Wildlife Trails-Bandipur

Suparna Sunil, IIK Young Contributor
Wednesday, March 13, 2019

It was June and I was sprinting through my exams in the sweltering weather of Kuwait. It was the day of the last exam, as the clock ticked away in the exam hall we were getting more excited.…wound up…. and…..YES!!!, The bell had rung and that meant… we had profitably dashed through our exams! And it is probably a “tradition” in schools to wish each other before your holidays. Well we might normally just say, “Happy Holiday!”, “Enjoy your holidays.” And all that, but our whole class screamed, “We’re free!…. Yay!..... Happy Republic Day!!” (Because we just finished our exams!!!)
PS: The picture below literally shows how we looked after our exam!



I got back home, and my neighbour had just informed us that they were going on a tour of Karnataka. I got so excited and I invited to show them around, as this was my chance to get to show people around my home state! As soon as the day of departure arrived, I packed my bags and was all dolled up and ready to go!



Okay, now flash forward a couple of weeks. My friends and their family had arrived, without more ado, we promptly had breakfast and got inside the car and soon went on our way to Mysore from Bangalore. We had no time to waste! We did see some beautiful sites on the way.



Well, we planned of going to a one of the largest Tiger Reserve Parks, Bandipur national park, now that’s what you call a wildlife trail!

We checked into the Mysore sports club, that was where we were staying for the day. When I entered their lounge area I was astonished by the Ivory tusks, Deer heads and prizes of various hunting games. (PS: These were real! I enquired.) The club had been there since centuries so, naturally they had all kinds of stuff there! (All this is illegal now, so don’t go hunting for deer heads and elephant tusks.)





Next, we hopped on to the car and drove away to the Bandipur National Park and Sanctuary. We reached there in fairly an hour or so, picturesque views were on the carte du jour (French word for menu) yet again!

Bandipur National Park established in 1974 as a tiger reserve under Project Tiger, is a national park located in the state of Karnataka, which is the state with the highest tiger population in India, and also my home state. It is about 80km from the city of Mysore. Do you have a question,“Why was I even keen to go there?”. Let me tell you, earlier that year a person by name Ullas Karanth had actually come to Kuwait and was working as the head of Project Tiger.



K. Ullas Karanth is a conservation zoologist and a leading tiger expert based in Karnataka. He is the director of the Wildlife Conservation Society, India. He is notable for pioneering the scientific use of camera traps in population density studies of large wild mammals in India.
He said wonderful things about the forest that made you feel like you were one with the forest.
So, we planned to go on a jungle safari!, how exciting! We had to take the tickets and we would be off!



Our first sight was a beautiful chital deer. They sure were used to photography and one even posed for us!



And peacocks and peahens were a lovely sighting. The peacocks were flaunting their feathers and well, they were as proud as a peacock!



We even saw an extremely rare sighting a middle-aged Bara Sangha. Why is it called so? In Hindi “Bara” means twelve and “Sangha” means antlers. A fully-grown stag might have twelve to twenty branches on one of its antlers! But this one had lesser as it was only middle-aged.



Guess what we saw next! Yes, a cute little mongoose. It had a splendid, groomed mane and what not!



Hmmm…….., What’s next on our list? Cobras? Tigers? Kingfishers? No! Turtles, yes, those little creatures with a soft heart, but a hard shell.



And so, the list goes on and on……..Elephants. Yes, sure they might be common, but this kind of gave us a scare! It chased us in our open jeep until the forest officer who driving our jeep tried to lure it away into the bushes. That’s why they say, “Never stop a vehicle in front of an elephant.” Yikes!



We also saw Wild Roosters and Hens (locally called KAATUKOLI or NAATUKOLI) While naatukoli is bred in small village farms and also called free range chicken, hunting kaatukoli or wild roosters will put you behind bars.



Next awaiting us was a perching peacock who was brandishing its feathers.



Next, we saw Gaurs or Indian wild Bisons. Many of you might have seen one or not, depends. Well, just to give you a brief on it, they are muscular, rough looking bulls.



Next, were grey langurs who were not very welcoming to our presence but allowed us to click some pics.



I suddenly noticed some mysterious marks, or you could call it dents on the ground. The officer saw these and just with one look he said that these were fresh pug marks of a female Tiger!



He said that the tigress had been spotted at six in the morning, taking a nap, but unfortunately, we couldn’t track the tiger. At last the safari ended and we hopped on to our car and drove to Bangalore, yet again with serene views out of the window



Finally, I was back in Kuwait and had yet another set of exams to run through! That trip was one I would truly remember for eternity.
I guess that was the end of my Wildlife trail. What about yours?

Suparna Sunil
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Express your comment on this article

 
Syed Badruddin
Tuesday, August 13, 2019
Hi !!! Thanks for posting, very good vacation, experence. I appreciate you. ......


Suparna
Thursday, April 18, 2019
Thank You, For your very kind words
Will Continue writing. Hope you have read my other articles.

Indian
Tuesday, March 26, 2019
I like reading such articles.You did a great job.Regarding spotting the tiger ,my friends also visited corbet national park and all you ever see is tiger footprint n not the real tiger .Its always the same story .I wonder whether tigers r really there.

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