I’d like share this jungle tale of a busy Sleeping Indian Leopard that I recently spotted on my trip to Nagarhole Tiger reserve (Kabini).
Actually, it was one of the very experienced naturalists/guides who spotted this elusive creature with his radar eyes, a challenging task as you can see how well the cat has blended with its surrounding.
An interesting story this is. A couple of jeeps lined up at the spot after its location went viral within a couple of minutes and every person on each jeep around was waiting for those beautiful eyes to beam at them. There was a twist though, we had only 10 minutes left in hand after which jeeps are ordered to move out of the reserve.
This leopard, I guess, had a filling dinner (might have killed a sambar or a spotted deer) the previous night, hence the presence of us humans wasn’t enough for it to wake up, else we’re really awesome at destroying peace around us. I got so excited that I found myself on top of the jeep, with my Index finger half pressed to focus, ready to make that other half click. Mixed feelings were running through me, there was excitement but on the other hand, time was slipping away and that added to a lot of tension. It was like a cricket match scene where you have 1 wicket left and the number of runs needed to win are equal to the number of balls remaining. I can’t believe I spoke about cricket there, it was my favorite game in childhood, still remains an awesome game but its upsetting to see that way its being abused and thrown around. Coming back, I was sweating big time but I somehow knew this beauty would offer me at least a split second window. The wild teaches you to be optimistic but it rarely offers second chances.
After a long, optimistic wait (approx 7 minutes), all the jeeps accepted defeat and began to leave the spot except the one I was in. I kept persuading the driver to wait for 2 mins. 2 mins in the human world can be the same as 10 minutes, 20 minutes, few weeks or even months. We decided to wait for another five minutes, my index finger desperately waiting to hit that shutter button as soon as I saw that big head come up and turn. Then…
Look out for part 2 of this 🙂