2015.03 Heading to southern India!

15th August 2016

Leopard photography is one of my passions! I have had a couple of good times with spotted fellows in Africa but the Asiatic leopards have been very reluctant to appear in good position. I had a nice sighting in Kanha in 2010 but impossible to photograph. Then a good sighting with modest photography of a mother and cub in Gir Forest in 2013. And then a trip in Sri Lanka at the end of 2013 had revealed very unfruitful (the period was very bad). Then I got to see more and more beautiful Indian leopard pictures from a place called Kabini (Nagarhole NP). This is naturally that I decided to spend a week there plus 4 days in the close-by Bandipur N.P. All this with the great help of Praveen, who is very knowledgeable on this place and which provided great help!

Kabini is really a beautiful park and some people call it the Corbett of the south because of the beautiful landscapes and because also of the presence of a good elephant population in these landscapes.

I really had a good number of sightings of leopards in Kabini. The first one after a couple of safaris was like a relief. We saw a nice male, crouched on the ground (we thought he was eating but he was more wallowing in clay to cover some injuries).

The next sighting was a family: a female with 2 large male cubs (as big as her). We had heard about them but seeing them was lovely, first crossing the road and then later, closer, emerging from the vegetation and crossing again in front of us in a beautiful moment.

Sometimes you see nothing in the park and the reward is just outside, resting on a large branch on a tree!

India would not be India without the tigers in its forests. Tigers are less easy to see in southern India compared to Northern India but you can get some decent sightings of the striped cat.

Southern India is not so well known from Westerners but in my opinion, if the tigers continue to be less shy, with the presence of leopards and great biodiversity, beauty of the backwaters and landscapes it should rise and could potentially become as attractive as other big tiger Parks more up North. I have had nice sighting of dholes, elephants, golden jackals, Malabar giant squirrels, striped neck mongooses, Indian monitor lizards, the many monkeys, deers and many raptors.

Besides Kabini, I spent a couple of days in Bandipur. I did not see tiger here (the famous « Prince » was apparently on a leave) but some nice sightings of leopards (although not as good as those in Kabini). Elephants, deer, striped neck mongooses, Indian monitor lizards and the good old peacocks just teem here.

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