TIGERS OF KANHA NATIONAL PARK

Bengal Tiger, Kanha - the Babatega female.

Bengal Tiger, Kanha - the Babatega female.

THIS TIME KANHA REPAID OUR EFFORTS to get to this beautiful and remote national park. We enjoyed some great photographic opportunities in its lovely forests and meadows often in very good light, despite crazy electrical storms and torrential rain, which saw us taking cover at times. Fortunately masala chai and a hot shower back at our lovely lodge were never too far away! The early mornings at Kanha zone were particularly nice, with dramatic shafts of light breaking through the mature trees there. Kanha’s highlights this time were the two stunning tiger encounters. One, an animal walking away along a forest track and then retracing its steps some time afterwards and giving a thrilling head-on walking view only a few metres away and the other doing a similar thing but this time in natural vegetation. Everyone was at last on the scoreboard. Phew!

Bengal Tiger, Kanha. There's no feeling like when they look you in the eye at close range!

Gaur, the huge wild forest-dwelling ox, appears to be doing very well indeed at Kanha despite donating at least 50 animals to Bandhavgarh and we encountered several groups there, one a herd of at least 21 in the meadows of Kanha zone. Several of these were immense bulls and one particularly stubborn animal with huge horns blocked the way head and had our jeep driver reversing more than once! The shaggy-coated Barasinghe, the endangered ‘hard ground’ form of Swamp Deer were also numerous along with many of the other now familiar Indian mammals. A Jungle Cat obliged for some but birds were generally a little less conspicuous than at Bandhavgarh but included some photogenic Indian Scops Owls.

A Chital (or Spotted Deer) stag in early morning rays of sunshine.

A Chital (or Spotted Deer) stag in early morning rays of sunshine.