Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Did Curiosity Kill The Big Cat?

Tiger Cub by Yves Blisson

Tiger Cub by Yves Blisson

Tiger Cub by Yves Blisson

Tiger Cub by Yves Blisson
With Yves & Maria - Esteemed Guests At Courtyard House Kanha

With her pugs huddled together, her body taught and tail in the air the tigress was in a position to spring forward and charge at us when I first saw her. The pug marks ended on the 4th mile at Kanha Zone. We have been following the pugs of a tigress with cubs at Kanha National Park. The cub had already been seen by a jeep on safari. 

"On 4th mile, a cub," the driver had informed us.             

As we traced the pugs, we soon came across smaller ones besides that of the tigress. "Mother with cubs I remarked." The jumble of pugs ended right there and the guide looked into bushes on left. Sitting there amongst the bamboo was a tigress, looking straight at us.

"On charge," I warned the driver as my French guests began to click excitedly. "Do not shake or move violently, I warned the guests who were  a bit  perturbed. 

We were quite alert, the dainty lass would have charged with a lightening speed. Blitzkrieg!             

It was a battle of wits, but the tigress gave in, frightened as big cats are of this ruthless two legged creature and his contraption. Afraid of her family being discovered she moved into hiding, making special efforts to tip toe. "Amazing," the guide remarked. I could see the big cat straining as she trudged into the safety of the bushes.  

"Not even a crackle of dead leaves," the guide remarked. The tigress soon vanished into the thick clumps and we moved a little ahead only to encounter the cub. This was perhaps his initiation of the surroundings with the bizarre creature facing him. 

It was a countenance filled with innocence, awe and wonder. Like all big cats he stood there confident and fearless. A picture of innocence I conjectured. Little did he knew that his future depends upon this strange two legged creature - uncaring, ruthless and full of greed. This was a strikingly beautiful encounter, perhaps one of the most awe inspiring moment of my life.      

The expert French photographer Yves was busy with his camera oblivious of all that was going in my mind. Time and again he turned around to shake hands with me, the guide and the driver."Merci". Short time after the rendezvous the cub vanished into the thickets.

"The tigress is watching us" I whispered to the guide and the driver. All the time she was watching us unseen while we were looking at the cub, I realized. She was again sitting in a position to strike at us. Although we were a good distance from her she could strike us any moment. This would have been mock charge I am sure. 

By now the photographer and his wife had realized the gravity of the situation. Just as he had stopped clicking the cub appeared besides the mother and then they both vanished.  

Better sense prevailed not amongst us but in the tigress. Feeling terribly insecure specially at her cub's proximity to us she was ready for a charge. But then sensing no real threat from us she gave peace a chance. No territorial claim as she quickly moved into the thickets with her cub in tow.      

This encounter was an eye opener. All the sagas of brave hunters killing the mighty beast the tiger as it charged at them were laid to dust. Certainly curiosity killed the big cat.

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