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.