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Safari with Suyash Ep 2: Land of the Tiger | #WWFVoices

December 26, 2019


It’s making me hungry. On this series, I am taking you to the tiger capital of the world. Located in the heart of incredible India, this is Bandhavgarh National Park. It was once a hunting reserve for the royalty who hunted hundreds of tigers from elephant backs But in 1968, Bandhavgarh was declared a National Park and since then the tiger population has rebounded. and now, this is truly the land of the tiger. Bandhavgarh is spread across 1600 square kilometers of prime tiger habitat. You’ve got thick forests, with rolling hills and grasslands. And a large quantity of prey animals, including twenty-five species of mammals and nearly three-hundred species of birds. While it’s easy to spot the common inhabitants of Bandhavgarh, tigers are incredibly elusive. They have the perfect camouflage which allows them to disappear right in front of your eyes. That’s why, I have teamed up with Gudda and Rajesh, who are expert trackers Together, we look for signs of big cat activity. We have just been driving around for a little bit and finally we have just found some pug marks. And as you can see, these are very fresh. and the reason I say that is because the edges if you look closer are completely refined. Especially over here. And if you can look at this pugmark as well. You see the edges are so refined. And these pugmarks are on top of a vehicle track because you can see here there are some vehicle tracks and another vehicle hasn’t come through here yet. And taking a closer look at them, they are really large, so I reckon this is a male tiger and not a female because with females the pugmarks are really elongated and not as square as this one right here. Maybe the tiger walked here thirty minutes to an hour. Usually what would happen is as the pugmarks get older and older, the wind would blow the sand over, and the sand would get deposited on the pugmarks and the edges kind of get erased. But this one the edges are really sharp and really really prominent. So the tiger can be somewhere nearby. So with that its time for us to get back on the vehicle and figers crossed, let’s hope we get some tigers. While trying to find tigers, it is very important to read the forests. So we look for alarm calls of animals such as the Chital Deer. Any time, a deer sees a big cat, it alerts other animals in the forest. And once you have found some signs of big cat activity It’s time for you to wait. Finding tigers is all about patience. So you wait. You wait. And wait. And keep waiting. Until… This is absolutely crazy, look how close we are to this big male tiger. He is so close that my long lens cannot even focus Thank god for smartphones. This tiger is marking his territory. A spray mark to let other tigers know who he is and a good-old scat mark to warn them, not to mess with him. Tigers are highly solitary animals. So in order to ensure that others do not encroach on their home range, they have to cover a large amount of ground every single day, and mark it as their own. While territories of a female can range between fifteen and forty square-kilometers, A male tiger’s home range can be over a hundred square kilometers. That’s a lot of ground to cover. So with that in mind He’s gone, as soon as he came. As we head back, something catches our eye. Stay tuned for the next episode to find out exactly what that is.

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