Kabini, a forest stretch amidst the Western Ghats, in the state of Karnataka is a breathtaking experience for many wilderness lovers and naturalists. The forest is well known for its amazing sightings of a vast array of wildlife. Tigers, Leopards, Bisons and the profound attraction to wildlife lovers, the Black Panther, are the highly anticipated animals to be found strolling on the forest path. My experience on my last visit was no exception. I being a wildlife photographer or for that matter, for any wildlife photographer Kabini is treat to visit.
With the monsoon calling it a day, renders the forest rich and vibrant with magnificent colours of life. The lush green forest floor not only sets for a treat to the herbivores, but also provides a classic obscuration for the mighty beasts! Thus luring the otherwise naive…
The forest was as vibrant as it could get. My visit was indeed in an opportune time, since the monsoon had just past by, leaving the inhabitants at their best. The tall trees and the dense vegetation would make the eyes seek hard for just a glimpse of the speckled spotted predator limbering at the canopy. Whilst, the spirits were high and the body filled with adrenaline, strolling through the dense forest floor was getting very demanding. We finally halted to a path which seemed to be a bit deceptive in terms of where it was heading. The monsoon had concealed the well known tracks created through the repeated human intervention. Getting by these forest floors is not a one man endeavour! It requires a skilled driver, a naturalist who knows the wild well and off-course a passionate wildlife lover like me 🙂
We turned as the path came to an end, and then to our utter surprise, a herd of bison ran past us hiding by the vegetation. We followed, and finally found a spot where i could make the above image. It was definitely, a highly satisfying encounter. Wildlife photography is all about being out there. It is not always feasible to anticipate the moment, however, it’s always useful to be prepared for whatever nature has to offer. While the forest awakes for a new day, marks the end for some..the meek diminishes, renders the bold invincible!
With the bison, obliging us with their presence for a few minutes, we decided not to intervene in their privacy any further. We started the 4×4 and with happy faces headed further. We drove, tracking the forest calls, and at a distance sighted a pack of Dhole in the lookout of their breakfast. The early morning light and the mist in the forest made for an amazing atmosphere. The pack was tracking a wild boar which had ran astray from the rest. The pair peeked through the grass as i continued with my incessant shutter release. The wild dogs still kept our spirits high, hoping to sight one of the prized members of the big cat family.
Alas, the big moment arrived! ; We drove incessantly after our encounter with the wild dogs. Our time inside the forest was coming to an end. Nevertheless, we weren’t dejected, as its not always about the sightings, but just the presence in a serene and pure environment. Our Naturalist, a good friend of mine then suggested that we take a different path to our way home. We all concurred as there was nothing to lose, also that he was one amongst the most experienced guys in Kabini. We were about to make our last turn to the gates, when one amongst us spotted this beauty. Although, it was way to far and nicely concealed in the thickets, the spots shined like gold to our eyes. We made a hard stop and rejoiced on our way home.
Kabini, is a paradise to any wildlife lover. While we enjoy what it has to offer, it is our duty to conserve it for the days to come. Mankind at its worst is ruthless, it’s getting as materialistic as it can. Let’s be responsible and do the best we can to keep our natural resources intact.