Kabini, I have told enough about this magical place in my previous blog. I have been visiting this park for almost a decade now and this spellbinding forest calls me back time and time again. This land of leopards, I shall tell more about this later, was once a private hunting ground of the famous Mysore Maharajas. Even the Viceroys have tested their hunting skills here and have spent many days and nights in this part of Nagarahole forest which is a home to Tigers, Elephants, Wild dogs, Reptiles and some exotic birds.

This forest even played host to the Russian Grand Dukes’ penchant for game hunting, way back in 1891. Today, these forests still hold sway. Their allure still brings people from the farthest outreaches of the globe, but with a different motive, a motive of exploring and indulging in the nature.

As I mentioned earlier, I have been a frequent visitor to this park and have seen many leopards… single, mating couple, cubs, even a hunt sequence too. Many visitors like me come to Kabini to see a Leopard in its natural habitat and Kabini is therefore called the Land of Leopards or The Leopard Capital !!! Rosettes (spots) on leopards’ bodies help us understand some aspects of their life and they help the big cat to camouflage either as a defense mechanism or as a stalking tool.

But, imagine a Leopard without these Rosettes. That’s called The Black Panther or a Melanistic Indian Leopard !!!

black panther

Bagheera – the Black Panther      Photograph: Sheshadri Vasan

 

Well, I had seen a Black Panther in movies or heard stories about the Bagheera in my childhood. Bagheera means Black Panther in Hindi or Urdu and I always thought it was a fictitious character till the reports of such big cats being sighted got officially documented in a few parks and also in Kabini and since then, it was my dream to sight one.

It was a warm Sunday and I was on my afternoon drive inside the heart of Kabini but a search was never on my mind, a rendezvous was never planned…the light was hazy and my ears could hear the songs of the Racket-tailed Drongo from a nearby tree. And there he was, Bagheera, standing right in front of me !!! The first appearance of this Black Cat, a dream come true moment indeed !

black panther

The Black Panther      Photograph: Sheshadri Vasan

 

I have witnessed many more interesting moments of this Black Panther ever since and I would be sharing them in my next upcoming blogs on the website of Evolve Back. Till then enjoy this and stay tuned.