Eighth Safari in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, and my eyes and camera were still searching for a clear view of the king of the jungle. Disappointed, as we planned to call it a day, we heard an alarm call. An atmosphere of uneasiness appeared amongst the birds and langurs on the trees around us and it was sure that there was a tiger around. But we were unable to see it and also unable to recognise the animal who gave the call.
Soon as we turned at the crossing, a female Sambar came running from the bushes in front and after crossing our gypsy went back into the jungle. But the alarm call and other noises continued. We stopped and tried to see what was going on?
The call kept moving, which indicated that the tiger was moving about, but soon the calls became irregular and infrequent. Our eyes kept following the female Sambar and suddenly we saw the tigress chasing a sambar calf behind the trees. Our patience has paid off, but dense dried grass only allowed us to view the entire game with no chance of photographing the killing.
The entire game sequence happened right in front of us – the chase which resulted in the calf getting separated from her mother and eventually being killed by the tigress. The alarm calls and then the crying noises of the sambars made me a little sad but the tigress jumped and pounced on the calf, killing it and then played with the dead body for a while before dragging it into deeper jungle to finally sit down and enjoy her lunch.
The word about this killing spread like jungle fire, and when we returned to the spot after some time, we found 5 other gypsies parked on the tracks and the almighty queen of the jungle enjoying the warm sun after her lunch. She sat there in the middle of the tracks and was totally unamused by our presence.
This gave all of us more chances of watching her and taking her pictures. Even during her sleep she obliged the crowd and gave some exquisite poses I haven’t seen before. Well, actually there is no substitute for first-hand experience and therefore this entire sequence of events since the morning got etched in my memory as the most stunning experience of my wildlife safaris.
Different moods of the Empress of the jungle
I made full use of my zoom lens there to capture the entire action sequence… one of the memorable moments of my wildlife experience. Tadoba gave more than I expected, much more…. I fell in love with the forest… came back to the resort with wonderful memories of the lovely, cute Moharli tigress
In the end, to summarise, apart from Tiger, Leopard, Gaur and Sloth Bear, I managed to spot a number of mammals which are uncommon to be seen in other forests like Jungle Cat, Barking deer, Sambar, Wild Boar, Four-horned antelope and Wild dogs, etc. Not only mammals – I spotted a few species of birds too.