Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Kanha National Park is situated in Madhya Pradesh. There are three park gates to enter Kanha. Kisli gate that was used by us was around 170 km from Jabalpur. Urge to see the tiger in the wilderness dragged me here.

On reaching the park in the noon, we had our lunch and got ready for the afternoon safari. Within half an hour of the start of the safari we were lucky enough to see a male tiger resting under the shade of the tree. It was difficult to see the tiger with the naked eyes so had to use binocs and due to the limitation of the camera lens it was impossible to capture it. But seeing a tiger in the wild for the second time was a wonderful experience. First time I saw the tiger in the terai jungles of Dudhwa. The glimpse of the tiger was breath taking. At that time I could hear my heartbeats clearly…no sound was heard except that of my heart with my gaze fixed on the tiger while everything blurred out in the surrounding with sweat trickling down by back. The feeling didn’t repeat again this time because of the distance between the tiger n me was much greater than the last time. We waited for the tiger to rise from its slumber…which didn’t happened as the heat of the day had made him dull. The sun was setting and silhouette of the herd of gaurs could be seen grazing in the horizon. A large number of tourists were eagerly waiting for the tiger to rise but the tiger seemed not to be in a mood to entertain his guests. Soon there was movement of vehicles and on the other side of the road a yellow spot was seen moving in the grass. It was a tigress as a male will not cross the territory of another male without getting into conflict as they are solitary animals. And it was the mating period of the tigers so the female had the free pass to enter their territories. This tigress was collared. Seeing too much movement she sat under a thorny bush for a while and waited for the humans to disperse so that she could cross the road. After seeing that the people had no intention of leaving the road, she entered a narrow water stream and crossed the road. The vehicles were parked on the road which didn’t bother the tigress at all. The increasing number of tourist vehicles entering the park had made them habitual of the human presence which was not so in Dudhwa. It was almost dark when we started for the forest rest house. On our way back two jungle cats jumped in front of the jeep. For few minutes they played in the light of the jeep and then disappeared into the darkness, the way they had come.

Next morning we started early for the safari. While looking at the spotted deer, sambhar, swamp deer and gaur which were a common siting in the park premises… four elephants were also seen. There are no wild elephants in the forest of Madhya Pradesh. These elephants were the officials of the forest department. Soon the elephants had cornered something….on asking the guide what it was all about. We were told that tiger show was being held. In tiger show, the tiger is cornered with the help of elephants and the tourist then ride these elephants to get a closer view of it. This concept has been discontinued in the Corbett as the popularity of it is far beyond the other parks in India. The tiger show was more like a puppet show…the puppets being controlled by the forest department. They knew at what time of the day to surround the tiger. Tiger, being a cat is nocturnal and is lazy during the day time, so, it is the idle time for the show. Thou, it is a good method to earn revenues for the proper functioning of the park but on the part of tiger its privacy is lost for the enjoyment of a few. Since, most of the people coming to park are least bothered about the flora and fauna of the forest. They just want to see the tiger in the wild….and the tiger show is the way to fulfill it.

A very interesting phenomenon was observed while taking snaps of the grazers. To capture the front view of them…our guide used to mimic the mating call of the tiger to get their attention. On hearing the call they would look at the direction from where the call was coming from. But in case of wild boar they would not look in the direction of the call but would just freeze in the position they were in. This was very interesting on the part of boars. May be it was due to the thick short neck of the boar which hinders the movement of head.

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