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Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Cat Luck...

The top cats of India, the tiger and the panther are always a delight to encounter in the wild. In the "South Indian" forests, it is mostly luck that is considered as the main factor for one to even get a glimpse of these awesome animals. Thus, I consider myself extremely lucky to have come across these cats several times on my multiple visits to these forests. I am very happy to present to you, two of my good experiences...

A tiger cub at Bandipur, Karnataka. August, 2009.

I. August, 2009 - Bandipur National Park, Karnataka, India

On the 28th of August, almost towards the end of our morning round, we spotted a tigress in the bush. Always a wonderful feeling of excitement! She looked at us and then yawned. As we watched she slowly got up and walked away into the bush or so we thought! Suddenly, she was right besides us! What made her take a u-turn and come right back towards us is still a mystery to me, though in all that excitement I was able to grab my camera and take a few shots of her! In the same area, others have seen a tigress with four cubs! Was this the mother we wondered?

A Tigress "too close" at Bandipur, Karnataka. August, 2009.

On the 29th of August afternoon, the much anticipated moment arrived! We saw three tigers together!! Mother teaching her cubs to hunt? Here see for yourself...

Tiger teaches its cubs to hunt! from Vijay Cavale on Vimeo.

II. November, 2009 - Kabini, Nagarhole National Park, Karnataka, India

On the 25th of November, we were roaming in the Kabini area of the Nagarhole National Park. At about 4 pm we saw a Panther walking on the forest road not too far in front of our vehicle. On detecting us (I assume), the animal left the road and headed for the undergrowth. It disappeared inside the bushes as we crawled nearer... Gone we thought with a happy feeling of the sighting. Suddenly there was a loud noise (something like a snort) as we saw the Panther shoot up a tree and stand still just above the undergrowth. It looked keenly around for a while as a monkey would. We then saw a Sambar Deer walk out from the same spot the Panther had walked in! The Sambar gave some loud alarm calls for a while as the Panther climbed down and disappeared! We were able to get some good images of this behavior of the Panther shooting up a tree at the slightest sense of danger!

A Panther shoots up a tree at Kabini, Karnataka. November, 2009.

On the 27th Morning as we were just finishing our round, we heard some monkeys calling in panic. A little ahead we saw two Panthers sitting on a fallen log by the road side! We spent about half an hour with these wonderful animals as they sat camly on the log while the monkeys went mad above them. I guess they were mating... here see for yourself! ->

Panthers at Kabini! from Vijay Cavale on Vimeo.

A pair of Panthers! at Kabini, Karnataka. November, 2009.

"The calm princess"! at Kabini, Karnataka. November, 2009.

We left the calm princess sitting on the log while the monkeys kept calling all the time!

These two opportunities, one each with tigers and panthers, I shall cherish for the rest of my days...

Vijay Cavale
November, 2009