the-south-asian Life & Times                       April-June 2011




 Editor's Note


 Cover Story

 Team India Readies
 for World Cup 2011

 India's Foursome

 Golden Age of Polo
 in India


 Rare & Royal Classics


 Dalip Singh Majithia
 - the First Landing
 in Nepal

 The First Aerial Shots
 of Mt. Everest

 Trivandrum's New


Travel Destination

 Jim's Jungle Retreat


 The Kalasha

 Lakshan Bibi


 Tiger-Sightings in

 Corbett Wildlife
 by Majid Hussain


 Somdev Devvarman

 By O P Dutta

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Tiger-Sighting in Corbett 

Bhola was spotted twice in two days!

"Tiger," the guide said in a loud whisper, pointing to the right, a few yards beyond the jeep track. The jungle monarch was ambling towards a small waterhole and decided to stretch himself in the Jacuzzi-size depression. Our driver made a sharp right and we were face to face with the mighty Royal Bengal – now just seven feet from us. I stared mesmerized, never before had I seen a tiger this close (except in a zoo). I had been told the chances of seeing one were just too small. Yet here we were on the second day of a safari, with a second tiger in our sights. We continued to watch the tiger, cameras clicking away and the tiger giving us different angles of his regal profile. Then, in a sudden and a swift move, he grabbed his prey - a young spotted deer that had come for his evening pint- and made the kill. This wasn’t the Happy Hour. None of us could have dreamed of this National Geographic moment!!! This happened on March 6, 2011 in Bijrani, the eastern tourism zone of Corbett National Park, in Uttarakhand, India.

I have been stalking the jungle guides in India for over three decades now – in Sariska more than elsewhere, only for its close proximity to Delhi. However, Ranthambhore, Bandhavgarh, Panna, Kanha, Kabini, Periyar, Madhumalai, Corbett, and many other forests and reserves later I concluded that the Panthera tigris was a schizophrenic creation of all the jungle guides – you see it , and now you don’t see it. Mercifully, Panna and Sariska confessed, when challenged by a group of students, to the non-existence of tigers in their reserves. This was five years ago – having misled tiger-trailers for years!

The tiger, we all know, is in deep trouble. Globally, there are now just 3,200 tigers left in the wild. In India they are down to around 1,700, according to a recent tiger census - from an estimated population of 40,000 a century ago. Four sub-species are now extinct - the Bali, Javan, Caspian, and South China. Shere Khan is teetering on the very brink of extinction.

But – there remains one sanctuary where the tiger population is in fact growing. The Corbett National Park, Asia’s first protected forest, in Uttarakhand, India, recorded 22.5 tigers per 100 sq km – the highest ever recorded anywhere in the world. There are over 225 tigers roaming the 1300 sq km reserve - one of the largest Royal Bengal tiger populations - not counting the roughly 35 cubs sighted in the camera traps.


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