There are hardly any people in this planet, who are interested in forest and wildlife, but not aware of Jim Corbett and his interaction with Bengal Tigers in Indian forests. For many people tiger is a ferocious animal, an apex predator and a supreme hunter in wild and for Corbett a tiger is “A Large Hearted Gentleman”. (Man Eater of Kumaon)
This perspective of Corbett on tiger, made me curious over a period of time to see the animal in its natural habitat.
However, as far as spotting Bengal Tigers (or other Big Cats) in Indian or subcontinent forest is concerned, one basic philosophy I imbibed into my mind, in order to deal with my own expectations, was – “The dense forests of India, are unlike the Savannahs of Africa, where game spotting is a breeze. So, the experience of being part of an African safari or watching umpteen animal videos on National Geographic, even though real, but far from reality at the same time.” (Taken from the blog – Wander with Jo – TIGER SPOTTING 101 – THE UNLUCKY ADVENTURER’S GUIDE)
With this realization, I started my quest for Bengal Tigers, in the winter of 2015 and expecting to continue till autumn of 2022.
My ultimate goal is documenting all experiences – in the form of images taken during exploration in tiger habitats, stories heard from forest dwellers and events seen through my own eyes in forests. Then publish a book, which would be – “A common wildlife enthusiast’s ninety days of commentary on Bengal Tigers and its ecosystems in thirty tiger reserves of five tiger range countries.”
As the quest is only for Bengal Tigers among all the living six sub species of tigers across the world, which are found in Nepal, India, Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh, therefore I have picked up three tiger range countries of this sub-continent – India, Bangladesh and Nepal, as my primary areas of exploration for this story. In addition to above three tiger range countries, I am also planning to visit Myanmar and Bhutan as secondary areas of my exploration.
Out of all these countries, I have already finished my explorations in :
- Western Ghats – Bandipur, Periyar, BRT Tiger Reserve and Nagrahole ;
- Central India – Satpura, Pench, Kanha;
- Western India- Tadoba;
- North India – Sub Himalayan – Corbett;
- North East – Nameri; and
- Sundarbans of West Bengal and Bangladesh
I have spent one third of my planned 90 days exploration and visited 12 tiger reserves of two countries. Still have long way to go.
However, in those days, I have already seen and experienced tiger’s royal and majestic movement, growling, roaring, swimming, territory marking, debuckling, prey base assessing, stalking prey, and even human hunting !!
If everything goes as per plan, I would come up with my book – In the shadow of the Tiger, by middle of 2023.
The probable cover page of my forthcoming book:
This cover is a collage of images from my three most memorable explorations:
- Top: Hiking in India’s most adventurous bush walk in tiger reserves – in the tiger trail of Periyar Tiger Reserves (the related story is told already in Chapter Two: In the Shadow of the Tiger – Hiking in Highland);
- Middle: An early morning surprise sighting at Corbett National Park (the related story is told already in Chapter Five: Call of Corbett);
- Bottom: The alpha male of Sajnekhali, at Sundarbans National park, West Bengal (the related story is told already in Chapter Six: Conflict in Swampland).
As its going to be my first venture in writing stories on wildlife; I would depend largely on your feedback and suggestions.
Looking forward for it.