A sight for sore eyes- the rare Chousingha
A foray into the Bandipur Tiger Reserve yields unforeseen sightings – the big striped cat, as well as the elusive Chousingha.
It was a cold morning, and the forest was shrouded in silence in the early morning hours. I was accompanied by Mr. Pradeep Kumar, an expert driver and Mr. Natraju, a naturalist for the safari. This is a common procedure and is a part of the services provided by the Bandipur safari lodge, jungle lodges and resorts to tourists who wish to go on a safari into the Bandipur Tiger Reserve.
Fifteen minutes into the safari we spotted a tiger treading silently towards us, as we gazed at it with bated breath, surprise evident at our marvellous luck due to the sighting. It surprised us again when a few seconds later the tiger vanished as mysteriously as it had appeared! We waited in vain at the same spot for sometime in hopes of a repeat sighting of the big cat. but alas, such was not in the cards for us that particular day.
After a period of wait in the area, we then decided to proceed for other wildlife spotting in the park and started off. A fast moving animal caught everyone’s attention and we came to an abrupt halt. At first,everyone guessed it might have been a spotted deer in full gallop and we proceeded slowly to try and have a clear sighting of the fast animal. Luckily, the animal came to a halt and thus we got out first view of our quarry. To our enormous surprise, our fast moving friend turned out to be the extremely rare Four Horned Antelope or chousingha.
The Four-horned antelope (Tetracerus quadricornis), commonly known as the chousingha, is endemic to India and India. As their name suggests, they have four horns, distinguishing them from most other bovids. Earlier a common sight in deciduous forests of India, the Chousingha are now found in disjunct, small populations. A few isolated population survives in that part of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve. Thus it was indeed a priveledge to have seen and photographed one such magnificent specimen in the wild.
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