Nature never ceases to amaze us…!

On 3rd June 2016, we reluctantly entered the Tala Zone of Bandhavgarh because we didn’t get the current entry ticket for Magadhi Zone where tiger sightings were most probable at that time. We got late at the ticket counter and entered late in the jungle around 6am and there were no signs, calls, or reports of any tiger sightings until we reached centre point around 7.45am. Another vehicle from our group came from a different route and informed us that they managed to see a glimpse of a tigress (Rajbahra’s daughter “Solo”) in the Rajbahra area and some drag marks of a Cheetal kill. Sun was getting harsh and the jungle was blazing hot around 8am we lost hopes of sighting that morning as we knew that tigers won’t move in such conditions. So we took a rest & had our ‘Chai with Aaloo banda’ breakfast and left center point around 8.15am. As soon as we reached the ‘Rapta’ (small bridge) of river Damnaar, we heard a loud Cheetal (spotted deer) alarm call from our right side, we asked the driver to stop the gypsy then another call, a confirmed one next followed by Langoor (Monkey) alarm calls, those typical ones they make when they see a leopard. We were sure that there is a leopard somewhere to our right in the dry river. Sir “Tiger!! Tiger!!!” our driver Vinod Yadav screamed and we turned our cameras where he was pointing and started clicking and “Sir, bachche bhi hain.. cubs hain sir” Rohni Singh our guide informed us with all the excitement and all I could see something was tumbling down from the riverbank. After a few seconds I realized they were cubs when they started walking with their mother. It was ‘Spotty’ or ‘New Mirchahni’ or ‘Damnaar Female’ daughter of ‘Sukhi Patiya’ was moving out with her cubs for the first time. She was not seen by any safari vehicles, patrolling teams and tracking elephants for 1 month or so. The Forest Department was speculating that she might have given birth to cubs but there was no confirmed news. Luckily, we were the first ones to spot her with cubs and managed to click some memorable photos as well. It was like ‘two sightings in one’, the first tigress crossed the river, entered into foliage, and reappeared to cross the road with her little ones then she vanished into the jungle towards ‘Sher Marg’  on our left side.

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