Friday, March 22, 2013

A Tiger Family

In Bandhavgarh one morning, we found a tigress and her four cubs in the grass.  There was not a great view as the grass was tall; they had a sambar deer kill that they had mostly finished and were playing with.  The cubs were about 18 months old and quite large.  It was interesting to see so many tigers in one place at one time, even though glimpses were mostly what I was able to get.  Here are a few shots:
This was a sighting that was not particularly pleasant because of the number of vehicles - all the vehicles on this assigned zone seemed to be there and they were all trying to position so they could get a view.  There was a man walking on the road with a stick, yelling, described to me as a "vigilance office."  When he yelled, the tigers started to move off, which was a shame - once again people interfering with their behavior.  Then they wanted to cross the road but could not find a place as the jeeps were in hot pursuit and there were so many of them.  Another "vigilance officer" was on the scene and there was extensive yelling back and forth. I really wanted to know what all the guides, drivers, and these two "officers" were yelling about, but translation was minimal.

One of the "officers" got on our jeep for awhile - we were one of about 2-3 jeeps not trying to interfere with the tigers and trying to give them space.  The tigers did find a place to cross the road finally, and then the officers took off towards the jeeps and my guide told me we had to leave because they were going to cite all the jeeps/drivers/rangers there for not following the rules.  I have no idea if this was true - they had radios but no paper or pen to record anything - but we got out of there.  The tigers had crossed and gone up on some rocks and I would have loved to be able to sit and see them but we had to move on and I was never really clear why - but I did get ONE shot of one of the cubs on a rock - I wish I could have gotten more as there was a moment with all 5 tigers in the sun on a rock - but the jeep was moving and I couldn't get it.

I love how he hasn't grown into his paws yet!

I hated the human melee to see these tigers.  I will be interested to see how the Indian Supreme Court comes down on outstanding wildlife tourism issues next month.  As a result of last year's case, the number of vehicles was cut in half - so only half the jeeps could be in the park vs. last year.  If the number I saw was half, I am so glad I never went when it was twice that!  I would not, NOT want to be in a park when there are more vehicles!!  I had a hard time handling the number, and especially the attitude, of the jeeps in Bandhavgarh.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Back to the wild cat. How sad people are only interested in the tiger. A wild cat is a very cool sighting.

What you described with the vigilance officers and the yelling and the citation threats and the requirment to move on so you couldn't get FIVE TIGERS!! OMG in the open together is appalling. Nothing like that whatsoever occurred during any part of my trip. We did have tiger traffic jams, but everyone behaved. Now I know what you mean when you mentioned disturbing behavior.

Funny you should point out growing into the feet for this cub. I was noting the same thing with some leopard cub pics I was reviewing. Unfortunately they were taken at a greater distance than your tiger cub feet.