Saturday, January 12, 2013

Chakradhara Leopard

Chakradhara Leopard has obiliged many in last few weeks in Bandhavgarh so when we both were in the jungle we decided to look for him and not to chase the Tiger.
Upper part of Chakradhara meadow is dangerous spot for leopard due to Vijya and her cubs so they hang around more around Bathan Junction or Siddhbaba temple area.
We reached Siddhbaba around 8 am. On regular interval of 10 - 15 minutes the alarm calls were still going on. It must have been a leopard otherwise a Tiger would have either moved or if he is sitting deer will keep an eye on him and wont waste energy by giving constant alarm call. We decided to stay in this area. Tiger hunters had already left the area so Chakradhara came to his old glory of "Magic meadow" 

A sharp alarm call from spotted deer is always a positive sign. Sanjay saw him moving in rear view glass and reversed the jeep quickly. Now we are face to face to a leopard but this joy lasted only for a second. He just jumped off the road but still walking towards us so we decided to stop where we were about 200 mtrs away from him. He regain some confidence and came on road but we decided to stay still for few minutes so lost the chance of photographing him on the road. Loosing few initial shots was a good idea, it paid well in multiple instalment quickly.

He jumped on a rock to sit for few seconds but looking around nervously. Jumped off the rock sniff the tree, flehman, sprayed and moved away. 

Never seen a leopard doing it before. 
He obiliged us for next 30 minutes or so doing what an animal should do for a perfect demonstration. If you know the road from Siddhbaba temple to Chakradhara then you will remember all those rocks where seeing a Leopard was a dream but today many of those dreams come true.
He started from Bathan junction and vanished in ferns of Siddhbaba. 
While checking our pictures from our last glimpse of a leopard we noticed that this was a younger animal. 



Monday, January 7, 2013


It was a cold morning of usual January weather in Bandhavgarh. Yesterday our elephant ride was cocked up so I booked the elephant again. Vijya took her cubs back to the fort hill. Forest department still trying to find her about her health. Tourists now a days are very sensitive about Tigers health. According to them Vijya, Blue Eyed and I 9 are limping in the park. Vet says it could be due to physical injuries but nothing seriousness. How it could be serious when Vijya can walk 15 km in the night and then take her cubs for another 5 kilometer. 
After seeing Vishnu statue we decided to complete our route. We were not expecting any tiger sighting at this time of the day. We left Sheshshaiyya after 0830 looking for some nice Malabar Pied Hornbill on way to Ghodademon. It was very quite. No pugmarks and nor any bird. Often this road produces some nice birding behind Ganesh Pahadi but today it was quite.
There were no Tiger pug marks of any sort at Ghodademon junction. So even last hope of seeing any cat around died out quickly.
I asked Ramlakhan our guide to keep an eye on Monkey alarm calls  because in this area when Tiger crosses the hills monkey's are the first to sight him or only animal to give first alarm call. Just on rocky bit of Ghodademon towards Khirki junction we saw some pug marks and quickly Ramlakhan declared that's male walked last night. We agreed to him but in next few seconds I saw some fresh pug marks on  jeep tracks and mumbled "what is this happening".
I dont know if any one heard me or not but I was not happy with Ramlakhan's view that male tiger walked last night. This was all going in my brain and suddenly me and Sanjay, both saw a Tiger walking on road. We stopped to give her some space. I took few pictures of her walking on road that I deleted later on on camera itself. After walking for 100 meters on road in-front of jeep suddenly she stopped to sniff the grass.
She was very puzzled.

Who is this Tiger who walked here in my territory?
It must have been Shashi?
Pugmarks shows it was Shashi.

She sniffed the ground and followed the scent mark to a grassy patch where Shashi sat in the night.
She sniffed the ground again and soon started rubbing her body on the same spot. She wanted to cover his scent mark with her.
I witnessed this behaviour only second time in my life. One has to be very lucky to find a Tiger displaying this kind of behaviour. it all becomes possible when there is only one vehicle and you dont have Photo greedy tourists to give her enough space. In our vehicle I was the only person with camera. Guests were only watching her. Mr Prasad told us later that he never carries any camera any where in the world.
She was sniffing and marking every possible tree trunk and bush where this male may have marked his territory.

We gave her more than hundred meters space to walk freely on the road. Luckily she chose the same road on which we were a head of her. She walked more than 300 meters behind our jeep and follow the scent mark of Shashi in to Khirki gorge.
It was 30 minutes of pure joy in the jungle.