October 2013

We witnessed this memorable moment during our safari in Kisli Zone of Kanha National Park, where the possibility of tiger spotting is much higher. We embarked upon our tiger safari on a crisp winter afternoon. On reaching the place where chances of spotting a tigress with cubs was higher, we waited patiently in our jeeps. After a long wait, many tourists began heading back, disheartened at not being able to spot a tiger. We were amongst the last few that remained at the site and as we were losing light, we had no option but to return too. Just when our jeep turned to head back and we had given up all hope of sighting a tiger, we stopped still. A movement in the bushes to our left caught our attention.

On the other side of the road I could make out the tips of two small ears peeking out from behind the foliage a little further into the jungle. My heart instantly leapt with joy. I knew which animal those ears belonged to! Out of sheer excitement all of us stood rooted to the spot in silence, none of us dared to make any movement. We must have maintained the same position for almost ten minutes when our efforts finally paid off! Out of the camouflage emerged the animal and approached us cautiously. The distance between us began to decrease and only when the creature was about 20 metres away from us that we realised it was a cub, instead of a fully-grown adult. The cub was extremely adorable – it had an air of curiosity about it. The marvellous creature simply lifted its head and stared at us for some time with wide, burning amber eyes and it had the most incredible child-like gaze! We stood in a trance-like state, mesmerised by the power of its curious gaze, until it disappeared into the green once more.

Name: Shikra
Accipiter badius

Introduction - The word “Shikra” comes from the Hindi word “Shikar” meaning “hunting”, this tiny raptor found all across India, is recognisable due to its aggressive hunting style and feeding habits.
Size -  In terms of size, the Shikra happens to be slightly smaller than a common crow.

Presence -The Shikra is abird of prey that can be spotted in most parts of India. Its habitat ranges from densely forested areas to large cities. Usually, the smaller Birds such as the Bulbul, Jungle Babblers or Bee-eaters are quick to sense the movement of the Shikra in the vicinity and they generally alert the others by generating shrill alarm sounds or flying in a helter skelter fashion. The Shikra can often be spotted sitting atop some vantage point, surveying the area for prey.

October is one of the most pleasant months in India for tourism activities. The end of the monsoon season, the forests of India remain lush and green during this period. The month marks the start of a new season for wildlife tourism in the country. Our previous Tiger Talks dealt with the Tigers of Tadoba. In this edition, we shall take a look at the tigers of Bandhavgarh. Out of all the existing tiger reserves in India, Bandhavgarh presents the most exciting opportunities this season since there have been reports of several tiger births in the area. We can’t wait to spot some tigers in the jungle. This season, Tala Zone is the one to look out for. Let us take you through a zone-wise understanding of the tigers.

Sunderbans National Park in West Bengal (East India), Bangladesh

The Sunderbans have the reputation of being the greatest single block of tidal halophytic mangrove forests in the globe. Deemed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997, the Sunderbans have gained unprecedented popularity due to the frequent tiger sightings in the region. Comprising of a Tiger Reserve, a National Park as well as a Biosphere Reserve located in the Sunderbans Delta of West Bengal, the whole area remains densely populated by scenic mangrove forests.

Location – The forest area of the Sunderbans is situated in the massive Ganga Brahmaputra Delta at the Bay of Bengal formed by the confluence of the major rivers, Meghna, Padma and Brahmaputra across the southern portion of Bangladesh.

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