The mere mention of the word tiger is enough to get the adrenaline rushing for most people. If they see one, even if it were a glance, they feel blessed. I remember a sighting in Bandipur when a jeep full of people were dumbstruck throughout the ten minute sighting and spoke only after the tiger left. Such is the charisma of the striped cat.
People from all over the world and of course India too, throng various national parks and tiger reserves that our country has to offer. Popular parks like Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Pench (Madhya Pradesh), Tadoba (Maharashtra), Ranthambhore (Rajasthan), Corbett Tiger Reserve (Uttarakhand), Mudumalai, Bandipur, Nagarhole, Periyar (Southern India) to name a few, host a large number of tourists, wildlife enthusiasts, photographers every year. The agenda of the trip is very clear in their minds – Tiger!
Yesterday, 29th July was International Tiger Day, an annual celebration to raise awareness for tiger conservation. I think we must celebrate the existence of this magnificent creature everyday.
The above image is of a tigress from the Bandipur, fondly called Gowri. Many visitors that evening felt blessed as she graced us with her presence. Having raised multiple litters, she has left behind her legacy in Bandipur. To many more tigers and many more sightings!
Image shot with: Canon 300 2.8 IS II + 1D Mark III
A Wednesday in Bandhavgarh (tiger reserve in Central India). The park remains closed for afternoon-evening drives. To make use of every minute available before the afternoon sets in, we headed out towards the outskirts of the reserve with our guide with a promise of sighting a Fox. He took us to a spot where a fox apparently had a den. Setting a perimeter away from the den, a temporary hide was up in a jiffy and stood in wait.
Half an hour of waiting…. There was movement on the other side of the hide and we see a jackal entering. Staying wary of the “hide”, she sniffed around and to our surprise went halfway into a hole in the ground.
“Sir, she’s hungry and has entered the fox’s den to hunt. There must be pups!” whispered the guide. Taking photos, I was praying that the jackal stays unsuccessful in its effort to kill the pups.
Moments later, the fox (presumably the mother) sneaked up to the jackal only to be chased away by the predator much larger than her. Having chased the fox away, the jackal resumed her search in the fox’s den.
Anxious moments passed with the helpless fox watching and hoping her pups don’t get caught in the jaws of the hunter.
Finally it all came to an end. The frustrated jackal gave up and left the den and fox alone. Relieved that the predator had left, the fox sat within vicinity of the den on the lookout for other predators.
Minutes later, we left the hide too in relief that no pups were killed. Nevertheless an exciting encounter was witnessed.