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 …