I still remember the day I spotted this tigress sleeping in a nullah unfazed by the crowd that she gathered, an evening siesta. From the place where I was only her white belly was visible through the blades of grass, sleeping blissfully on the white sand.
The crowd grew in number as more and more safari vehicles arrived; she was spotted in and around the same place in the morning which is why the guides knew where to locate her first. She had made a kill in the morning not far from the nullah, a pool of water and the soft sand made for a perfect resting place. After the vehicles in the front moved ahead and we drove a little bit to get a better view of her as she lay hidden. Now we could see her entire body from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail, so far she did not even look up once.
Our guests were thrilled to see a tiger and for one of them it was the first sighting of a wild tiger, seeing your first big cat in the wild is always special.
She raised her head a little and looked at the noisy crowd, managing the crowd that gathers in Pench, Maharashtra definitely needs to be a lot better compared to its counterpart in Madhya Pradesh. Though there are rules and regulations in reference to tourism it needs to be implemented in a much more effective way.
It is not difficult to understand why a crowd goes berserk when they see a wild big cat at such a close distance keeping in mind that everyone at that moment would like to have a glimpse. The other animals belonging to the hoofed family are commonly seen compared to the elusive big cat which avoids human interaction as much as possible thereby making it very difficult to see. So the excitement in seeing one is valid however having said that there should be absolutely no lax or flexibility in implementing the existing rules to better managing the crowd.
Seen in the photograph below, the tigress looks at the maddening crowd with ears facing forward which indicates it’s listening to the noise.
Few moments of staring at the crowd and then she goes back to sleep again. As with every individual tiger, Baras has an unmistakable “trishul” sign on her left cheek which makes it easy to identify her.
After spending some amazing moments with the tigress we headed left the park. This was the first of many interactions with this tigress named “Baras”; in my next blog I’ll share more interesting reads about her life.
One of many adventurers of working as a Naturalist in Vannraj Resorts, Pench Tiger Reserve,till then Auf Wiedersehen!