Jungle Story - Forests, Trekking, Wildlife, a 4X4 and more... (Part 2)

It would be best if you read this first. After observing the herd for a while, we continued our walk discussing about the sighting. All of us a sudden a *massive* Feral Buffallo ran towards us. It was sleeping in the shade of a tree and we hadnt noticed it. Our movement had disturbed its sleep and the fellow was *pissed off* at us.

These are no doubt one of the most aggressive and dangerous animals in the entire forest. Worse then tigers and elephants. If this buffalo spots you alone, you are finished. The next thing he does is sneeze out loud and charge you. Imagine a 1 ton beast running towards you at 40-50 kmph. He gets you in between those horns and rips your intestines apart. When attacked by these animals, death is almost never immediate. The victim dies only of excessive blood loss or because his intestines and other organs have been ripped apart.

The moment he saw us (6 of us) he let out a sneeze (grunt) and ran around us. Our tracker tried scaring him off and threw stones at him. The bloody fellow did not budge. He continued to stare at us till we were out of sight.

Feral Buffalo

Soon after this adventure we saw another herd of elephants. It was a very short sighting, since the wind was not in our favor and the elephants very soon figured out they were being watched and moved away.

Migration...

This was immediately followed by a Bison sighting. The fellow initially didnot realise we were looking at him. The moment I lifted my camera up, he saw some movement and sprinted away.

Indian Gaur (Bison) sprints away

The highlight of this trek however was only at the end.

There is only one bus that comes to Thengumarada village. It comes to the village at around 1 in the afternoon and leaves at around 2. One of us had to catch that bus. There are no roads in these areas. Only mud paths and that too thru the jungle. We reached a point where we knew the bus would cross us and waited there. The bus came in a few minutes & he left. The rest of us rested for a while longer before we left for the village. About 15 minutes after the bus had passed, we started towards the village, and this is what we saw less than 30-50 feet from where we were resting. This is a pugmark of a tiger. And the best part - they were over the tire tracks of the bus that passed us. The tiger had actually come along, noticed us sitting nearby and moved away. All this less than 10-15 minutes ago :)

The Big Cat :-D

A perfect end to a wildlife trail!

This is not the end of the trip. Only the end of the trek. More adventures yet to be posted...

If you have anything to say/share, please feel free to drop a comment.

Jungle Story - Forests, Trekking, Wildlife, a 4X4 and more...

I just got back from a brilliant trip. One of my best jungle experiences so far. There was wildlife right from the word go & I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it. Fantastic landscape, brilliant wildlife, awesome food, a 4X4 to drive around and lastly some excellent company; what better can a weekend be! Our trip started from the Forest Dept's rest house in Jeerahalli (Geerahalli), which is a small village about 30Km from Thalavadi and has around 80 families living there. There is small water hole that the forest dept has built right behind the rest house. We expected to see elephants there and it was a depressing start when I ended up with just 2 pictures. One of the Jeep we were traveling in and the other, a silhouette of the plant.

Mahindra Major Sunset at Geerahalli

Early the next morning, we jeeped to a nearby village Kettavadi and started our trek to Thengumarada. We had some hot idlis for breakfast and this tiny petty shop in the vicinity caught my attention for a for minutes.

Kettavadi - where the trek started

Six trekkers along with a few trackers and watchers from the Forest Dept set out on the 15Km walk to Thengumarada. The landscape in these areas is brilliant. There is an excellent prey base, many many animals. Overall an extremely healthy forest.

The feeling when you walk thru such forests is very hard to explain, almost like an ecstasy pill :-p!

A while later, we came across a herd of about 8 elephants that were resting in the shade in one of the slopes. Since the wind was against us (blowing from the elephants towards us) we knew it was safe to move in closer to the herd. Remember elephants have very very poor eyesight. They depend almost entirely on their sense of smell and since the wind was in the opposite direction, there is almost no chance that they spot us if we stay still. We soon sat on the ground and started observing the herd. I mounted my 500mm Manual lens and started firing at them. About 10-15 minutes later we herd a rustle in a nearby bush and out of nowhere a group of 3 elephants including a calf (from less than 40 feet away) starts walking towards us. We were taken by complete surprise and were not quite pleased with this. One of the watchers panicked and started to run. It was only now that the elephants realised we were there and the group of 3 quickly changed their path. We were very lucky that they decided not to charge.

To be continued...