A tiger experience is as fascinating and heart pounding as one would expect, even with that in mind, I wasn’t prepared for what I was about to see.
The deer in the not so tall grass! It was 15 February 2015 and I, along with a group, was in Corbett National Park all set for a Jeep Safari in the evening. The sky was full of clouds and it was drizzling, not enough to keep away the animals in the jungle, instead to bring them out to hunt!
We entered the beautiful lush green forest – I love the silence and peace that comes from stepping into this tranquil landscape. The tigress we were tracking was nowhere to be seen but a lone male deer was in the grassland close by. After a couple of minutes, the deer starts giving a call and walking his way back towards our Gypsy (a four wheel drive vehicle manufactured in India by Maruti Suzuki) which was stationed 20 metres ahead of 3 other Gypsy jeeps clustered together.
Our eyes started searching across the not so tall grass where, towards the left, was a tigress crouching. The six people in our Gypsy were stunned, no one said a word. It is said that if you see a tiger in the jungle, you should remain silent and still.
The crouching tigress! The deer seemed unaware that it was walking towards its predator’s location, “Charamma” the tigress settled in to her stalking position, and her eyes marked her target. The deer saw the tigress and stood up a little, our hearts started racing. The deer then took 5–7 seconds to spot the tiger and started galloping right towards our vehicle.
The tigress anticipated the deer’s movement and started its chase. Were we going to see the blood spill? Were we going to see this tigress hunt down and take away her prey? The deer was running for its life with the tigress close behind.
Our Gypsy was in the middle of the scene. As we watched, the deer made its way through thickets and across uneven paths and leaped behind our jeep to climb on to higher ground. The tigress took a shorter route in front of our Gypsy trying to intercept the deer when suddenly the deer slipped and fell down the hill. We found ourselves staring down at the deer lying right beside us. We all thought that was it, but within seconds the deer was back on its feet and ran off into the undergrowth and together with the tigress, disappeared from sight.
I managed to click the pictures of this enthralling 25 second scenario, which kept us in a state of shock and our hearts racing for a good 15 minutes afterwards. This whole experience was only possible because of our guide, Bobby Singh, who stationed our Gypsy between prey and predator, allowing us to witness nature at its most thrilling! This was truly an experience of a lifetime!
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