Sunday, 22 May 2016

The Oldest Tiger of Tadoba

'Tadoba again?' 
"And that too in this heat?' this is how many friends reacted when we said we were off to Tadoba last week. Just one year back, we had been to Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR). But this time, we had our grandchildren for company. Yes, our three year old princess- Anuva and 12 year old Ansh- a keen nature lover besides our son Ankush and daughter-in-law Prabjoth made the team. Neeta and Ghumakkad made the rear guard of Team Tiger.

Readers may browse the earlier story titled 'Tiger Ahoy' for location map and other details. Those visitors who are unable to book a core zone safari through any of the five entry gates in advance, can try their luck with a buffer zone safari. Buffer zone safari is open on Tuesdays also when TATR park is otherwise closed for visitors. Buffer zone entry fee is Rs 300/- for a vehicle (as opposed to Rs 750 to 1000/- for core zone) with additional Rs 300/- for the forest guide. Gypsy hire charges remain same at Rs 2000/- Since we arrived on a Tuesday, we took a buffer zone safari from Moharli gate. It can also be taken from Devda gate. No. of vehicles entering the buffer zone is limited. Entry timings are 5.30 AM and 3 PM with exit timings of 9.30 AM and 6.30 PM for morning and afternoon safaris respectively. Timings vary slightly during winter months.

With temperature soaring to 43 degrees Celsius and beyond, you have to protect yourself from the heat. Cool cottons, a hat, plenty of water and sun shades are a must. Tiger too feels the heat and comes out to the water holes in TATR. This story takes you to one such water hole in the Moharli buffer zone in Tadoba. Relish the pictures.

For ease of identification and protection, the forest has been divided into compartments. The compartment numbers are prominently painted on tree barks. See the picture below. 
We spotted the pug marks of a tiger. This picture taken from our safari jeep shows the pug marks. On many safari visits, pug marks is all you see! 
Then we noticed a rufus tree pie close to a water hole. We knew the tiger was not far away as this bird is not afraid of the Tiger. 
Gray Langur also called the Hanuman Langur too made an appearance.
Tiger was not far behind. See the video as the tiger enters the water hole backwards.

Once settled in water, it showed its mighty paws.

How does the forest department replenish the water in the pool? By using a solar powered water pump! Very encouraging indeed.

Baghdoma-- the tiger claimed to be the oldest in Tadoba, seems to own the pool! 

After the tiger hauled himself out of the pool, we resumed our safari through a village to spot some more animals. 

Women folk in the villages spend a lot of time and energy to fetch water for their homes. It gives them time to interact socially. These women were surprised to see our Gypsy jeep. Safari jeeps do not have a horn to ensure silence in the forest.
Glimpses of some more wild life sighted by us in the buffer zone of Tadoba.

Dhol-- the Indian wild dogs hunt in packs and are a dangerous lot. We spotted a pack. Here is a wild dog stretching itself. 

As the sun started to go down, it was time for us to exit the forest too! See Ansh's silhouette against the setting sun.
 Animals too return home as the light fades.

The forest department has plans to introduce night safari. Night viewing towers are under construction. See the picture below. 
We hope the night safari will not unduly disturb the animals and they will continue to be safe in the years to come. 

Having shared the buffer zone story, we will soon be bringing you Ghumakkad's encounter with tigress Maya and her three cubs!

Thanks for browsing and stay connected.

   Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 22nd May 2016

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