The orange alert

Sakal Times
Saturday, 11 May 2019

Tiger is a large-hearted gentleman with boundless courage and that when he is exterminated — as exterminated he will be unless public opinion rallies to his support — India will be the poorer, having lost the finest of her fauna — Jim Corbett

Tadoba offers a range of opportunities to serious wildlife buffs, with tiger sighting being the main attraction, says Saurabh Chitale

Let’s do a jungle safari when the summer is at peak,” I said to the wildlife enthusiasts in my group of friends. After a few brainstorming sessions about logistics, sighting probability, weather, accommodations, we unanimously decided to go to Tadoba, also known as Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve — a tropical dry deciduous forest in central India and amongst a few with a high density of tigers.

Summer season creates an ideal condition for wildlife sightings due to fall and the ever-shrinking water bodies when water is most needed. 

All bookings were done and finally, the day arrived. Sometimes the journey itself is as enjoyable as the destination and we felt that during our trip. After a relatively long but most enjoyed train journey from Pune to Nagpur, we reached Tadoba MTDC resort. Most jungle resorts offer ‘utmost comfort amidst jungle’ and ours was no different. It made our stay very enjoyable.

Then came the most interesting part of our tour: the jungle safaris! We started Safari 1 in Junona buffer zone with many questions in our mind and blazing sun on our head. During our train journey, we had got the news about “orange alert” which said the temperature could reach 47° C. 

The first safari was dry; both weatherwise and sighting wise. That’s when we understood the actual meaning of Orange Alert. We could hear a few alarm calls while returning but only when we were leaving the jungle.

All remaining safaris were from Moharli gate in the Core Zone of Tadoba. Morning safaris were very pleasant. Relatively cooler breeze and lots of enthusiasm! 

Then came the moment of truth. A series of alarm calls made us stay put in one particular area. And out came the royal cat. We could sight 3 tigers in that safari. Phew! A sigh of relief and huge satisfaction for some of the members who were seeing the tiger for the very first time in their life. 

We were back at the resort and there was a long discussion session among the elated group members.

All the other safaris were pretty much action-packed and fruitful. Our members collectively saw 9 tigers, 1 leopard, 2 sloth bears, a pack of wild dogs chasing a spotted deer, a flying squirrel, a few reptiles and many birds.

Of course, the peace of mind and satisfaction, the fresh non-polluted air are the ultimate gifts any jungle gives you without any expectation. Sighting, no sighting, hot weather, cold weather — whatever it is, one should be able to love the jungle and respect every aspect of nature.

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