Tuesday, May 19, 2009
The Quest For Tigers
Delving into India’s wilder side, expedition leaders Susi Allison-Lama and Butch Lama give their perspective from the field on where to find and photograph the Royal Bengal tiger
Before the sun rises, your search for tigers begins. Experienced guides often return to where tigers were last seen or most likely to go during the night; tigers travel up 20 to 50 kilometers either on patrol, in search of prey or, in the colder months, to help stay warm. Look and listen for clues to the tigers’ whereabouts—pugmarks left in the soft dirt or sand indicate where a tiger is headed, and most prey animals and some birds sound distinctive alarm calls when a predator is nearby.
If the park keeps a stable of elephants, mahouts saddle them up and enter the park before it opens. They have key advantages over the Jeeps®—their head start, their higher vantage point and their ability to go “off-road” just about anywhere in search of tigers. Some parks permit viewing tigers briefly from the elephant—a costly option, as under certain conditions you may be able to reserve an elephant for an entire day(s).
The Unexpected In Untouched India
Should you decide to see the wilder side of India, don’t be surprised if you’re moved in ways you hadn’t expected. With all of the pressures on India, seeing it through the prism of its wildlife also reveals much about the culture and its people in these remote places. It’s not uncommon for photographers and wildlife enthusiasts to return to India’s parks year after year. You’ve been forewarned.
Butch Lama and Susi Allison-Lama are co-owners of Wild India LLC, a travel company specializing in wildlife destinations in India, catering to wildlife enthusiasts and photographers. To learn more, visit www.butchlama.com.
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