After spending close to two decades in Kanha I am frequently asked about exciting encounters or experiences with tigers or other wild animals, there have been so many that it would be impossible to pen down even a fraction of the entire collection in a single sitting. It was late in the morning after breaking our fast at Kanha museum we were on Schaller’s hide road when suddenly chital's alarm calls erupted from all over and from the circular road grasslands emerged a pack of 14 wild dogs who successfully brought down an adult chital hind, while all this was going on I was frantically trying to draw the attention of my clients who were near the barasingha enclosure in a another jeep, By the time they covered the intervening 800 meters there was nothing left of the deer ! gory! may be, brutal may be !BUT VERY REAL!!! Unfortunately that is how the wild dogs hunt.
|Wild Animals at Kanha National Park. (Here we see Wild Dog, Peacock and Tiger, Photographs by Navneet Maheshwari.)
It was Christmas eve on 24th Dec. in the mid 1990'sand I was on link 7 road trying to escape the crowd as there was no restriction on the number of vehicles then, As I reached a cluster of the Indian Ghost tree ( sterculia urens) I stopped to explain the trees to my clients, When we restarted we had to cross a patch of van rahar ( a wild shrub ) and bamboo for a few hundred meters, as we turned a bend, I thought I glimpsed something streaking past at a distance I wasn’t sure what It was, the very alert guide Vinay kumar and my Jeep driver Ganesh not having reacted at all gave me the impression that perhaps I had imagined it, Never the less, I stopped the vehicle and after waiting and looking around for 2-3 minutes, I asked Ganesh to go another 20-30 metres and stop, All of us i.e. 4 clients, guide, driver and myself were trying to look beyond the bushes when with a fearful whisper Ganesh pointed from beside my right side and he was looking down and left and lo behold this tigress with a snarl on her face, her udder engorged with her belly facing us let out a thunderous roar and sprang about 3 meters vertically in the air when she landed back on the shrubs and leaves disappearing magically moaning loudly about the invasion on her privacy, We did feel guilty about disturbing her albeit unintentionally, the entire experience was exhilarating and unforgettable.
It has been a privilege working in one of the Best Tiger reserves in the country, may Kanha continue to excel in management, commitment, discipline and its glorious sightings of Fauna & flora. May it continue to lead the way in conservation.
Mr. Sanjeev Kulhalli is presently stationed as Resident Director of Kanha Village Eco Resort at Kanha National Park.