Water is a precious resource and future wars will be fought over it. The rule of the jungle is no different. There is no better place to observe animal behavior than at a waterhole on a hot sunny day. With this idea, I decided to take the guests to the Tiger Tank for a lesson in jungle life.
Waiting at a waterhole is not easy for most people and requires a lot of patience. We started our vigil and after sometime were rewarded with the sight of a peacock approaching the water for a drink.
After a while alarm calls of Spotted Deer were heard in the distance. They were coming from behind the waterhole, over the bund. Soon the Langurs joined in and then we were sure that a predator was on the move. The calls were getting closer and increasing in intensity. We held our breath. But the calls stopped as abruptly as they had started. We saw something moving behind the bund. The predator had decided to wait as three elephants emerged with an extremely small calf – no more than ten days old in my estimation – they were protecting the calf between them and I was unable to photograph it. They were very cautious as they waited to approach the tank.
All this while there was a rustling to my left that was getting steadily louder. It was as if a large animal was moving through the brush. Sure enough more elephants emerged from the brush and then together they proceeded to the tank, in single file.
The three females led the way , taking care to keep the calf well hidden between them. They entered the water when they reached the tank.
We watched this pleasant scene for a while and then a large Bull Gaur appeared over the bund on the far side. A few minutes later he was joined by two females and they also proceeded to drink.
After a while the elephants left the water and seemed to be in a hurry to move out. They started moving back the way they had come when suddenly the calf decided to suckle. The three females stopped and let him drink , suddenly they sensed our presence and there was suddenly a lot of rumbling and trunk-waving as they tried to get our scent. The three females bunched up to protect the calf.
After realizing that we meant no harm, they quietly melted away into the forest. The Gaur finished their drink and left. We too followed their lead and departed for the day.