Thursday, June 16, 2016

Big Brute Dabang on Full Charge

Courtyard House Kanha

Guests:
Suresh Sinhji Patdi Darbar & Friends 

"One of our guests has not seen a tiger ever in his life," said Abhijeet Munshaw a wildlife enthusiast and photographer. This was our first conversation as soon as the check in formalities had been done with.  

"Well hope for the best," I said confidently. "Tigers being elusive are hard to come by."

Our first two safari were good but no tiger. Then while traversing through Kisli Zone we decided to head straight for Karai Ghati. A day before, a tiger was seen on this road and heard roaring incessantly.     

Searching for tigers is at times frustrating. We went right up to the junction which leads to Sarhi Zone. Nothing. Well there were pug marks of another male but they usually do not result in sighting often. We waited for the animal to emerge. But after some time we decided to move ahead and look for the tiger seen yesterday. The distance was not much and we could quickly bounce back if needed. There was no tiger there hence we moved on to score other areas. 

There is a female with cubs often seen near the Kisli Tank on the way to Karai Ghati. She deserted the water body whence one of the cubs was killed by a vagrant male. 

"Let look for the tigress," I told the guide."She may have returned." There were many jeeps waiting with the same objective. We waited for some time, then I said to the guide. "Lets visit the place were the big male was seen yesterday rather then wait here." The guide was thinking the same hence we drove on. It was about ten minute ride straight on.        

The tiger was lying in shade covering almost three fourth of the jungle road. "Massive." I stopped as soon as the beast looked at us. There was a deafening silence as the beats thundered. "Keep at a safe distance," I told the driver.

"This is Dabang."    

Last time I had encountered this beast on the kill and he was very aggressive almost threatening to charge. Even the distance of twenty meters seemed uncomfortable. The guests were busy with their cameras while we were having a nervous look at the tiger. 

There was another jeep ahead much ahead. We were wondering if they were aware of the predator. Well you remain silent on such occasions. 

The tiger kept looking at us, occasionally turning to look at the other jeep. He was not very comfortable but then lay quiet without any show of aggression. Well did he? 

In one instant the beast arose from his slumber and took a step towards us or rather charged. Frightening...is all I can say. We were at a safe distance but it seemed that he would be on the jeep in seconds. He did not, for he veered to right after a massive roar and vanished into the thickets.        

The tiger sighting was over and we turned back to look for the tigress. She was not there hence we moved on. The beautiful Kanha landscape enchants me every time and it did that to the guests as well.  

"Lets visit the male tiger again," the guest requested the guide. Well that would have meant going in for the tigress as well hence we proceeded.  

"Turn back," the guide of the approaching jeep requested us fervently. "He is charging too often." Then another jeep approached us with the same request.  

"We should not agitate the big cat further," I explained to the guests. "He is not used to the jeeps, hence he gets aggressive and charges."      

The charge is not at all a pleasant experience. In fact it could be nerve wrecking. 

We turned back.