Saturday, March 23, 2013

Jungle Cat

I really wanted to see a jungle cat in India.  Just a bit larger than a domestic cat, mostly tan but with black on the tail, these small cats are hard to find if you want to look for them.  They are no threat to deer so you don' t have deer and monkey alarm calls to track jungle cats as they move.  The brush, grass and forest are thick, so you just have to hope you run into one somewhere.  I had a fleeting glimpse of a jungle cat in Velavadar - or rather, my guide did -  but I never really saw it and I was hoping on every game drive we might run into one.

Finally my last game drive in Bandhavgarh, we caught a glimpse of a jungle cat.  Unfortunately, it went into the bush before I got a look at anything other than the back end.  We decided to sit and wait awhile in hopes it would re-emerge.  Many jeeps stopped asking if we'd found a tiger - and once they learned there was no tiger there they all moved on, as usual, since tiger is the only thing the majority of people in this park seem interested in seeing. After nearly an hour the ranger with us suggested we go look for tigers also.  I said no - I've seen tigers, including on this route this morning (the mom and cubs of last post) so I knew odds were not good of seeing them again - every jeep was still looking.

The jungle cat finally came out, sitting at first under a tree not too far away from our jeep.

 Then the jungle cat went off marking territory, and I was able to get a few photographs and - more importantly - watch the small cat in peace for awhile.

I was really thrilled to get a sighting - and a few photos - of the jungle cat.  I don't know if I will ever have the chance to see one again; small cats are such a challenge to see with wildlife travel.  When I got back to the lodge and everyone asked if I saw anything I said "Jungle Cat!" and they all thought I was crazy - apparently it is just not a valued sighting for most people, which is a shame indeed.  I don't think they have any idea what they are missing.  Although not as popular as the tiger, and of course much smaller, I thought it was quite thrilling to get a jungle cat sighting and even harder to accomplish than a tiger sighting, since at least with tigers you have alarm calls to work off of!  Once again, all credit really goes to Rajan, my excellent guide for this portion of the trip, who always had infinite patience and fantastic spotting skills.  He really tried to find me a sloth bear as well, though we never did get lucky on that score.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful jungle cat and very photogenic. Such a special animal and you caught the look in its eyes and everything!