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Tigers of India Photo Tour

A Surprise Kill in Front of Us …

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

We arrived at the park for our last full day at Ranthambore. What a final day – in fact, we enjoyed a whole day of tigers – from the first to the last moments.

As we entered the park we heard alarm calls from Spotted Deer and followed the sound. The deer were being stalked along a lake By a well-known female tiger in the area. We watched, waiting with baited breath. It was really exciting! Then the deer spotted the tigress and with her cover blown, the hunt ended. The tigress lay down in some tall grass and watched the area lazily, clearly not keen to continue her hunt at that stage.

After a while we moved on to collect our packed lunch that was delivered to the park gates for us.

After lunch we came across a beautiful young subadult female. She recently left her mother, being twenty two months old now. She is part of a litter of three cubs that survived to adulthood, and is the bravest of the three, being the first to start life on her own. She strolled along in magnificent scenery, scent-marking trees as she progressed. She moved through river gullies where she marked the bushes that flourish there.

Suddenly she veered away and started to move towards a herd of Sambar Deer. She moved slowly, probably aware that they could see her as they were alarm calling. She moved steadily and quite slowly … and then suddenly broke into a run. And seconds later she pounced on a sleeping Spotted Deer that we had not noticed – but she certainly had! It was sleeping under a tree right next to the alarm calling Sambar Deer, and slept through it all. Within seconds it was all over, and the young female had her kill … we could scarcely believe our senses! We sat in silent awe …

The young tigress settled down to eat her kill, and because the viewing was about a hundred meters away we decided to leave her to it. We had seen the action and drama, the highlight of the action, and we we content to see what else we could find.

Within five minutes we found another tiger. She was lying next to a massive fig tree and we stopped to photograph her. She was the mother of the young tigress that made the kill, so we checked for the other two siblings, but could not see them. The tiger got up and walked to a waterhole where she enjoyed a drink before she turned and returned to walk right past us. She passed our vehicle to walk along the road before she turned off to move into a gully.

By now we had to hurry to the gate to leave the park in time, after a stupendous day. The days here have got better and better and we are hoping that our final game drive in this park tomorrow will continue this trend …

When a Sambar Deer Disturbs a Sleeping Tiger …

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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 …

One Kill and Five Tigers – and Then we Spot a Legend …

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

Because we were very keen to find Krishna and her little cubs before the heat of the day sent them in search of shade and chilly water, we arrived at the Ranthambore gates as they opened this morning.

We found Krishna with her little cubs and not long after that we were lucky enough to spot the resident massive dominant male tiger in the area. The female had made a kill during the night, and the large male detected this and moved in to steal the kill from the unfortunate female. He then ate his fill, and as soon as she could the female grabbed the remains of the carcass and dragged it down into a gorge. The gorge was fairly shallow and wide with good shade and plenty of small ponds. She settled down to consume what was left of her kill while her little cubs romped and circled around her. Now and then they tried to grab a morsel, but mother was having none of that! She warned them off repeatedly with snarls and ominous growls. The cubs didn’t seem to mind at all and continued their game as they ran through the many puddles, pounced on one other, tumbled, and then tried again to pinch a morsel from the carcass. Mom was very stern, however, and they had no chance to share the spoils …

It was a spectacular scene to watch the constant activity. Unfortunately photography wasn’t great because of the terrain and vegetation, but we remained with them because being able to see five tigers in one scene was just amazing, and too good to leave.

Later, as the warmth of the day became rather uncomfortable, the male went into the gorge where he settled in one of the inviting pools of water. This delighted the cubs. They had a new playmate! But this was a very reluctant playmate and he growled and snarled as the cubs repeatedly harassed him. It was fabulous to watch, and we remained with them until the heat of the day forced the cats to retreat to the cooler shade of the deciduous forest.

A Blue Antelope with a small head and blueish stocky body is typical of India.

The Tiger is the National Animal, while the Peacock is the National Bird, and the Banyan Tree is the National Tree.

We spotted a very famous tiger from the Ranthambore Reserve.

This large male is rather unique because he raised two orphaned cubs. The mother was killed in a conflict with another tiger and the male adopted the two cubs and single-handedly and successfully raised the two. He is rarely seen. In fact he was last spotted almost five years ago by our guide, and although he is elderly now, he still appears to be healthy.

We saw another female tiger later. She was our seventh tiger of the tiger for the day, and tomorrow we hope that our incredible luck this far continues …

Tigers, Elephants, Leopards in a Dramatic, Beautiful Park in the Himalayan Foothills …

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Ben’s Update from Delhi on the Tigers of India Photo Tour:
(Unable to send Photos Due to Connection – image from Tusk Website)

We arrived in Delhi after spending the first four nights of our tour at Corbett National Park. The park is magnificently situated in the Himalayan Foothills and boasts a large Asian Elephant population, numbering around 1200 elephants. There are more than 150 tigers, a number of leopards and a variety of deer species, making a visit very worthwhile.

The park is almost indescribably beautiful, with massive forests, consisting mainly of Sal Trees and open grasslands, and a crystal clear river that winds and meanders through the park. Lining the banks of the river one sees large, rounded, whitish stones that are typical of the rocks in the area.

We spent a lot of our time in Corbett National Park photographing elephants in the forests, in the open grasslands, or at, in, or around the river. They played in the river, crossed the river back and forth, splashed, and generally kept us entertained and busy with our cameras.

We saw four different tigers, and were delighted to be able to photograph three of them. That was such a treat!

As if that was not enough, because the park is in the Himalayan foothills, and because the topography is so wonderful, the bird population is spectacular and we photographed oh! so many! Everything from pheasants to eagles!

As I said we are on route to another wildlife centre that is famed for its tiger population. There are no elephants there, so we will be able to concentrate on the big cats …

When Playful Tiger Cubs Become Too Much for Their Mother …

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

We were at the gates and ready for a full day in Ranthambore by 06.00 this morning and only left when the gates closed again this evening at 18.30.

And this really paid off … we saw a total of seven different tigers and photographed them in a whole variety of terrains. It was amazing!

Our photography included a number of tigers bathing in streams and rocks pools. The temperature was 41degC for much of the day and we almost envied the tigers as they sought relief from the heat of the day in the cool, inviting water.

We found a female with her 2 1/2 year old son as they walked through a dry deciduous forest. The cub is almost old enough to be kicked out by mom to make his own way in the world, and it was lovely to watch the two together as they made their way to a cave under a beautiful rock wall where they rested out of the sun.

We spent a lot of time with a legendary female tiger in the park. Her name is Krishna and she currently has three little five month old cubs. She had clearly made a kill recently and has been feeding well as her belly was very full indeed. We were delighted to find her as she has not been seen for several days. She separated herself from her very boisterous, playful cubs so that she could relax and enjoy some peace and quiet (like mothers everywhere)! We saw the cubs but without their mother close by they were rather shy and timidly kept themselves quite hidden, while mom distanced herself and rested in the shade, cooling off in a large handy puddle in.

Because we could see that Krishna was reluctant to move now that she had found peace, quiet and coolness, we decided to search further. It was not long before we came across another female tiger. She was busily on the move as she inspected her territory and scent marked as she made her way along. Then she, too, spotted a rock pool under a rock face, with the roots of a large Banyan tree draped over the rock. It took only a moment before she submerged her hot self in the cool, refreshing water.

There she started to groom, and yawn widely while enjoying the sharp cold of the water.

We remained with the female for some time, and when she left the pool we followed her until she disappeared into some thick vegetation. We tried to predict where she would emerge again and waited patiently for her, but not for long as it was time for us to depart the park.

In the morning we want to be at the gates of the park by opening time so that we can find the tiger named Krishna with her three cubs …