Tadoba - Part 8

Read earlier posts here - Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6, Part 7

With 60% of the safari's complete, we were getting anxious. There has been no sighting of the tiger or leopard or even bear. Deer and Monkeys - we were not so excited. Bandipur had given us enough pleasure of seeing them pretty closely. What we wanted was Tiger, leopard or bear.

Second day, afternoon safari. I charged myself up by convincing that the eventful morning is a kind of promise that there would be tiger sighting today. When we reached the reserve gate, we saw a new driver along with Ashish - Jeetu. Ashish introduced him to us stating Jeetu is a lucky guy for him, whenever he had taken Jeetu, he had seen tiger. We're like - okay - if that gives us a chance to see tiger, why not??  

Even after some rounds in Jamunjori, Kavichi lane and what not, there were no new signs , trails of the tiger/tigress. We were kind of pumping up Jeetu to get something. While driving on a lonely road inside the Jungle, we suddenly heard "Calling". Rather it was Jeetu and Vitthalbhau who heard it and stopped. Waiting patiently, we also heard it. Vitthalbhau qualified it as "Barking deer" Calling, which convincingly is for presence of Tiger around. Our hopes were raised again. Last day, we had heard Sambar Calling [which has been incorrectly blogged as "Barking deer" calling] and now Barking dear. We were completely desperate to see the real thing. As we were waiting quietly, other vehicles started lining up. We had to pretend that we had halted for some quick snack and there was really nothing around. We could succeed with few of them, it looked like the guides and drivers were not good listeners of the Calling.

Half an hour passed, still there was no movement. The Calling also faded away and finally we convinced ourselves that Tiger must have slipped somewhere else now and it would be difficult to trace him/her further. We started making rounds of the jungle, but in vain. Even Jeetu's luck didn't bring us the tiger or tigress. Looked like our bad luck was stronger than his good luck!!

We had almost given up the hopes now. Even the last safari - third day morning - was kind of uneventful. We got some trails of Tiger excreta, but as happened earlier, even this time, the tiger had passed from the same road after we crossed it. During the information exchange at Khatoda gate, Ashish got to know that the tiger was sighted in some area which we haven't been to. Lot of time had elapsed, but as a last attempt, he took us there. We had to return empty handed. Oops - empty eyed :(

All in all, except for the Wild Dogs and The Chase, the safaris were uneventful. Multiple reasons for this experience. Apparently, this was not the best time for sightings. Apr-Jun is the time when most of the sightings happen. There was grass all around, of the height 3-4 feet. A tiger could easily hide in such a grass and we would never see it. There were ample water bodies deep inside the Jungle and hence the animals usually do not come to this part of the jungle where the Safari's are usually arranged. However, the situation changes in the summer, when the inner water bodies go dry and animals are forced to come to this part, where Forest Dept fills up the water bodies using tankers. 

With the promise to ourselves to return in one of the summers, we returned back to our base at MTDC.



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