visitors were treated to this glorious sight. Assuring that the leopard would still be at the same spot, the drivers wished me luck.
Entering the forest at 4 pm, we headed straight to the spot where the leopard was last seen. A few vehicles were already lined up, the leopard must still be there, I thought to myself. Driver/guide Siddhu pointed in the direction of the leopard.
He was perched quite contentedly on the lowest branch of the canopied tree. With lantana bushes coming in the way, I had to stand and attempt taking photos with a heavy lens and no support. To make matters worse, the other occupants in the jeep were literally jumping up and down in excitement. Mutiple shusshss’ and please don’t shake the vehicle…did not help either. I managed a few frames, before the rest of the vehicles lined up with loud excited visitors. Too much noise disturbed the afternoon siesta and the leopard came down the tree to hide in the thick foliage. Divers and naturalists told us the deer kill was on the ground and the leopard must be feeding on it.
We left the spot and drove around other parts of the forest seeing umpteen number of birds, gaur, elephants and a transformed Bandipur Tiger Reserve. Lush greens and previously dry waterholes were now filled up. Well, most of them at least. It was a good feeling to be back in my favourite reserve after a bout of heavy rains.
On the return lap of the safari, we drove back to the leopard spot. He was now seated on a higher branch and was in and out of sleep. I made a few images and a video too.
As the sun set and it got colder, Mr. Leppy curled up (not literally) and went to sleep.
The fully fed leopard was content with his meal and I was content with the evening drive and a refreshed and transformed Bandipur Tiger Reserve.
Images made with Nikon D750 and 600 f4 VR II