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Old 13th June 2012, 00:12   #1
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Default Face to face with an angry tiger

If somebody asked me what you are expecting to see this weekend at kabini, i'd ve said without a momentís hesitation to enjoy the nature the way it comes. Exactly what i ve been doing since 2007, when i first visited kabini. Little did i know what was in store for me. What im going to tell you are not how to get there and what to do, but what i saw and felt.

Safari started at 6 30 am. Generally they wait for decent light. A large male Tiger was sighted previous evening, which was moving in the direction of a water hole. A track, which runs on the perimeter of the forest bordering the village fields, passed close to the suspected waterhole. We took the track, pretty evidently a track less trodden. Since it was right next to the fields there were phenomenal number of peacocks flying into the forest as our jeep came close to them. The jeep slowly inched forward as we kept a close watch on the forest border looking for a faintest sign of a Tiger, our hearing acutely looking for jungle calls, which might give away the position of a carnivore. This track runs some 3 kms and then bends sharply to the right almost forming a hairpin and joins another track, which gradually goes deeper into the forest. And so we took this road & made another 4 kms. There was absolutely no sound other than the clatter of the old jeep we were in. Suddenly friend who was sitting behind, in what could be explained as a suppressed and excited tone pointed at a leopard in the bush to the right, before we could sight him he vanished into the bush. All we could see was some movement of the bush. Disappointed but encouraged we drove on.

From there we decided to go towards a water hole known as tiger tank. We cut across the forest on a track, which had dense bushed on either side. At times we could not help imagine an elephant standing right in the middle at the next bend that could turn into a nightmare. We passed the tiger tank without a sound or hint of any animal. A little ahead thereís another water hole which has beautiful green water with early morning sun giving a reddish brown hue to the banks, in the middle of the lake a bald tree and perched on top a lonely Egret, when a chital stag tip toed to the bank and after carefully gauging the surrounding, knelt down and quenched its thirst. In no time rest of the heard treaded down and got busy drinking. It was pretty silent when somewhere behind and right of us a Langur gave its unmistakable alarm call. Suddenly everyone went into alert mode and 14 eyes were searching every blade of grass around us. There was a deafening silence around. The deer also had heard the call, but surprisingly not bothered. That made the driver suggest that it might be that Langur mightíve spotted a carcass and so the call. Anyways it did not repeat, and we moved.

From there we drove till the track ended at a gate beyond which it was core area and entry restricted. There we spotted a Indian roller which was flying in acrobatics occasionally landing on earth picking its breakfast. There we decided to search the backwaters, when we received a call that a tigress was spotted crossing the Mananthvady road. This Mananthvady road runs along southeast end of the forest. We drove a km and saw few jeeps waiting close to where the tigress has crossed few mins back. Thereís a waterhole about 200 mts from the road, part of which is visible clearly through a wide gap between the trees. It was suspected that the tiger was lying in bushes somewhere close to the waterhole. We felt it was not worth waiting longer as majority of the lake was hidden from us. We drove further along the road till we reached the Balle gate and turned east, which almost immediately hits the backwater. We drove along the backwaters enjoying the beautiful landscape and hundreds of deer happily grazing. On the other bank at the distance we could make out the outlines of elephants, some 10 in number, in 2 herds. Its unbelievable how the landscape changes once it rains. The water fills up right next to the track, but now hardly any water. Since there was nothing interesting, we decided to roam the forest. At one junction we saw there were some 200 Chitals, Some giving rutting calls, one chap desperately trying to mount a female, others in courtship behavior, a dominant male chasing away other male, two equally matched stags banging heads. One guy on two legs trying to reach the juicy leaves from a overhanging branch. A heard of Gaur lazily made its way through munching the leaves and grass, last to come was the huge old male, looked like he had just come from his morning workout with muscles popping everywhere.

Twenty-five minutes passed when we got a call that a Tiger was spotted at a waterhole close by. We wasted no time and raced through the track and by the time we reached the place already few jeeps had assembled. There a large male was sleeping or rather trying to sleep on the opposite bank of almost dried waterhole. Though there was no actual water, there was enough slush for the tiger to cool itself. What a beautiful sight it was. The more we looked more we felt there was something wrong. The tiger looked not all that well. And it was for a reason as we spotted a large gash above its belly and a deep cut on its left nostril. That was not it, its left canine was broken both upper and lower. The experienced trackers on our jeep identified this tiger as a male from a different territory and since it was in this waterhole it was suspected to have got into fight with the resident male and injured itself. What was the state of resident male no one knew. But since it had not left the territory it was suspected that despite of the injury it might have had an upper hand. Another point was that injury might have happened while hunting a larger prey, as the tigers belly was pretty full.

Two more jeeps joined and tiger was clearly getting agitated. From time to time swishing its tail resenting human interference. One by one jeeps started leaving at 9am. At the sound of engines the tiger raised its head to see why the entire disturbance. As the last jeep left, we started our engine thatís when his patience ran out. An angry snarl grew into a ferocious growl and blasted into a full throat roar that for a moment blasted the living daylights out of me. He took a step in our direction and two bounds took him over the bund and he disappeared into the bushes behind us. Immediately we moved front giving ourselves a clear distance from the bush he had disappeared just to be sure he didnít store any more surprises from behind. The entire incidence from snarl to its disappearance hardly lasted 3 or 4 seconds in reality but it felt and eternity on paper. It was my first tiger in Kabini and what a way to come to face with it. The scare it gave was not something, which would make me run, but it was a fear out of pure respect I have for that animal. And it just got more.
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Old 13th June 2012, 00:27   #2
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Default Re: Face to face with an angry tiger

Wow! Thats a great experience narrated wonderfully! I'm sure you had the moment of your life then. Great pictures out there! I remember some of these names when we visited Kabini a month ago, tiger crossed the jeep trail a few 100 mtrs away from us but we couldnt see the majestic animal after that. We will visit soon and see if we get lucky next time.
Thank you for sharing.
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Old 13th June 2012, 07:17   #3
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Default Re: Face to face with an angry tiger

Absolutely lovely, what a narration with amazing pictures. Do you have more pictures coming of the tiger or is that it?

Sometimes an injured tiger is more dangerous than a non injured one. I have almost never had an honor of spot a tiger in wild except when we were in class 5th and went to Kanha, and we spotted one while being on a elephant ride.
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Old 13th June 2012, 08:13   #4
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Default Re: Face to face with an angry tiger

One of the best t-logs in the recent times man. I can only imagine what you went through when the tiger snarled and took a step towards you guys. Phew gives me goose bumps at the very thought of it.
Been to kabini umpteen times and have never been lucky enough to spot a tiger. Fellow member Dilip a.k.a redrage spotted a tiger during his previous visit.

That said is that elephant charging at you guys ? Once again brilliant pictures as ever.

Last edited by rjstyles69 : 13th June 2012 at 08:22.
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Old 13th June 2012, 08:16   #5
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Default Re: Face to face with an angry tiger

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjstyles69 View Post
One of the best t-logs in the recent times man. I can only imagine what you went through when the tiger snarled and took a step towards you guys. Phew gives me goose bumps at the very thought of it.
Been to kabini umpteen times and have never been lucky enough to spot a tiger. Fellow member Dilip a.k.a redrage spotted a tiger at first time at it.

That said is that elephant charging at you guys ? Once again brilliant pictures as ever.
Thanks ,Yes thats elephant charging at us.
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Old 13th June 2012, 08:45   #6
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Default Re: Face to face with an angry tiger

Wonderful pictures of all the animals, especially the roller and the tiger. The tiger looks really angry. I doubt if I would have been able to take any photos if I was there in your situation . And as you said, its belly looks really full, must have had a huge meal.
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Old 13th June 2012, 09:07   #7
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Default Re: Face to face with an angry tiger

Great Shots! Which resort/package did you opt at Kabini? Were you able to drive on your own in the forests?
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Old 13th June 2012, 09:19   #8
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Default Re: Face to face with an angry tiger

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Originally Posted by nitinbose View Post
Great Shots! Which resort/package did you opt at Kabini? Were you able to drive on your own in the forests?
My advice is Jungle lodges. packages are on their website. and we cannot drive on our own in the forest. we have to go in designated jeeps.
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Old 13th June 2012, 09:23   #9
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Default Re: Face to face with an angry tiger

Here s few more Tiger snaps. These are of the same tiger taken in the evening safari.
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Old 13th June 2012, 09:26   #10
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Default Re: Face to face with an angry tiger

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
Absolutely lovely, what a narration with amazing pictures. Do you have more pictures coming of the tiger or is that it?

Sometimes an injured tiger is more dangerous than a non injured one. I have almost never had an honor of spot a tiger in wild except when we were in class 5th and went to Kanha, and we spotted one while being on a elephant ride.
Thank you,Added few more snaps.
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Old 13th June 2012, 10:07   #11
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Default Re: Face to face with an angry tiger

DoctorSaab!

Mind blowing pics. And you must have nerves of steel.!!
Steady Hands of course goes with your profession.

What lens were u using?
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Old 13th June 2012, 10:30   #12
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Default Re: Face to face with an angry tiger

Wow!!!! Doc, you are so lucky. Spotting a tiger during this season in Kabini/Bandipur/Nagarahole is unimaginable and sheer luck. The pictures are just too good. Thanks for sharing.

I agree. The best place to stay in these places is Jungle lodges. They have excellent naturalists and many of the visitors are regulars. Also, only JLL has the permission to take visitors in safari inside the jungle.

Rated five stars for sheer luck and great pictures!!!!
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Old 13th June 2012, 11:40   #13
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Default Re: Face to face with an angry tiger

Lovely pictures,Doc.The beast did really look nasty am sure this is one experience that is not going to be forgotten in a hurry!
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Old 13th June 2012, 11:44   #14
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wow - what pictures! as people have already pointed out - getting such sharp pictures, when the tiger was roaring and coming towards you is just awesome!

Very nice.
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Old 13th June 2012, 12:11   #15
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Default Re: Face to face with an angry tiger

Super pics with clarity doc, loved the tiger pics, as Fauji mentioned, its pure luck that you got to see tiger this season in Kabini otherwise I have only seen leopard pics from this region. Did JLR charge extra for the camera per safari apart from the usual forest camera fee?
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