05 December 2013

Leopard at Bandipur Forest

Bandipur National Park, established in 1974 as a tiger reserve under Project Tiger, is a national park located in the south Indian state of Karnataka. It was once a private hunting reserve for the Maharaja of the Kingdom of Mysore. Bandipur is known for its wildlife and has many types of biomes, but dry deciduous forest is dominant. [From Wiki]
Bandipur National Park is around 217 Km from Bangalore and takes 6+ hours to reach by car. This an excellent place for all nature and wildlife lovers, as this forest is filled with wildlife.

We had Jungle Lodges pre booked for Nov-30-13 to Dec-1-13. As usual my dream of sighting and photographing big cats was only minutes away. 

Day 1-Nov-30-13: Around 3:00 pm the safari started and we were taken in to the forest, just after reaching shot distance into the forest the vehicle driver spotted the pug marks of a female Tiger and started tracking. After few minutes driver received a phone call from another safari vehicle, our driver was informed that there was a Tiger spotted in the near by area. And we ruched through the jungle road to the area where the tiger was spotted but we had not luck of spotting. The search for Tiger continued till 6:30pm, between this time all we saw was Gaurs and Deers in the forest and plenty of time was spent in tracking the pug marks. Finally it was dark and we were heading back to camp and on the way we had a surprise waiting. It was a Tiger cub doing the evening royal walk and marking the territory. Since it was very dark none of the photographs were good, and even the video is also worse. But I was not bothered about the pictures at all. 

As this was my first tiger sighting I was really exited and was congratulating my friends in the safari vehicle. It was the moment when my dream came true and unforgettable time of my lifetime. We sighted this tiger for about 5 minutes. Our vehicle was only few meters following the Tiger from back and this experience was really awesome. 

Day 2 - Dec-01-13: The safari started at 6:00 am, After entering into the forest it was more of birding in the morning and as usual lots of deers and gaurs was sighted. There was no evidence of any fresh tiger pug marks. While moving forward the vehicle driver stopped the vehicle and started pointing towards a tree and told us there is a Leopard on the tree, It was such a intense moment there were so many trees around and the Leopard was around 600 meters away from us. Thanks for the experienced driver and guide Mr.Kiran who spotted the Leopard. This Leopard was on the tree looking around for its morning meal. The sighting happened for very few minutes and the leopard got down from the tree and disappeared in to the bushes. As we were hearing the Langur calls we planned to stay in that point for another 20 minutes waiting for the leopard to cross the road but the Leopard had different plans.
As we entered the deeper area of the forest there were few pug marks where three tigers were marched together, but the pug marks looked 30 to 60 minutes old. But there was no sighting of Tiger this morning and since we were running out of time we returned back to the camp.

Here are the pictures of this trip: (More pictures will be uploaded later this week)



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