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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tiger in the Bush

On my recent visit to Kanha, last week in June, I had a tough time locating tigers. It had rained a day before I arrived and continued to rain intermittently spoiling the tiger safari. Except for herds of Chittal and occasional sightings of Sambar deer it was difficult toe see any other animal.

On the second round of the wild life safari a barking deer went scurrying past too fast for my English guests to take some photographs. The rain kept troubling us and it was at times very heavy.

"Do we have a chance to locate the tiger?" Chris asked rather dejected.

"Very thin chance I replied." The tigers are inactive and their movement is limited as water and prey is available very close to them."

"So they keep to dense thickets?"

"Yes definitely Chris that is why there are no alarm cries or pug marks on the road." I replied unhappy that I was not able to show the tiger to my guests.

We did manage to see the Hard ground Barasingha, Gaur, a lone Jackal and eventually a Barking deer. And yes lots of birds. But my guests did not go away disappointed after all as we saw the Bengal tiger in a tiger show on the last round before leaving. It was the same tiger that had walked alongside us for a long time in January. The same tiger was well camouflaged hidden and sulking in the bush.

The camouflage was so perfect that even a few feet from the bush we could not make out that a tiger was sitting there in a bush and that even a large full grown tiger. The only clue was a partially eaten wild boar which it had hunted the night before.

With little bit of elephant maneuvers we could lay our eyes on the tiger and the guests could get some superlative images of the tiger as seen from the network of branches and twigs.