The sheer adrenaline surge and the following victorious feeling of a tiger sighting after repeated failed attempts to spot the striped feline is a thing to cherish the entire life.
“What of the hunting, hunter bold?
Brother, the watch was long and cold.
What of the quarry ye went to kill?
Brother, he crops in the jungle still.
Where is the power that made your pride?
Brother, it ebbs from my flank and side.
Where is the haste that ye hurry by?
Brother, I go to my lair to die!”
— —Rudyard Kipling
We were searching for a tiger sighting at Tadoba. We could hear the many calls by animals, denoting that a big cat was on the move. We drove around the forest in vain, but initially couldn’t sight a single tiger. The first few safaris in that trip was unproductive as the striped feline remained elusive. Suddenly, there was deluge of rain, rendering me drenched in rain fully forcing us to return empty handed. Our morale was down as we didn’t even spot a paw print, leave alone a tiger, our prime intention of the trip.
It was during our fourth safari, we were still searching for a glimpse of the striped feline, when we caught a rotten smell. We looked for the cause of the odour and found the source to be some killed sambar deer. I noticed some of the bone pieces near the water stream and decided to wait near the spot for the predator who had made the kill to return to his bounty. And that was the time during my fourth safari of that trip that by dint of sheer luck and patience, that I sighted the sub adult male T11 at Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve. It was a moment I will cherish my entire life.
Our entire trip was converted to a success in that very instant. Before sighting that tiger our morale was down due to the failed attempts and we had cut down our expectations to see atleast a paw print of tiger on mud. But our persistence was rewarded greatly. Although we had missed the leopard, our disappointment was reduced as we got to see a majestic tiger. I was so ecstatic to see the sub adult male while it was coming out of the bushes. I managed a couple of good shots. Although, I was worried on noticing a fresh wound on its body.
Yet, when I recall that perfect moment of the tiger emerging from the bushes, I greatly realize the immediate need for the conservation of Indian wildlife. Poaching, illegal encroachment of the wild territory and Human Animal Conflict are grave and serious problem requiring immediate attention. To reduce chances of human animal conflict, it is our duty to first educate the villagers and other local people by giving proper guidance to them and teach them the importance of conservation of wildlife.