We heard distress calls during all the five safaris and explored every vantage point we could, but we did not see a single tiger or a leopard.This photograph reminds me what this whole experience felt like…so near, yet so far, in the dense jungle that is Sariska!
Sariska National Park is set in the Aravalli Mountains near Alwar in Rajasthan. Sariska is a dense jungle and we have never seen tigers or leopards during the winter, but that doesn’t stop us from trying!
We would stop by the central check post during every safari to exchange notes with other naturalists and come up with a strategy to find tigers. At this time babblers and treepies came within a foot of us.
We visited Sariska in the winter — in January 2020 days before the coronavirus hit India. It gets very cold in the winter in Rajasthan. I wore thermal innerwear, a warm jacket, two pairs of gloves on each hand and a faux fur aviator hat on my head, still, I couldn’t stop shivering! There was frost on the forest floor everywhere.
We saw a large herd of sambar deer calling in distress. Now deer, monkeys, peacocks and other tiger prey sound distress calls when they see a predator. So obviously they could see a creature that threatened them!
We circled the entire area trying to get a glimpse of a tiger or a leopard through the shrubs — but we couldn’t see it.
The next morning we saw this langur sitting high up on a tree and calling in distress (find sound clip). We explored the area for over half an hour but there wasn’t a big cat in sight.
Other babblers and treepies, bulbuls and parakeets helped themselves to a drink of water, at the water tank, by perching on the leaking tap and placing their beak under it.
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