Sunday, November 30, 2014

Imprints: A Tiger on The Stroll

Kanha National Park - MP - India  

I could sense the excitement as we awaited the arrival of the General and his entourage at Kisli Rest House. The alarm cries were emanating from the Karai Ghati Road. We were assigned the Kanha Zone and I thought it would be a good idea to explore Dig Dola passageway that leads to Karai Ghati.  

The General and his family arrived and the jeep began to move. As we reached the Dig Dola Road alarm cries from the valley on the left signaled presence of the tiger. Assuming that the tiger had already climbed uphill we proceeded towards Dig Dola. 
The General At Courtyard House Kanha

No sooner had we proceeded few yards we came across fresh pug marks. "Tiger moving ahead," I whispered to the guide. We continued to move further along the side of the pug marks. From the placement of the imprints I could make out that the big cat is on a leisurely stroll.   

The General and has family had never seen a tiger on the wild. "There it is," the guide whispered, needless to point out the big cat was right on the middle of the road, a bit surprised by the intrusion. Cameras began clicking as the tiger moved on the road.

A big male tiger, I could make out that it was Kankata. The tiger was on a recce and as it moved it squirted pheromones along the track on the bamboo leaves. I was observing the imprints as the animal trudged ahead. 

The tiger's movement is known as a digitigrade movement since it walks on its digit. The actual foot pad is way high up on the hind legs up to where the fifth toe. Using this incredible appendage the animal moves absolutely silent amidst the dense forests and grasslands.     

Much to our delight the big cat trudged along the Dig Dola Road for quite some time. On the way he came across imprints of a tigress and began to scent. We hoped to see the tiger meeting the tigress but if wishes were tigers I would roar. 

After some time the tiger moved into the dense thickets and we proceeded to Kanha Meadow. Their wish fulfilled the General and his entourage sat down to replenish themselves with a hearty breakfast.      

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