I was guiding some delegates on an evening jeep safari. It was a little warm that day, and hence I wanted to scan the water bodies inside the national park. The drive had gone on well so far, with us sighting much wildlife, including some colourful birds such as Wood Peckers.

As we approached a tank, we saw a herd of three elephants crossing the jeep track a little away from the waterhole. As they were moving to the waterhole very slowly, I told the guests that the elephants would take some more time to arrive there and hence we should move farther along the route and look for more sightings. We could then return to the waterhole.

When we were returning to the tank area, I got excited to see a herd of Gaur (Indian Bison) standing still among the three elephants and together, they were nervously looking in all possible directions with a look of alarm on their faces. There was then a loud alarm call from the Langurs, hearing which the Gaur began running away into the bushes with the bull gaur also raising an alarm.

Gaur, Kabini

Gaur

There was another jeep parked far on the other end of the waterhole, and they signalled for us to come to that area. As we approached, I saw the familiar ‘white coat’ lying flat on the wet patch close to the waterhole. I was very excited to see a Tigress with her belly full, and lying on dry elephant dung. She looked huge with her belly full, and at times, she would raise her head just to check our vehicles.

Tiger, Kabini

Tiger

Finally after a long wait, she got up and cleaned her coat with her long pink tongue, and then gently moved into the bushes.

We then knew the reason why the elephants and gaur didn’t venture into the waterhole.