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Old 16th April 2013, 12:03   #436
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

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Originally Posted by gd1418 View Post
11th April, 2013

It was a Thursday and the first day of the Navratras. I wasn't aware of this fact.

We got up as soon as the alarm rang and started to get ready. The target was to leave by 3 am as Harisingh had asked us to come by 5:30................


...................... Thus ended my safari of Sariska on a satisfying note and the Tiger drought ended...

Hope you enjoyed my travelogue.

p.s. I returned back to Gurgaon taking the Bhiwadi - Daruhera - NH8 route.
WOW. What an adventure Guru sir. Right from getting stuck in the traffic jam to bullying the truck drivers and still reaching Siriska a bit late for the morning Safari.

Just by reading your experience of spotting the pug marks, to tracking the tiger along with the tracking party I got all excited. I can just imagine the level of excitement you guys must be experiencing during those breathless moments. Really awesome. I really admire your enthusiasm and passion for wildlife.
Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience with us thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

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Suddenly two forest-guards on a motorcycle came from behind and stopped next to us and excitedly said - "what are you looking at the front? 6 was standing behind looking at the jeep and just went inside. We waited till he crossed over". Bloody hell. The fellow had given us the slip. So near and yet so far.
Reading this reminds me of a board that I saw in, maybe Corbett, "It doesn't matter whether you saw the tiger, be assured that the Tiger definitely saw you."
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Old 16th April 2013, 12:51   #437
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

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Sariska update

Should we all be concerned? I guess so. All of you have been aware that recently two orphaned tigresses of RTR Bina-1 & Bina-2 got relocated to Sariska and were subsequently named ST9 & 10 respectively.

With great fanfare they were released in Sariska from their enclosures within a span of two hours. First of all they both were kept in two different enclosures. Why? In RTR these two sisters were together, then why were they not kept together in one enclosure?

This was the first mistake. The second was to release them separately after a gap of two hours - ST10 was released two hours after ST9 was released.

Thus when ST9 found herself all alone in a new & strange environment, she chalked out a new place for herself and she had a headstart of two hours.

Similarly ST 10 also behaved and took up a different territory. Funnily both the Cats have occupied territories much away from the main Sariska forest and near human settlement.

ST9 has taken up home at Taalvriksh near Kushaalgarh. This place also has a healthy Leopard population and is inaccessible. There are no tracks whatsoever and a few forest personnel are posted permanently to keep a tab on her through the radio collar signals and they report back to the HQ every hour. Current status: she has been very rarely seen and on only one or two occassions when she came up to Ghaanka area in Sariska.

ST10 has taken up home near Natni ka Bera which is almost 12 kms away from Sariska and closer to Siliserh. She has settled in the Garvaji forest near the Siliserh lake. Again inaccessible and a permanent posse of forest personnel tracking her through her collar & reporting every hour to HQ.

Of late she has been seen by villagers crossing over from Siliserh to Natni ka Bera and back. This is separated by a State Highway on which vehicles run at speed. I fear for ST10 in this situation.

Also since these two sisters were fed goats in RTR & as well as in the enclosure in Sariska, ST10 has started lifting goats of the villagers nearby. Till date these villagers are blaming the Leopards for their livestock loss.

The day they discover that it is ST10, I shudder to think of the consequences. Current status: Not seen at all after release.

My suggestions: tranquillise both of them again, bring back to enclosure, keep them there together for 15 days and then release again. Ensure that they don't drift.

SLOTH BEAR

GREAT NEWS COMING FROM SARISKA

A sloth bear was sighted at a village Satna (malakhera), on the peripheries of Sariska Tiger Reserve.

It was a great discovery since Sloth Bears were considered extinct in the region.

The bear was captured and has been brought and released in the reserve. History repeats?????

Yesterday, after release around 7 pm, the bear was seen headed towards the Pandupol area. Two tigers ST2 with cubs & ST4 are in the nearby area of Slopka. The bear has to cross this. I anticipate a confrontation.

The bear is new to Sariska and still to get its bearings. Hoping for everything to be ok.

This latest news item in TOI sent to me by a TBHPian - BaddyChat is heart-warming.

Attachment 1073956

Do I see Sariska slowly returning back to its golden days? I am a very happy person with these developments.

So there is good news and there is bad too.
The relocation of ST9 and 10 is rather concerning. The highway near Siliserh has lots of cars and is rather dangerous for the tiger. I hope the authorities do something immediately about this.

The good news is the sighting of the sloth bear. I had asked my guide on both the safaris as to whether there are sightings of sloth bears and both replied that there were no sloth bears in that region.

Also great post as usual from your last trip.
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Old 16th April 2013, 13:03   #438
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Why not join the planned April 21 trip Harjeev, we will take your LC 80 and my Scorpio. Guru Dutt and his family along leaving from Gurgaon.

Best regards,

Shahid
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Old 19th April 2013, 17:07   #439
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Seems like good fun, today we all sit in the evening, chat Tiger talk and plan our expedition to Sariska for this Sunday, 21 April. Should be a good day out in the wilderness even in this 40 degree sweltring heat, such is Jungle Lore!
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Old 19th April 2013, 17:53   #440
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Guru sir and others who keep going to Sariska and following this log - Any of you have been to Kankwari Fort? If you enter in Sariska from main Alwar road gate, than its at opposite end of Sariksa. But there is another gate to enter in Sariska which can be approached from Tehla village but heard that its open for tourists only on Tuesday and Saturday (holy days). Kankwari fort is near to this back side gate.

I want more info on how to reach the Knkwari fort, what is process, what are expenses etc.

Last edited by tbppjpr : 19th April 2013 at 17:55.
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Old 20th April 2013, 12:10   #441
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

The Tehla gate is now open for tourists to undertake safari from that side. The only problem is shortage of jeeps. Currently jeeps are summoned from the Alwar road side thus increasing the cost. Rest of the expenses remain the same.

I've not yet been to Kankwari Fort but am planning to since the elusive & not yet seen ST 5 camps there. Since I'm going to Sariska tomorrow, shall find out more details.

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Originally Posted by tbppjpr View Post

Guru sir and others who keep going to Sariska and following this log - Any of you have been to Kankwari Fort? If you enter in Sariska from main Alwar road gate, than its at opposite end of Sariksa. But there is another gate to enter in Sariska which can be approached from Tehla village but heard that its open for tourists only on Tuesday and Saturday (holy days). Kankwari fort is near to this back side gate.

I want more info on how to reach the Knkwari fort, what is process, what are expenses etc.
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Old 20th April 2013, 20:20   #442
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

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Why not join the planned April 21 trip Harjeev, we will take your LC 80 and my Scorpio. Guru Dutt and his family along leaving from Gurgaon.

Best regards,

Shahid
Quote:
Originally Posted by desertfox View Post
Seems like good fun, today we all sit in the evening, chat Tiger talk and plan our expedition to Sariska for this Sunday, 21 April. Should be a good day out in the wilderness even in this 40 degree sweltring heat, such is Jungle Lore!
Shahid bhai,
I'm already in touch with Gurudutt and will be meeting you tomorrow morning. The plan is that me and my brother will be picking up Gurudutt tomorrow morning at 3AM and will reach your house.

Been planing since long to visit Sariska, tomorrow the wish is coming true. Eagerly looking forward.
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Old 22nd April 2013, 22:08   #443
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

The previous posts in any case indicated about our visit to Sariska on Sunday and we went. It was a kind of Boys day out.

20th April, 2013

On Saturday evening I had a talk with harjeev a.k.a Harjeev Chadha and desertfox a.k.a Shahid Ahmed to finalise the programme. Harjeev was to pick me up from my home and then go to Shahid's place on the Sohna road where we all would pile-up in Shahid's car and drive to Sariska with his drive Rajesh at the wheels.

I called up Harisingh to inform that we would be five in total and that he should make arrangements as usual. What he said next sank my heart - "Sir, the agitating farmers are planning a big demonstration tomorrow and have threatened to stop & damage any jeep that tries to enter the forest". He however said that he would call me around 9 pm and inform the situation as the DFO Sariska was in a meeting with the administration & police officials.

I waited with anxiety for his call and decided that I would inform Harjeev & Shahid only after hearing from Harisingh. In the meanwhile started making preparations for the trip.

Harisingh called around 9:30 and said that the morning safari would happen as according to the experience of past, the agitation affects only the noon safari as no one is either awake or gathers at 6 in the morning..

So I decided to go and then would take a call for the noon safari depending on the situation. If the agitating farmers didn't allow the jeeps, we would return back to Gurgaon. I didn't say anything to Harjeev & Shahid.

21st April, 2013

The party comprised of Harjeev & his brother, Shahid & his driver Rajesh & I.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-968.jpg

L to R: Harjeev's brother, I, Shahid & Harjeev

Harjeev left his place in Patel Nagar, New Delhi at 2:37 and was at my place at 3 am in his LC 80 (Land Cruiser). I was waiting at the gate of my building and put my stuff in the boot and were driving towards Sohna road to Shahid's place in no time. Shahid had said that he would take his Bolero and for some strange reason we all agreed. Don't know why. We all, including Shahid, were to rue this decision later.

Left in the Bolero driven by rajesh at 3:30 am and took the Sohna - Nuh - Firozpur Zikra route to Alwar by-pass. Since we all were animatedly talking throughout didn't realise that Rajesh was driving sedately. This sedate driving coupled with the presence of 32 speedbrakers enroute and a 25 km single lane in the last stretch delayed us and instead of reaching before 6 am we made it to the reception at 6:50 am. So much for leaving early.

The miniscule group of agitating farmers were just getting up as we entered the forest through the gate. Ours was the fourth jeep to go inside and while we were making entries at the gate, information came that Tigress ST3 was spotted by the first jeep at the Kaalakuan water-hole drinking water. Oh boy, what an exciting news.

Now let me give some information - of the initial lot of six translocated Cats, five are surviving and healthy. ST 1 the first Tiger was poisoned by the villagers inside Sariska as he killed one of their buffalo.

Of the five Cats, I have seen ST 2, ST 4 & ST 6. The other two, ST 3 & ST 5 had not yet seen by me as ST 5 never comes down from the hills and ST 3 is quite elusive. This was a chance.

ST 3 was seen heading towards Ghaanka after drinking at Kaalakuan. We rushed straight to Ghaanka area and started scouting. It appeared as it had not yet crossed over from Kaalakuan. We lay in wait at a spot from where it was expected to cross and also could keep an eye on the Ghaanka water-hole.

No alarm calls, no pug-marks. I was getting a bit disappointed as it was 7:30 and the Sun was getting warmer. The Tigress had drunk water and it would probably now lie in a shade and rest for the day.

Suddenly we saw the driver of a jeep parked near the water-hole gesturing wildly to us. He pointed his finger towards the water body. ST 3 was cooling herself. We rushed and fortunately got a vantage point.

There she was resting & cooling in the water in a shade. I was not going to let go of this chance. There were 5 or 6 jeeps with tourists lying in wait. Tigress was visible only from the spot where our jeep was located. But what happened next was totally unbelievable. The tourists, in gross violation of the Forest rules, jumped out of their vehicles and crowded around my jeep and some even climbed on to it as well. Thus my jeep was shaking as if hit by earthquake of magnitude 6. They refused to listen to their guides & drivers who were telling them not to do so.

This would have been a grave danger to their life had the Tiger attacked. To be extremely honest, silently I wished the Tiger to do a mock charge that would have taught these foolish & imbecile tourists a lesson for life.

I had almost decided that I would complain in writing to the Field Director but then realised that the guides & drivers would be penalised and not the tourists. Let it go but still seething in rage.

Wielding a heavy lens and shooting handheld in that situation was near impossible but somehow I managed to take a decent shot or two.

ST 3 cooling in the Ghannka water-hole

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-8053.jpg

All that commotion thoroughly disturbed her and she turned around to get-up.

ST 3 trying to get-up

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-8054.jpg

Another idiot climbed on to my jeep and it shook again. A perfect shot perfectly ruined.

ST 3 out of the water and going inside the bushes

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-8059.jpg

I knew in my heart that the show was over. It would not appear again. Shuttled between the water-hole and near the chowki area several times in the hope that it would come back as other jeeps had left. Around 8:30 we left towards Taarunda, Brahmanath & Kaalighati in the hope of seeing something else. But that was not to be and the morning safari ended.

When we exited the jungle around 10, we saw a posse of policemen at the gate. They had come to prevent the untoward. The number of agitating farmers had not swelled.

We left for Gulmohar resorts at Viratnagar for breakfast & rest. harisingh had said that he would call around 2 pm to inform about the situation.

At 2:15 Harisingh called to say that the DFO had instructed that the noon safari would happen and that he would release all vehicles in a caravan at one go. So we had to reach there by 3 and we did. On our way to reception we saw the number of farmers had increased, some speeches were being delivered on public address system and a few photojournalists were present. How would we go inside?

All the jeeps were waiting and we also boarded our jeep. This time my regular driver Rajinder had returned. My comfort zone had increased much more.

There is an entrance to the forest from the compound of the residence of the DFO. The jeeps were allowed to enter the forest from there. This was a good move.

We first went to Karna Ka Baas and a saw a solitary Painted Stork, Black-headed Ibis, River Tern, Sandpipers, Lapwings and a Grey Heron.

Drove straightaway to the same spot at Ghaanka as in the morning and encountered the tracking team of ST 3.

The collar of ST 3 has become defunct and strong rumours of it being pregnant has prevented a collar change. She has been avoiding both the male Tigers for over a month. The tracking team tracks her through pug-marks & visual sightings. They said that it had not moved out of this place since morning.

As I've said earlier, you start noticing other creatures when waiting patiently for the Cat to emerge.

Orange Dragonfly

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-8061.jpg

White-breasted Kingfisher

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-8065.jpg

Blue Dragonfly

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-8068.jpg

We waited & waited & waited till 6:20 pm, but in vain. Nothing stirred. A sambar called thrice and then fell silent. We returned back. It was an exciting & successful trip. My fellow guests too enjoyed thoroughly. On a personal front Tiger sighting on both the consecutive trips to Sariska.

Stopped at Bhiwadi Haldiram for dinner and by midnight was home with a sore back & a stiff bottom. That is what a Bolero does to you and especially in the middle row. I wonder how these rustic villagers numbering 6 or 7 travel long distances in this vehicle.

Thank you Harjeev & your brother and Shahid for being such a wonderful company. No Bolero travel for me at least in the future..!

Last edited by Eddy : 23rd April 2013 at 23:31.
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Old 23rd April 2013, 10:55   #444
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Yes no need. There are plenty of other vehicles to travel in. The parking in Sariska is pretty safe we can leave a Scorpio there next time, why did we not travel in the LC 80 ? Was Harjeev to sleepy? I regret having sold my Xylo, it would have been an ideal car for such trips. But the fact remains that these state highways and narrow roads with oncoming traffic do not permit any speed over 80 kmph specially when we were driving in darkness. The driver, Rajesh is under specific instructions to drive sedately and not exceed 80 kmph in a high centre of gravity vehicle like a Bolero and his individual case even in other vehicles. It must be considered that these people have poor driving civics and react in desperation if a stray animal or sudden obstruction appears. They brake hard and drive without constantly checking the centre or side mirrors and shoulder turns and signalling during lane change is of course unheard of. Under these circumstances and driving talent level a safe sedate driving ceiling instruction is the safe way out. I deliberately sit in the front guiding the driver and try my best not to fall asleep on the highway.

It was a great trip. Except during the Tiger sighting when all hell had broken loose. Gross disrespect for nature and absolutely unruly civic behaviour. Such people should be fined to prevent this culture.

I was sitting to your right and not for once did I get up to shoot myself, it would have blocked your view and shots.

Last edited by desertfox : 23rd April 2013 at 11:02.
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Old 23rd April 2013, 11:21   #445
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

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Originally Posted by gd1418 View Post
The previous posts in any case indicated about our visit to Sariska on Sunday and we went. It was a kind of Boys day out.
Nice narrative BCG. And some wonderful shots - especially of the non-tigers.

The crowd's behaviour in most of the wildlife reserves in India is a matter of serious concern having experienced it couple of times - once in Corbett and and yet another time in Gir. And bugs me no end during such trips. Contrast this to the chukkers elsewhere (say in Kruger) where tourists are all the time made to feel like intruders (and rightly so) and they automatically speak in a whisper - even if there are no animals within earshot. And if animals do appear then the whispers drop to sub-whispers or hand gesticulations.

Keep them coming BCG.
Hope to join you someday on one of these 'mild' forays !
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Old 23rd April 2013, 12:42   #446
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Thank you Shahid and I agree with you about those noisy & unruly tourists.

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It was a great trip. Except during the Tiger sighting when all hell had broken loose. Gross disrespect for nature and absolutely unruly civic behaviour. Such people should be fined to prevent this culture.

I was sitting to your right and not for once did I get up to shoot myself, it would have blocked your view and shots.
Thanks Harry and looking forward to that "mild" foray..!

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Hope to join you someday on one of these 'mild' forays !
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Old 23rd April 2013, 13:04   #447
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

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Originally Posted by gd1418 View Post
The previous posts in any case indicated about our visit to Sariska on Sunday and we went. It was a kind of Boys day out.

Of the five Cats, I have seen ST 2, ST 4 & ST 6. The other two, ST 3 & ST 5 had not yet seen by me as ST 5 never comes down from the hills and ST 3 is quite elusive. This was a chance.

ST 3 was seen heading towards Ghaanka after drinking at Kaalakuan. We rushed straight to Ghaanka area and started scouting. It appeared as it had not yet crossed over from Kaalakuan. We lay in wait at a spot from where it was expected to cross and also could keep an eye on the Ghaanka water-hole.

No alarm calls, no pug-marks. I was getting a bit disappointed as it was 7:30 and the Sun was getting warmer. The Tigress had drunk water and it would probably now lie in a shade and rest for the day.

Suddenly we saw the driver of a jeep parked near the water-hole gesturing wildly to us. He pointed his finger towards the water body. ST 3 was cooling herself. We rushed and fortunately got a vantage point.

There she was resting & cooling in the water in a shade. I was not going to let go of this chance. There were 5 or 6 jeeps with tourists lying in wait. Tigress was visible only from the spot where our jeep was located. But what happened next was totally unbelievable. The tourists, in gross violation of the Forest rules, jumped out of their vehicles and crowded around my jeep and some even climbed on to it as well. Thus my jeep was shaking as if hit by earthquake of magnitude 6. They refused to listen to their guides & drivers who were telling them not to do so.

This would have been a grave danger to their life had the Tiger attacked. To be extremely honest, silently I wished the Tiger to do a mock charge that would have taught these foolish & imbecile tourists a lesson for life.

I had almost decided that I would complain in writing to the Field Director but then realised that the guides & drivers would be penalised and not the tourists. Let it go but still seething in rage.

Wielding a heavy lens and shooting handheld in that situation was near impossible but somehow I managed to take a decent shot or two.
All that commotion thoroughly disturbed her and she turned around to get-up.
Great post as usual gd sir. Always a pleasure to read.

So you finally sight the ST3.

I also had a similar experience with an extremely vocal group who ensured that we missed spotting a pair of leopards. Once you start shouting at the top of your voice they get irritated due to the commotion and move off.
Sad but somehow people do not learn. Someone needs to provide instructions at the start of a safari which says that tourists would be heavily fined for shouting/getting off the vehicle and the likes.
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Old 23rd April 2013, 21:27   #448
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

The behavior was ridiculous to say the least, what did these people expect did they want to feed the Tigress some chips and coke ? What were they aiming at ? If irritated it could have come upon them in just three bounds.

It was a most practical decision, A 300 mm 2.8 lens you were shooting with would definitely take better pictures than the DX 55~300 F 5.6 I was carrying

Last edited by desertfox : 23rd April 2013 at 21:33.
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Old 25th April 2013, 15:09   #449
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

There seems to be a very interesting phenomena being observed in Ranthambore where proabably due to the lack of space, a particular big cat decided to take a 220 km walk. I came across this in the TOI today.
Now that the tiger population at Ranthambore stands at a healthy number and the area of the park is not that big, It wold be interesting to see how the authorities handle the situation. They would need relocation.
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Old 25th April 2013, 20:33   #450
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Shahid, I wish I had the 300mm/f2.8 in my kitty. I would have had to sell one of my kidneys for that. I have a 300mm/f4. My signature below has the entire details of my camera gear.

BTW, a prime lens is always superior in glass quality and way ahead as compared to a zoom.

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It was a most practical decision, A 300 mm 2.8 lens you were shooting with would definitely take better pictures than the DX 55~300 F 5.6 I was carrying
It seems you missed out reading my post #: 155 on this thread:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...-again-11.html (Gurgaon - Ranthambhore - Jodhpur - Gurgaon: Big Cats call again..!)

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I came across this in the TOI today.

Last edited by gd1418 : 25th April 2013 at 20:39.
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