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Old 17th February 2011, 11:33   #1
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Default The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo

December 17th 2010, being a holiday on account of Moharam, had a long weekend. With loads of thinking and discussion with my wife, we decide we will have ride to BR Hills and the Bandipur over the next 3 days.

Now, the next question was who all would join us. As usual our gang was contacted, then we were a team of 5 now (Myself, my better half, my cousin and my two other friends). By the way my friends would join us at Gundlupet after the office hours as they could not bargain for a leave with their manager.

Day 1: December 17th, 2010
We left home by 11 am after packing all the stuff. On the way my cousin joined us at the Rajarajeshwarinagar arch and off we headed towards the NICE road but not before filling the petrol tanks to the brim.

It was time to deviate at the Kanakapura road and head towards Kanakapura. It was slow progress until we hit the Kanakapura Road. A ride of approximately 45 mins ensured we reached the Kanakapura town at right about lunch time. Had a quick lunch, and then moved on towards Kollegal via Malavalli. It was a very leisure ride and we finally were able to reach the BR Hills temple at 4 pm.

Enroute to Kollegal

The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo-img_1914.jpg

The Hella MicroDE Fog lamps

The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo-img_1911.jpg

After paying a visit to the deity, we rode on towards Kyathadevara Gudi (K. Gudi) with lots of hope to spot a few wild animals. All that we spotted were elephant dung and a barking deer.

An old elephant at the Kyathadevara Gudi

The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo-img_1932.jpg

We cross the forest check post by 6 pm (closing time) and rode on towards Chamarajanagar. It was time to take a break. We left Chamarajanagar by 7:30 pm and rode to Gundlupet where we had planned to stopover for the night

After checking in to the lodge, we headed for dinner. With dinner over and with an early morning safari planned up, it was time to hit the sacks. So we did, but not before my friends woke me up at 12:45 am.

Day 2 to be continued.

Last edited by nkrishnap : 17th February 2011 at 11:35.
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Old 17th February 2011, 12:02   #2
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Default Re: The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo

Day 2: December 18th, 2010

Part 1

For a change got up as soon as the alarm rang though not with discipline. It had more to do with the eagerness of entering the forests and spotting a few animals. We were ready to head to Bandipur office for the safari. However the gates would open only by 6 am.

The ride up to Bandipur office was almost a nightmare with absolutely poor visibility due to heavy fog. This is where the Hella made my life easier. See the pic to really understand the utility of the Hella microDE fog lamps coupled with 3000K HIDs.

The Early morning Fog
The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo-img_1936.jpg

The Hella MicroDE Fog lamps with 3000K HID at work

The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo-img_1938.jpg

With no gypsy available for the safari with the forest department, we had our shoulders dropping. But somehow I managed to talk to one of the resort jeep drivers and arranged a Jeep with a permit to enter the forests. (Cost Rs. 750/- per head and non negotiable, peak season you see). Finally we were off for the safari at 7 am. The initial 20 odd mins we did not spot anything other than the an eagle atop a tree branch.

The eagle


The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo-img_1952.jpg

Then either the desperation of spotting something that I have not spotted on earlier safaris was getting higher and higher every minute. We stopped near a water hole and started observing. The place was dead silent. After 10 odd minutes we heard alarm calls. After observing very keenly (All the learning about the safari experience and the Google) discussed about the alarm call and convinced the driver to take us in the direction of the call.

We were not disappointed. My learning did earned me the first spotting of the dotted cat lazing on a tree branch.

The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo-img_1956.jpg

Looking at the us, probably to know who we were and a quick lookup on its menu. May be we were not on its menu, it lost interest on us.

The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo-img_1970.jpg

After few minutes a few more jeeps arrived. The diesel clatter did really disturb the leopard as it got up and just disappeared in to the thick vegetation.

The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo-img_1984.jpg

We headed further on the route again diverting ourselves from the traffic (read as other jeeps) and moved on for about 20 odd mins on the trail. We again heard similar alarm calls and this time it was more of a contest to spot the cat.

Here we go with the contest

The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo-img_2023.jpg

A fully grown male leopard in its prime (is what was said by the Jeep driver)

we were patiently waiting for the leopard to move to get a better glimpse of him. He did not disappoint us. He gave us the glimpse of his ability.

The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo-img_2039.jpg

The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo-img_2041.jpg

The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo-img_2048.jpg

He got down the tree and disappeared. We were looking around for the sounds from the bushes. We were stunned when the same leopard appeared out the bush about 30 odd feet on to the jeep trail and disappear again in to the bushes on the other side. I was frozen and completely forgot I had camera in my hand.

It was almost getting late and the driver reversed the jeep and headed back toward Hulikatte where there was the stripped cat was spotted the previous evening. We are about 15 mins into the driving towards Hulikatte, when my wife suddenly asked the driver to stop. None of us spotted anything, we were wondering why are we even stopping. And then she point to a tree top and spots the third leopard for the day.

The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo-img_2072.jpg

Demonstration of how to get down a tree - my expression was WOW. The first time experience really made it difficult for me to click pictures. The pictures are definitely not doing any justice to the actual experience.

The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo-img_2088.jpg

The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo-img_2090.jpg

The species which helped us spot the dotted cat in the safari.

The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo-img_2102.jpg

We were running against time by now to even get back on the main road before the forest gates were closed. The Hulikatte thing had to deleted of the wishlist.

Final solace on the main road by spotting a peacock.

The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo-img_2109.jpg

The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo-img_2014.jpg

Day 2 - Part 2 coming up

Last edited by nkrishnap : 17th February 2011 at 12:09.
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Old 17th February 2011, 12:10   #3
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Default Re: The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo

Stunning pics of the leopard.It is a great treat to see the stunning cat in it's natural habitat.

i think you are typing in the MS-word before posting the TL here and thus font names are appearing before every para. Try removing it , if you still have time to edit or maybe the MODS can help!!!
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Old 17th February 2011, 12:15   #4
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Default Re: The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo

^^ Pankaj. Yes its wonderful to watch these animals in their habitat. However, Bandipur, Nagarahole, Madumalai, Kabini are all flocked with visitors and more vehicles are being permitted in to the forest which is definitely becoming a nuisance to the animals.

On the Part 2, I have some things to share on the current state of the Gopalaswamy Betta.

By the way I have edited the posts, Hopefully it doesn't show the Tags anymore.
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Old 17th February 2011, 12:17   #5
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Default Re: The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo

@nkrishnap: Boy are you lucky? That is an understatement. It is raining Leopards for you. One of the most elusive & shy predator. It is very rare to sight one in the wild.

How I wish I were in your shoes. What camera were you using. Seems a P&S to me or a DSLR with kit lens. A zoom lens would have done wonders..

Sigh, some people have all the luck..
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Old 17th February 2011, 12:24   #6
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Default Re: The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo

My replies in Bold

Quote:
Originally Posted by gd1418 View Post
@nkrishnap: Boy are you lucky? That is an understatement. It is raining Leopards for you. One of the most elusive & shy predator. It is very rare to sight one in the wild.
That's exactly even the forest officers back at the ticket counter mentioned when we headed back

Quote:
How I wish I were in your shoes. What camera were you using. Seems a P&S to me or a DSLR with kit lens. A zoom lens would have done wonders..

Sigh, some people have all the luck..
I was using a DSLR Camera. I am very new to using this still :( These pics were shot with the 55-250 mm Canon lens. I am still on the transition from the P&S to the DSLR and have no clue about editing these pics.

Definitely need some tutorials on the same.
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Old 17th February 2011, 12:33   #7
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Default Re: The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo

Wow, those are some amazing captures of the ever elusive cat. The one in which the eyes are glowing green looks awesome.

Hey nkrishnap, are you sure there were 3 Leopards or just the one still contemplating about its meal!
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Old 17th February 2011, 12:35   #8
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Default Re: The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordofgondor View Post
Wow, those are some amazing captures of the ever elusive cat. The one in which the eyes are glowing green looks awesome.

Hey nkrishnap, are you sure there were 3 Leopards or just the one still contemplating about its meal!
These are definitely different ones as these were spotted a few kms apart.
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Old 17th February 2011, 12:59   #9
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Default Re: The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo

Krishna, 5***** for this TL. You've spotted the most elusive of the predators not one but thrice. Love your pics a lot, especially the Yawning Leopord's. Keep the pics coming.
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Old 17th February 2011, 13:31   #10
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Default Re: The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo

Three leopards in a day!! A very lucky man indeed
I never knew that non-JLR tourists also had an option for jeep safari. Thats cool. Next time i should try that
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Old 17th February 2011, 13:32   #11
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Default Re: The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo

Quote:
Originally Posted by traveloholic View Post
Krishna, 5***** for this TL. You've spotted the most elusive of the predators not one but thrice. Love your pics a lot, especially the Yawning Leopord's. Keep the pics coming.
Thanks for the rating. I am eager to get back to any of the safaris time and again.

Some more interesting facts coming out on the Bandipur forest range though these will not be supported with pictures. However, the reality and how these forests are used for the non intended purposes. One plain fact we humans need to accept is "Humans are cruel than any of the animals"
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Old 17th February 2011, 14:29   #12
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Default Re: The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo

Quote:
Originally Posted by mallumowgli View Post
Three leopards in a day!! A very lucky man indeed
I never knew that non-JLR tourists also had an option for jeep safari. Thats cool. Next time i should try that
Earlier one could hire the Karnataka Forest Depart Gypsy for the safari with max of 6 people for 2000 bucks.

Now not sure what the reason is, the department now does not have this safari service. Instead, these resorts have been given permits for the jeeps that they possess.

What we did was, we contacted a few people around and obtained the contact numbers of these resorts inside the forest and checked with them. One of these resorts had a spare jeep with permit and no extra guests he accommodated us.

We paid 750 bucks per head and a told of 3750 for 5 people. Though the asking price was costly, the spotting were priceless
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Old 17th February 2011, 14:52   #13
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Default Re: The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo

Krishna,
That is a close and long encounter of the panther in fluid motion.
Nice sequential shots and angles, you need a better camera, lens with better reach, now.

There are two things I am scrolling up and down for, your Hella MicroDE Fog lamps with 3000K HID and the Leopard.

Looking forward to more of your sightings.
Regards,

Last edited by fazalaliadil : 17th February 2011 at 14:57.
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Old 18th February 2011, 15:50   #14
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Default Re: The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo

Another wildlife thread!!!! Another visual treat. Nice pics there.
Awaiting pics of more encounters..
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Old 18th February 2011, 16:18   #15
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Default Re: The dotted Cat in Open forest and the stripped cat in a Zoo

Freaking mother of god! You got REAL lucky boss. Seeing leopards like this is fantastic! Kudos! 5*
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