Bandhavgarh. January 2016. Known to the world as Land of the Tiger. Made famous by tigers like Charger, B2 & Bamera.
I had the opportunity to visit Bandhavgarh after a couple of years. Working with an travel organization as a Tour Instructor lets you explore a lot of destinations & experience some amazing moments in the wild. The January 2016 Bandhavgarh trip gave an opportunity to see, one such moment in the wild.
BANDHAVGARH – NO TIGER SIGHTING
To start of with, I did not see the tiger! This one sentence, is a topic of discussion. “You went to Bandhavgarh and didn’t see a tiger??!”. We tend to forget of the 100s of other things that we did see!
Ride no 3, Morning safari in Tala zone: We were on route C and saw a Changeable Hawk Eagle on the group, pecking away at something. We knew that there was something that the eagle was attempting to catch. We decided to wait. Every couple of minutes, the Eagle would fly to the ground, peck at whatever it was trying to catch, and fly back to a perch nearby.
The prey, was hidden behind a log & we couldn’t really see what it was. This continued for the next 10 minutes, after which the Eagle flew away. Without catching the prey. We were wondering what that prey, really was. We drove a bit closer to the place where the prey was & finally were able to see it. It was a Cat-snake, all wound up. By the naked eye, it looked as if it was just protecting itself by striking back at the eagle every time it attacked. But then, we put our cameras to work & clicked a few photographs. That was when we found out what the bad luck had stricken the snake.
It might have felt relieved by being left alone by the eagle, but its troubles were not over yet. A group of fire ants were all over the snake. The snake, could not even move, for (probably, I am guessing here!) the fear of being caught by the Eagle. Every passing moment, the number of ants increased.
I have been visiting forests since quite a few years & never had the opportunity to see a moment like this.
This made me ponder, a small snake was able to defend itself from an Eagle. Yet, it could not save himself from fire ants! David and Goliath, in its true form?
We waited at the same spot for another hour-or-so. Sadly, neither the snake moved nor did the Changeable Hawk Eagle return. With the park timings about to close, we had to leave that spot. Don’t really know what happened later, but for me, it was a moment in the wild I will never forget.