This is a story of two halves. It was cold when we set off at 05:30 and, with the wind chill when the jeep got going, it was woolly hat cold. Nevertheless the meadows looked beautiful as the sun started to rise and the mists lay just above the grass. We saw a jackal far off, almost lost in the mist and, of course, herds of various species of deer. Among these were the barasingha (swamp deer), who looked surprisingly content to be up to their bellies in cold water chewing away. These are very rare and only to be seen in Kanha.
This time we were to visit the Kanha Zone and we explored every inch (or so it seemed). By the time we stopped for breakfast it was time to get rid of the layers and the hat (if only I’d brought a comb). The talk among the naturalists and spotters was that there had been no tiger sightings. As we made our way back, the feeling was that we would definitely see a tiger back in Mukki Zone this afternoon.
Over lunchtime, the camp had a visit from tribal artists and I bought two bright and beautiful paintings.
And so, we set of again. This time the wind was a welcome relief from the afternoon heat as we drove along. Perhaps the herds of deer were looking too relaxed and we drove around again without anything major happening.
Then, Raj and our spotter heard alarm calls of deer and langurs within the forest. We followed the sounds to a firebreak in the forest and we waited and waited ….. and waited. For quite a long time but still no tiger!!! It’s impossible to know if there wasn’t a tiger there at all, or if one was only a few feet away, watching us through the vegetation.
Still, today I have seen … a jackal, a mongoose, wild boar, a black buck, barasingha and spotted deer; birds, including owls, herons, wagtails and hawks, so I can’t complain.
And, to ease my disappointment, I bought a book called “The Tigers of Kanha”, which has a photograph of each single one of the damn things!