Most wild animals in the jungles pose a potential danger when provoked (even a Spotted Deer can gore with those sharp antlers). The larger animals can pose a serious threat in the wild, irrespective of whether one is on a safari vehicle or on a trek on foot.

Kabini

Wilderness ‘Etiquette’

It is important for the potential jungle borne tourist to be aware of handling extreme situations like being charged by any big game like an Indian Gaur or an Elephant while on a trek with guides, or even while you are within the safety of the Safari vehicle.

While there is no one solution that fits all circumstances, it is often a proven fact that instinctual reaction of any wild animal is to chase anything that runs away or moves away suddenly. This is especially true of the cat and the dog family, who have per-programmed reflex actions that causes them to instinctively chase and bite. Hence, as you will read in the zillions of wildlife journals, the most important advice is to freeze and stay put in your place, even if there is instigation, a threatening gesture or even a mock charge by the animal on the other end.

That’s easier said than done. Imagine a massive beast, a few meters away, letting out bone chilling roar, snorting out steaming fumes, kicking up dust and darting at you at blinding speeds. You will need nerves of steel, and knees of lead to stay rooted to your spot. However, the point is, even if you try to flee, humans, with the slowest reaction times and sprint speeds in jungle environments, will easily be outrun by most animals in the wild. The chances of survival are more when you stay put and that is a cardinal rule that you need to bear in mind.

Be extremely wary of animals with their little ones. It is normal as a tourist to be excited and reach out that extra yard to photograph an animal along with its young one in a single frame. However, be warned, animals, like humans are extremely protective of their young ones. Even a gentle spotted deer can be a handful if it envisages a threat to its little one. The bigger game (Elephants, Gaur, Big cats, Bear etc) pose a bigger threat. Even if you are within the safety of a vehicle, it is important you put the maximum distance between yourself and the animals and do not exhibit sudden jerky movements, sound or use your camera flash.  These would instinctively set off the defense mechanism in the animals. If that happens, they simply react without a second thought.

Next, be extremely wary of crippled or injured animals. Research has shown that the aggression levels of animals are the highest when they are injured. There are two basic reasons for this. The first reason is, once injured, the chances of predators taking them out are higher and hence the defense mechanism in the animals are the highest and they lash out at any faint indication of a threat. The second reason is that most of these injured animals are in a high state of pain, stress and fear. Hence they are twice as aggressive as they are during normal times. Stay clear of injured animals.

Do keep in mind that the jungle is not a place for fun or a frolicking picnic. While it can be beautiful and breathtaking, it can be even more brutal and devastating if you do not respect it.  Many things in the wilderness cut, bite, sting, maim and even kill. It is important that we not only respect the animals but be aware of their characteristics, which will give us a better chance for survival. Starting from this series, I am attempting to put together some of the distinct behavioral characteristics of the Top 5 animals that have been listed by seasoned forest goers and wildlife experts as the most dangerous animals in the wilderness. Their distinct behavioral signs that warn us of their foul moods are an indicator for us to be cautious and take evasive action to get out of the place.

wildlife safari at Kabini

Respect the Wild…