Tadoba was much greener this summer than I've ever seen it at this time of year. All thanks to several days of rain in April.
Above: Eden-like scene - langurs, boar and sambar. We had good views of barking deer but my pictures didn't turn out too well.
Above: A young tigress sitting on the road between the Moharli and Khatoda gates.
Above: There were forest staff present at the site, a good move by the management, though the guards need to be stricter to be really effective.
Above, below: The tigress was not at all nervous around humans. She got up and walked past us, barely 25 feet away.
Above, below: Rear end of a bear. I would rather have clicked the front end, but the bear was in a rush and didn't oblige!
Above: My favourite mammal - the dhole! A family of five (parents and three pups) were being seen regularly near the Khatoda gate. It's been two years since I saw dholes so this was a huge treat.
Above: This was disgusting. We came upon 14 tourist-filled vehicles jamming the road to gawk at a young male tiger sitting in a waterhole. We wanted to drive away from the mob but the road was completely blocked and we couldn't move for some time. There was a forest guard present but he couldn't do anything much to control the crowd. Then a huge state transport bus full of villagers came rattling along the road, and it stopped for a few minutes to allow the noisy excited passengers to point and jabber loudly.
Above: The young male who had attracted the noisy crowd. He seemed unaware of the traffic jam he had caused.
Above: The young tigress is back for a bath.
A few changes I noticed since my last trip in March:
- The two young tigers we saw (brother and sister from one of last year's litters) had absolutely no fear of humans. Almost all tigers I've seen in this park - and there have been quite a few - were quite wary of humans, and always kept a watchful eye on tourists, moving away if people became too intrusive or irritating. These two reminded me of Kanha tigers. I don't know if this is a good thing. After all Tadoba is a small park, and beyond its borders humans are anything but tolerant of big cats. I don't want to think about what would happen if such trusting animals wandered into the disturbed forests or villages beyond the periphery.
- The row of waterholes between Moharli and Khatoda gates have been filled up, and new ones have been made a bit further away from the road, inside the fire lines. This is a definite improvement as the old ones were far too close to the road for the tigers' comfort. This may in fact be one reason why the tigers seemed undisturbed by humans.
- A forest guard was present at this site, both times tigers were seen that morning. During the first sighting there were five vehicles so it was easy to control the tourists. The second time there were 14 vehicles and he wasn't effective at all; but this is certainly a step in the right direction isn't it?
- There were more tourists this time than I've ever seen in Tadoba. Bad news. Specially as they mostly didn't seem to be nature lovers or wildlife enthusiasts. Read this earlier post Tourists and Tigermania.