Lifescapes Gallery

4 / May / 2011
Sambar for the Carnivorous Soul
Sambar Deer, Kabini
Sudhir Shivaram

Sambar for the Carnivorous Soul

Tigers must definitely have South Indian sensibilities. For, their favourite meal is the Sambar, a staple of every self-respecting South Indian kitchen. But while the original Sambar is a soupy lentil concoction, the dish featured here is a large serving of meat on the hoof. The Sambar, featured above, definitely boasts more Deer per Deer, and is perhaps a reason why the Kabini area hosts one of the largest populations of Tigers in the world. The largest species of Deer in South East Asia, prime specimens may stand above 5 feet at the shoulder and weigh above 1000 pounds. With a natural affinity for water, they can often be seen swimming, submerged till the neck. No wonder then, the mugger crocodiles infesting these parts have also developed an affinity for Sambar, making it a non-discriminating delicacy that whets appetites both on land and water. Its position in the food chain apart, this deer is a thing of rare beauty and grace, and often travels with a personal groomer to stay healthy. The Mynah in this image is not there just to make a pretty picture. Her job is to keep the Sambar’s skin healthy by protecting it from parasitic insects including those that infest its ‘sore spot’, a small patch of raw skin on the throat, oozing with blood-red glandular fluid during rutting season. While they often travel in small herds, males become solitary during the rut, and aggressively defend their territory. They woo their women with vocal and olfactory displays, and will fight off any competing male. In the midst of all the wooing, it isn’t improbable to think that the bushes around may well contain crouching tigers preferring to remain hidden dragons… praying for a successful courtship… for it’s also in their interests to wait for the next edition of ‘Sambar for the Soul’.

We at Orange County have loved sharing this story with you, and shall bring you one every fortnight, as part of our Responsible Tourism Initiatives to raise awareness about the nature and culture of the environments we operate in.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 4th, 2011 at 10:32 am and is filed under Mammals . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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User Comments
  1. Anu Elisha says:

    Lovely titles for this photograph and all the rest. The write-ups too are very cunningly written. Hats off to the author ;-).

  2. ayesha goswamy says:

    Very clever title!

  3. Kannan .K.V. says:

    A beautiful Sambar,definitely tasty to our royal highness the Tiger.Kabini must be the Tigers favourite darshini by serving up this beautiful and tasty Sambar in abundance. The animal, by itself,looks very endearing.The shot is stunning,as usual,with the attendant Mynah as well. Thanks for the visual treat.

  4. Vikram Nanjappa says:

    A few interesting facts about the Sambar – The stags are transient members of the herd and when not with a herd are usually solitary or in groups of two to three. These associations are usually for a short duration and an adult stag spends most of his life in solitary splendor . Stags in rut were believed to establish a territory during the rut, which they then proceed to defend against the intrusion of other stags. Indian shikar literature is full of accounts of such stags laying claim to whole valleys. It however now appears likely that after roaming fairly widely during the initial period of the rut the stag then starts concentrating its activity in a certain area that overlaps partly or wholly with that of other stags. There seems to be no evidence of territorial exclusiveness. A lovely animal ,the Sambar is a personal favourite .This photograph captures the beauty and grace of the Sambar beautifully.

  5. Sameer R Rao says:

    Crisp image, most pleasing image of Sambar

  6. Asha says:

    Wonderful photograph and hilarious heading .. Sambar for the Carnivorous Soul …. hahaha.

    And the writeup … great as usual.

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