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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Tiger Safari News

Tiger safari news

Jeep safari rates in tiger reserve like Kanha, Bandhavgarh and Pench and others in MP will change from January on wards....Read ..................

The above is applicable to park entry of vehicles. There has been a restriction imposed on entry of vehicles for excursion in the forests. The number of vehicle allowed to enter the preserves would be limited.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Tiger Articles and stories

Find interesting account of tiger adventure

Tiger Sighting

The above articles offer interesting account of wild adventure in Indian forests. The author enjoys jungle life and is fond of endangered Bengal tiger and the leopard in India.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pench tiger reserve

Nestled in the Satpura mountain ranges Pench tiger reserve is famous for being the place where Mowgli the wolf child was first discovered. He is the hero of Rudyard Kipling book “The Jungle Book” which is a world famous book and has highlight Indian jungle life to readers all over the world. Along with Mowgli, Akela the wolf, Bagheera the black panther, Sher Khan the tiger and Baloo the bear became famous as well. This book on Indian jungles offers the finest depiction of Indian wild animals. The movie “Jungle Book” is based on this book and is produced by Walt Disney Pictures.

The preserve is named after Pench a perennial river which flows through the park and is the lifeline of this National Park. Pench tiger reserve is situated in the state of Madhya Pradesh in the district of Seoni near Jabalpur which is well connected by rail and air. Numerous bus services are available to reach Khawasa which is 10 kilometer from the park gate. Pench is well connected with Nagpur by road which is 80 km and has an airport too. Nagpur offers flight services from Mumbai and Delhi to visitors on tiger tour to see Indian tiger and other wildlife. Apart from the Bengal tiger one can see large herds of Bison or Gaur, Sambar, Spotted deer and barking deer. One needs lots of luck to see the leopard, sloth bear and Indian wolf at the park. Tourism at

Pench is well organized and many resorts and lodges are available that offer luxury accommodation as well as economic fare to budget traveler. The travelers can hire jeep for tiger safari tour into the park. Tiger sighting is high at Pench and elephant rides conduct tiger show for the eco tourist to sight the magnificent tiger in the wild.

Although tourism is new to Pench tiger reserve sightings of the tigers are quite high and it ranks along with Bandhavgarh and Kanha in having a high population density of tigers as the statistics inform.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Indian Wildlife

Indian Animals
CatsFamily= Felidae. Claws adapted to strike and hold prey. Teeth designed to bite cut and tear flesh. Supreme in combination of grace strength and agility.

Senses all highly developed. Bristling Whiskers are sensory tactile organs.

Largest eyes. A well developed system of muscles within the eye contracts and dilates the pupil as per needs. (In smaller cats the pupil contracts to narrow perpendicular slit, while bigger cats have small circular opening. In dark pupil dilates to maximum to allow as much light as possible to enter and fall on a highly sensitive retina.

Feet. A
Bengal tiger tracks show only impressions of toes and deeply cushioned pad. There is no trace of sole or heel. Cats walk on toes- digitigrade movement. The raising the heel and the sole alters the balance of the body throwing it forward and increases the impetus of the movement. A cat’s spoor show only 4 toes but the fore foot has five toes where in the 5th toe is set high on the limb. Hind foot has 4 toes.

Teeth. (30) When jaws close the canine interlock. Canines are fang like and separated from other set of teeth to ensure complete penetration. Canines are supported on powerful short jaws by great biting muscles for whose attachment special provision is made in wide sturdy cheek arches and bony crest of the skull.

Canines and incisors are weapons for seizing, holding and biting.The cutting of meat is work of Molar or Cheek Teeth one-on each side both upper & lower Jaw-Carnassial or flesh tooth. (Crowns are compressed into sharp cutting blades indicating excusive diet of flesh.
Carnassial or flesh-tooth(modification of molar teeth) is large and well developed, set in that part of jaws where the biting muscles exerts the greatest pressure. Flesh teeth are ideal for shearing flesh off bones and crushing hard food.Incisor teeth (six in nos.) are small pincer shaped used to gnaw soft gristly ends of bones to scrap tendinous attachment of muscles.

Jaws: Lower jaw moves on transverse hinge which gives strength to joint but limits side to side movement (Not required). In up & down motion sharp bladed cheek teeth work against each other like scissors to cut meat.

Tongue is rasp like. Taste buds are small set on margins.Mos numerous are conical papillae encased in horny pointed sheaths which cover the tongue. These sharp rigid points give the action of rasp suited for licking bones.
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Civets

Family Viverridae.Most related to cats.General characteristics. Nocturnal. Keen eyes, smell and hearing. The facial vibrissae or whiskers are mobile and can be switched backwards and forwards. Depend less on hunting live partly on vegetable matter. They are seed dispersal agents too. Ex. Peepul.

Feet. Short compact feet. Claws well protect and retractile. True civets(Viverrinae)-Can climb well but rarely do look for food on ground. They walk on their toes. Paws are small and compact. Pads are well cushioned and soles are covered with hairs.

Tree Civets (Paradoxurinae). Retractibility varies. Feet are built for climbing. They are plantigrade-entire sole is pressed to ground. The foot is short and broad and all toes are set a level. Sloes are hairless. Longer more sinuous bodies & longer tail.

Teeth (40). Meat eaters have more molars with sharp blade like crowns. Molars are built for cutting meat and grinding vegetables. True civets have broad crowned many cusped molars.

Tree civets are molar teeth are more broader crowns.

Tongue: Civets have smooth tongue. Rasp is not required as they crush bones and swallow them.

Defence. Stink glands –some civets discharge a yellow fluid from their anus at the attacker. Masked with dark and light hair. A warning coloration.

The Small Indian Civet: Viverricula indica. Over 3 ft in entire length. One foot tail. Wt ¾ kg. fond of ber tree.Twany grey or greyish brown, lined and streaked on back. Spotted more or less on in rows along flanks. Some cross bars on neck. Tail ringed.Ground civet heavy forests, long grass or scrub. Shelters in holes. Rocks or grass. Attack by stealth.

The Common Palm Civet or Toddy Cat. Paradoxurus hermaphroditus.Head and body 2 ft. tail 2 feet. Wt3/4 .5 kg. Limbs dark black or brown. Black or brownish civet. Long coarse hair. White Patch below eye. Sometimes one above it & one on each side of nose.
Habitat. Well Wooded lives much on trees. Mango trees or pal trees favorite.
Large Indian Civet. Viverra zibetha. Length less than 5 ft. Erectile crest long deep black in color on back. Dark hoary grey washed with yellow or brown. Dark bands may ornament chest and shoulders & form loops & rosettes on hind quarters.Tail ringed.
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MongooseFamily Herpestidae.
General Characteristics. Small ears rarely project above head. Less semicircular than Civets. Made up of series of complicated folds which can shut down over one and another completely closing the ear too assist in burrowing. Attacks openly. Rushes and pounces too. Digs out its victim. Sits on haunches or hind claws to increase the vision range. Bangs eggs on floor or sucks out the contents of bird eggs. Stink glands but only Striped Neck and Crab eating mongoose use them.. Have anal glands anus enclosed in a glandular sac. More predatory in habit live by hunting. Less sensitive to snake poison.
Claws: are long very long digging claws. Feet splayed, digits freer. Teeth. Sharp Bladed meat cutting teeth. Thorny patch on tongue is thorny papillae used as rasping tool.
Common Mongoose. Herpestes edwardi nyula. Grizzled pepper and salt appearance. Hair alternately ringed with black and white. Length 3 ft.wt 1.4 kg. Males heavier and bigger. Tail tipped with white or yellowish black.
Small Indian Mongoose. Herpestes auropunctatus. 18 to20 inches. Small, short tailed, olive brown, gold flecked, soft silky fur.
Lives in holes burrowed by itself. Diurnal in habit.
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HyenasFamily Hyena. Legs like dogs’ skull and teeth like cats. Broad head with long pointed erect ears. Facial vibrissae or whiskers poorly developed.
Fore limbs are long and sturdy. Hindquarters drooping supported on short knock kneed hind legs. Walks on its toes. Four on each foot. Claws short and blunt. Non-retractile.
Jaws: large and powerful for crushing bones. Shape of skull to provide good attachment for powerful muscles which work with jaws and teeth.
Teeth are large but canines less developed. Molars are large and strong. Second and 3rd premolars have massive conical crowns. These teeth have large basal ridge which acts as guard to protect gums when bone is being crushed.
Anal glands in a large sac hung above anus.
Habits. Scavenger Hunts rarely. Nocturnal. Sight plays little part, hearing none at all. When cornered by dogs the animal lies motionless the dogs loose interest in a supposedly dead creature.
Striped Hyena. Hyaena hyaena. Length total 5feet. Ht 3ft. Wt 38.5 Kg female 34 kg. Mating in cold weather young are born in hot weather.
DogFamily: Canidae
Well shaped head, large pointed muzzle, large erect ears, deep chested muscular body (lung power), bushy tail, slender, sinewy limbs. Professional Hunters.Exceedingly keen sense of smell. Sight & hearing acute.
Feet. Not designed for striking or seizing prey. Small and compact. Claws short and blunt. Toes held together by elastic rimmed webs, well cushioned pads.
Jaws& Teeth. (42) Long jaws provide space for wide array of teeth. Jaws controlled by powerful cheek muscles for holding. Canines separate from other incisor teeth for interlocking. Incisors are forwardly placed for biting gnawing and stripping skin. Cheek teeth have compressed triangular crowns while largest flesh teeth have two great cusps for cutting meat sideways. Tuberculated crowns are well adapted for cracking bones and crunching.
Wolf. Canis lupus.Ht 2.2 ft to 2.6 ft. length 3ft to 3.6 ft tail 1 ft+ Wt 18 -27 kg.Large skull. Breeding season end of rains.Seven Molar teethJackal Canis aureus. Ht1.5 ft.length 2ft to 2.6 ft. Wt 8-11 kg. Scavenger and hunter. Hunts small animals. Sometimes hunts in pack a small deer. Breeding season any.Seven Molar teeth
Indian Fox. Vulpus bengalensis. Lt.1.6ft. tail 1ft+, Wt 1.8 to 3kg.
Wild Dog (Dhole). Cuon alpinus. Ht 1.5 to 2 ft. Head & Body 3ft. tail 1.5 ft. Wt 20 kg. Legs shorter. Tail bushy, ears rounded at tip. Six molar teeth in lower jaw. 12-14 teats.
BearsFamily Ursidae.
General Characteristics. Smell dominant sense. Hearing & sight poor. (Auditory bullae-bony prominences in skull placed behind ear opening are flat & depressed. Swollen and well developed in animal with keen sense of hearing.)Sense variably developed in bears. Sloth is comparatively short scented. Brown Bear sense of smell stronger Himalayan black bear can see and hear better. Facial vibrissae rudimentary. Omnivorous.(Hibernation) Body mechanism brought to standstill. Hear action reduced, temperature falls below normal.Feet. Adapted to climbing. Limbs powerful, feet padded, and great claws. Broad naked soled feet. (Climbing species have matted hair on soles) Inward twist to fore paw in tree climbing bears this compels a bear to strike with a round arm swing.
Teeth. Low flat crown of cheek teeth designed for crushing. Not cutting planes to cheek teeth, flesh teeth in distinguished fro other molars.


Sloth Bear. Melursus ursinus.
General characteristics. Sloth bear sleep in open (tall grass or under shade of tree) in winters. In hot 7 rains in caves and dens. Tolerates heat better than tiger but constantly thirsty.
Ht. 2.2 ft to 2.9 ft. Lt. 4.5 to 5.5 ft. Wt Males. 127 to 145 kg. Fem. 64 kgs upwards.
Elongated muzzle & grizzled appearance. V breast patch. Longer claws on fore feet.
Feed in hot weather on banyan, figs, Mahua, mango, jamun, bael, ebony. Large rock bee (apis dorsata) smaller forest bee (apis indica). Insects, termites.
Breeding hot weather. Gestation seven months. Maturity2-3 yrs.
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Flying Squirrel.
Class Mammalia. Order Rodentia.
Limbs connected with membrane or a parachute.
Large Flying squirrels.Large Brown Flying squirrel: Petaurista petaurista philippensis. General Characteristics. Nocturnal. Roost in a hole in a tree. May sleep on its back with parachute open to keep cool. Food is fruits barks resin gum. Insects. Larvae. Loud alarm call and chattering cry.
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Artiodactylia-even toed ungulates. Oxen, sheep, pigs, deer, antelopes, camels.
Family Bovidae. Oxen, sheep, goats, antelopes & gazelles.
GaurFamily Bovidae. Bos gaurus.
Feet’ shod with horny hooves to face rough terrain (All hoofed animals walk on tips of their toes and no. of toes are reduced not more than 4). 3rd & 4th toe greatly developed equal hooves which encase these present flat surface to each other & look like a single hoof cleft in two hence ‘cloven hoofed’. Others reduced. Ist toe is wanting. 2&5th either reduced or absent.Hooves of gaur small close knit for hard stony ground. Buffalo hooves wide splayed for marshy life.
Teeth are for long mastication. Grinding teeth have broad crowns with fold and ridges of hard enamel braced on either side by soft layer of dentine which bears the brunt of grinding. No incisor teeth in upper jaw replaced by soft pad. Canines absent or rudimentary in upper jaw. Lower jaw has canine and incisors brought in close contact together-grass cropping apparatus.
Stomach is 4 chambered. 1st largest paunch serves to contain large quantity of hastily chewed food. Here it under goes softening process & returned to mouth in small boluses which is thoroughly chewed known as ruminating or chewing the cud.
Food when pulped enters 2nd chamber reticulum or honey comb as its walls are celled like honey comb. Here the food is pressed and shaped & sent into gullet from where it is sent to 3 rd & 4th chamber, actual digestion takes place in last chamber. Antelopes and Deers have similar complex stomach.
Horns of all Bovids persists for life, have a core of bone arising from skull & an outer sheath of true horn The outer sheath is hollow & can be removed from its bony core. Hence the name hollow-horned ruminants. This distinguishes them from Cervidae-ruminants with solid horns. Oxen horns of both male & female are nearly equal in size but in goats and sheep female horns are smaller.
In Gaur sense of smell keenly developed. No glands. Breeding. Rut March, April, May young seen from nov-march.
Sub-Family Antilopinae –antilopes & gazelles. General characteristics. Horns may be present in females are cylindrical & lyre shaped. Gland under eyes as in Black buck. Large inguinal glands (between groin) and between hooves.

Chinkara or Indian Gazelle. Gazella gazelle. 2 feet at shoulder. Wt 20-23 kgs. Horns 10-12 inches & of does 4-5 inches-15-25 rings. White streak down each side of face and dusky patch above nose. Can be waterless for long.Breeding peak is April, minor autumn. Gestation 5.5 months.Males territorial hold about 200 meter demarcated by fecal stations used repeatedly.
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Black Buck. Antelope cervicapra. Ht. 32 in at shoulder. Wt40kgs. Horns 20 inches. Horns. No spiral in 1st yr. In 2nd yr. large open spiral & 3rd year more spiral when black color is obtained. Breeding. All yr. main rut Feb, March.
Sub Familae- Boselaphinae- Horns are not ringed & keeled in front. Females do not have horns.

Four Horned Antelope or Chowsingha. Tetracerus quadricornis. Ht. 25 in. Posterior horns 3-4 inches. Anterior horns 1-+ inch. Glands between hooves of hind legs in both.Dark stripe in front of each leg more defined in fore leg. More dependant on water.Breeding. Hot weather and rains. Young are born ion Oct to feb. Gestation is 8 to 8.5 months.
Nilgai or Blue Bull. Boselaphus tragocamelus. Ht Male.52-56 in. Horns 8 in. Keeled triangular at base & circular at tips. Breeding all season. Gestation about 8 months.
Cervidae- Deer ruminants with solid horns. Large fissure or opening in skull below each eye –lachrymal fissure. Unlike Ox, tushes or canines are present in upper jaws. Unlike Bovidae gall bladder absent except in musk deer. Scent glands below eyes & between the hooves.
Swamp Deer. Cervus duvaucelli branderi. Ht 54. inch Wt. 170-180 Kgs. Horns 30 inch round curve. Less nocturnal.Breeding Rut Nov-Dec.
Sambhar- Cervus Unicolor. Ht 5 ft +. Wt 220-320 Kgs. Horns 26 inch in length and 38 inch in girth. Horns are shed in end March to May. Velvet during rains and clear by November. Rut Nov-Dec. Young are born in May & June.
Chital or Spotted Deer. Axis axis. Ht 36 in. Wt 85-90 kgs. Horns are shed in August & September. Velvet till end of Dec. Breeding. Rut in May. Breed in the interval of six months.
Muntjac or Barking Deer. Muntiacus muntjak. Ht.20-30 in. Wt.48 Kgs. Antlers short brow tine unbranched. Set on bony hair covered pedicels. Upper canines well developed used in defence. Have a frontal gland in forehead. Diurnal Main rut in winters. Has affinity for water & need to drink often.
Family Suidae.
Wild Boar. Sus scrofa. Ht. 36 inch. Wt 230kgs. Lower tusks 12. inch. Acute sense of smell.Young are born in two seasons. Before rains and after rains. Gestation four months. Prolific breeders.
Ape. Primates.
Many structural characters as man. Thumb is opposed to other fingers. Hand can pick and hold objects. Here limbs are for locomotion. Bones of hands are free and articulated to wrist such that palm can be moved up and down with ease.
Feet. Toes are long and flexible and thumb is large and opposed to fingers with such foot objects can be seized and held. Feet have become powerful grasping organs for climbing-human foot has lost this power.
Teeth – molar teeth have broad crowns with cusps and ridges for grinding tough vegetable matter.
Cheek pouch help cram food. Macaques have these but not Langurs. Langur’s stomach does his work. It is three chambered stomach. Macaques and baboons have a stomach of carnivorous animals as they are omnivorous.
Well developed vision and hearing.
Indian Monkeys. Family Cercopithecidae. Sub- family-Cercopithecinae—macaques Colobinae-Langurs.
Rhesus Macaque. Macaca mulatto. Wt 7-10kgs. Mating October to Dec. Birth March and June. Second Sept. to October. No birth in Nov. March.
Langurs. Hanuman Monkey. Presbytis entellus. Wt. 34 -36 kgs. Breeding AprilMay. Birth feb onwards. Gestation – 6 months.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A trip to Kanha

tiger
With old but enthusiastic lot…a group of ten seniors from United Kingdom. They traveled from UK to explore the wilds at Kanha Tiger Reserve. For most this was their first tiger tour and all were eager to see the tiger.

The tiger safari began on a dull note as we entered the park and for miles onwards we could spot nothing except the spotted deer and Hanuman langur, the two most common denizens of Indian jungles.
Wild bison
I could see disappointment writ large on the faces of my esteemed guests.

“Are there any tigers here?” They inquired.
“Yes,” I said, “around a hundred.”

I could see the eyebrows rolling.

“We are here to enjoy everything here,” someone said.
“You won’t go disappointed,” I said. Now here was a crowd that was not a tiger chaser I thought.

But spotting the tiger is an ultimate joy and a desire harbored by all visitors to the park.

As we could not locate tigers and other major mammals we opted for an elephant ride and bingo there…a full grown male tiger awaited us in the deep recess of the forests. I could see the cameras clicking and hear the whirr of the movie cameras. Jungle

Satisfied we moved back to the jeep safari and strolled through the grassy meadows and dense jungles between the forested mountains sighting birds and small life as we went past.

The three days of visit brought wild bear, sambar, hard ground barasingha and wild dogs into our sight and more birds.

And then the farewell…smiling faces…loud cheers…and a promise to return and meet Mr. Tiger and his friends again.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Tiger Safari Basics

The majestic tiger is the World’s most enchanting and magnificent animal. To see tiger is a dream for many and the best places to see tiger are in Central Indian tiger reserves of Kanha, Bandhavgarh and Pench. These National parks have the highest density of tiger population among Indian preserves, hence a wildlife lover and conservationist will stand the maximum chance of sighting the rare, elusive tiger in India.

The best option for a wild tiger safari is to book your tiger tour through and eco travel agency that offers package tours in which you travel in groups to your destinations for watching Indian birds and amazing wildlife. The package tours are usually of about two weeks and itinerary includes historical places like the Taj Mahal at Agra and the Red Fort, Kutub Minar to name a few. It could also include a visit to Khajuraho temples in Madhya Pradesh. India is vast so you could be traveling North, South or East and West depending upon the destinations you plan to visit but for tiger sighting MP offers the best chance.

Once you have booked your tour for an independent travel or in a package tour. You need to prepare in advance before you arrive in India.

Learn about the weather and climate beforehand so you can fetch clothes accordingly. Buy a book on Indian wildlife/birds and read well to understand Indian animals and birds. Hire naturalist guide which any way the Indian tour operators provide often. By knowing beforehand about the wildlife and birds you are going to enjoy the tiger reserves better and will get a holistic view of Indian environment.

Keep at hand a good camera, photography accessories; binocular and useful books on Indian birds and Bengal tiger. Most of the wildlife sanctuaries are in deep interiors and you may not get a medicine or a beverage of your choice so keep them in your bag and of course cash at hand.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tiger Tour Guide

I have added important resources for tiger tour which I am sure those interested in wild jungle safari in India will find useful. The links are about project tiger and major Indian National Parks and Tiger reserves.

The links also give a brief on Indian wildlife for naturalist guides, nature lovers and conservationists. My effort is to provide all tiger tour details at one spot for eco tourist traveling in India to see tiger and Indian wild life.
I would welcome suggestion from the reader on how to improve this blog by adding important travel info to make a travelers trip a success.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Wild Safari

Do you wish to experience tiger adventures or read about then in an online wildlife magazine.

The thrill of tiger sighting is well known but then have you encountered a tiger on kill.

Have you seen a tiger mock charge and roar while posturing an aggressive stance.

Or a tiger ambushing a bison which can be a 1000 kilograms in weight. At least four times its weight.

Have you seen tigers mating or a scuffle between two full grown male tigers over a female in heat.

Have you seen a tiger chasing a leopard - its arch rival. Or pummeling an irritating wild dog to death.

Have you seen a tiger cub or cubs. There cannot be a more beautiful moment in your life than when sighting tiger cubs. They are an epitome of beauty, innocence and impish delight that delights us so much when exhibited by our own young ones.

Have you seen a crested hawk eagle pouncing on a full grown peacock. The raptor strikes with amazing speed and ferocity and the prey is lifeless in minutes.

Have you heard the alarm calls of spotted deer and the sambar.

Have you heard the loud bugle like mating calls of the swamp deer. Have you visited the tiger land or seen a tiger at all, if not then go for a tiger safari now.
Visit Pench, Kanha or Bandhavgarh now for more information contact me. Uday Patel

Friday, August 24, 2007

Tiger Sighting

The most thrilling moment in one's life is sighting the rare and elusive tiger and that is what a tiger tour offers to a tourist. Most of the tiger sighting in Indian tiger reserves is on elephant back but for the lucky ones they can come across a tiger on the jungle trek. This happens less but when you experience such an adventure it is simply breathtaking. The moment is filled with spine tingling fear and excitement though the fear is unfounded as the tiger is a thorough gentlemen. Harmless if undisturbed. It follows the law of the jungle to tee.

The King of the forest has been so ignominiously treated by the humans that he is on the brink of extinction। For a tiger lover or an eco tourist, those who venture into the wild seeing a tiger is not enough, he should strive to save the tiger any which way he can।

The tiger is just not for tourism he is an important aspect of the environment being on the top of the food chain and an indicator species that tells the state of the forest. These forests are important for man as the source of precious water and food. This fact very few people understand specially urban dewellers.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Online tiger tour booking in India

In excitement of sighting a tiger in the wild one forgets to checklist places to see the Indian tiger in the wild. The best places to see the tiger in the wild are Indian tiger reserves like Kanha, Bandhavgarh and Pench all are in Central India in the state of Madhya Pradesh.



These are the best places in India for tiger sighting due to very high density of tiger population. These places have the best set up for a tiger safari and have three star tiger resorts, camps and hotel for boarding and lodging in comfort.



There are many tiger tour operators that offer packages to tiger destinations. These journeys make it possible to see the tiger in its natural habitat. These travel agents offer different packages according to ones budget. The wild life camps and luxurious resorts are best suited for a stay in these jungles.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Tiger encounter of animal kind - Bengal tiger safari

It was in August end few years back when I was traversing through a forest patch in Central India. The patch was dense like what we see in jungle safari at Kanha tiger reserve or at Bandhavgarh. But being well aware of the status of the tiger I was sure there were none here. Any way it is a big order to expect to see tigers outide the national parks in India. As naturalist my curiosity is always turned on to expect the unexpected. I had seen a herd of deer and langur monkeys on my earlier visit to this part of the jungle and had heard of a leopard making its home here. But to see a tiger here...well!

I had conducted many tiger tours and toured all tiger reserves with the tourists but I had never seen a Bengal tiger outside the Indian reserves. Hence, when I was negotiating a bend of a steep climb I saw an animal moving up the slope adjacent to the road and one slip down to the other side of the road. In that spec of a moment I could not make out which animal it was. So I was expecting a spotted deer at the most since they are the most common animals in Indian wildlife and can be seen anywhere in Indian jungles in safari.

And my! When I reached the spot and directed the head lights towards the slope. "I froze". Yes it was a beautiful wild tiger standing right in front of me. And what the animal I had seen slipping down to the right of where my jeep was quite likely tigress. I could not believe the sight...It was a tiger for real. The animal looked at me with caution for some moments and then majestically climbed up the slope and vanished. I sat watching the tiger as it moved away from me nonchalantly. What a tiger adventures this I thought.

By now my excitement at this wonderful rare tiger sighting had reached it height and I sat stunned for some time. The quietly I drove away knowing well that my memory will be enriched for life at this memorable tiger sight.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Leopard Surprise - Tiger Safari Bandhavgarh

People chase tigers and they often get to see it with some luck. But you can't chase a Leopard and hope to see it. To see the elusive cat you have to be extremely LUCKY!!!. In spite of being so much in the Jungles of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve my first sighting of the Leopard was quite late.

It was some where ten years back one fine summer I along with my friend had just arrived at the Bandhavgarh National Park. This was my friend's first visit ever to an Indian forest.As luck would have it that evening on reaching Bandhavgarh we were ambling down the path that led to our rooms besides the Charanganga river at White Tiger Lodge when someone from among the visitors standing by the lawn shouted Leopard!. I ignored the call thinking that it was some "expert" who had mistaken a Jungle Cat for a Leopard . But moments later it, dawned upon me that it was the resort's manager's voice, a call I could definitely not, ignore.

We left our baggage in front of the door and joined the excited group which was frantically throwing light on the river bed from their torches. But the animal had by this time literary buried itself on the river bed. I asked the group to cut off the light and maintain a pin drop silence for a minute to which they complied eagerly. In that thrilling moment, we held unto our nerves tight and waited with baited breadth hoping to calm the alarmed Leopard.

Soon I signaled the torches on and.... Wow! there it was a full grown Leopard right in front of us. But the crowd could not hold on much longer and began to chatter excitedly. The Leopard , at first tried to climb up the nearest tree but came down from half the way and ambled quite leisurely in full view in the broad torch light, it soon crossed over the jungle and vanished.

I was as excited as my friend and others were. Our first sighting of the elusive cat that too on our arrival..and from the resort itself. What more could one want, thousand would arrive at the resort unpack and venture into the forest day in and day out, but few will see the elusive cat, very few in fact.

The forest life is very secretive in the Indian Jungles hence the excitement and thrill experienced on a chance encounter in tiger safari is indescribable.

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