Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Joy And Despair

Come October and all the tiger reserves in MP are abuzz with activities. In Central Indian Reserves the tiger safari starts from 16th of October every year. The tiger safari  in the beginning of the season is a new experience.  

This is the toughest season for tiger watching in India. Fresh from monsoon torrents the vegetation is rich and the canopy dense. There is water available everywhere besides plenty of prey spread all around. This is the least stressing time for the Bengal tigers in the country. With no need to make a forced move the big cat sighting is scarce. Many tourists go back disappointed since on many game rounds the tiger is not seem. 

The sightings in MP are further limited by division of tourism area, timings and limited route. Unlike earlier whence you could move around with will you cannot do so now. The jeep has to move in a particular direction and within the area specified. Well this is in order to cause less disturbance to the animals but I believe the regulations could be relaxed a bit since the vehicle numbers have already been limited. 

On recent tiger safari at Kanha we were hampered by these factors and my guests could not see the big cat. Most of the tigers start to move at dusk which is the time for the jeeps to exit the park. The morning safari pays much more dividend due to reasonable time. After couple of failed game drives we came across pug marks of tigress at Sal Ghat Hill. The tigress was moving downhill and we stopped at the point where we deduced that she would move across the fireline. 

The shrill alarm cries of the bison herd ascertained the presence of the tigress. Assured that we have made the right decision we waited. Then with the increase in alarm cries we could sense the movement. The tigress came close to us but remained hidden in the canopy. 

By now we could hear her soft roars close to us. I cherish these moments when I hear the roar of the tigers. The sound can best be described as ethereal. This was exciting and unnerving as we waited with baited breadth for her to come out. The excitement ran large on the face of my guest a lady from UK. But the hope and excitement turned into despair whence the tigress did not emerge and went further downhill.         

"So close yet so far!" I whispered to my guest who was visibly disappointed. "Well we had a close encounter," I tried to pacify her. "Quiet an experience," I tried to get the point home. But it was not to be for see wanted to see one. She had come from far just to see the tiger and I could not fulfill her wish. The consecutive drives where devoid of tiger sightings but we came across many wild animals that are as exciting to watch. The two guests who joined us from UK had already seen the tiger so birds and mammals enthralled them. 
Courtyard House Kanha
But yeah dil mange more..that's
the story of the tiger!           


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