When a Sambar Deer Disturbs a Sleeping Tiger …

Ben’s Update from Ranthambore on the Tigers of India Photo Tour:

Great … now that we have a stable internet connection, let us start with one of the photographs taken in the imposing forest at Corbett National Park.

We took the train from Delhi to Ranthambore Tiger Reserve. The six hour journey was truly fascinating from every aspect, and we arrived at our lodgings here in time for lunch. After our meal, and settling in to our accommodation we were ready for our first safari …

We found two tigers almost immediately. They were just a few hundred meters apart. The first was a female, resting in a lovely cool shady spot. The other was the dominant territorial male. He was fast asleep, also sheltering from the sun in some shade. The temperature in the late afternoon was around 40deg, and the cats understandably were very lethargic and not about to expend any energy.

We hung around, drifting from one tiger to the other, waiting for the afternoon to cool sufficiently for one of the two to decide to move. It was at around 5:15pm or so that a
Sambar Deer appeared and to our surprise it strolled very close to where the female was lying, oblivious and fast asleep. Well, we could hardly believe our eyes. What if the tiger woke up?

Of course the tiger sensed the deer and was awake and alert within a split second. She immediately started to stalk the Sambar, but the deer noticed her and gave out a loud alarm call before fleeing to a safe distance. It was really exciting moment, and although there was no actual hunt, the tiger was on the move. We followed her for a few hundred meters before she veered off and disappeared into thick vegetation quite far from the road.

The slumbering male was close to a water hole, so we dashed back in that direction, hoping that he might decide to visit the water hole for a drink. We stopped at the Waterhole and waited hopefully for him. And shortly before we had to return to our Lodge, there he came! He walked to the Waterhole and when he arrived he turned and reversed his body into the cool water. As he sank further and further into the water, one could actually see the relief on his face. Aaaah, the cool, we could almost imagine him thinking as the coolness spread and displaced the heat.

We photographed him as he lay in the comfort of the water and lapped and lapped at the coolness. We remained with him until it was time for us to make our way to the gates.

In the morning we would like to try and catch up with both tigers again …