The main focus of my last trip was to photograph tigers in two of India's national parks: Ranthambhore & Bandhavgarh. Easier said than done. Most of the wildlife I've tracked has been in Africa, and although there were a lot of similarities, there was one major difference - tigers seemed to be a bit harder to find than African cats. Out of the 14 game drives we did, we had 4 tiger sightings. Others saw more, some saw less. What we saw was terrific, but you tend to forget that these are really dangerous animals, and you get used to being near them. We were unfortunately reminded of that one day when we got word that one of the park rangers was killed close by by a large male tiger. It was a very sad day, and it made the news all over the country. Managing the wildlife and visitors in parks is a hot topic in many places, but this brought a lot of issues up for the Indian government.
I went to India in the summer season ( you may have heard of their recent heat wave). In summer the brush is less dense, so the tigers have fewer places to hide and the heat will often drive them out to cool off in the shrinking amount of watering holes. That's where we found them. In the morning as it got hot and in the late afternoon they would come out to drink and cool off. One family of a mother and her cubs in Bandhavgarh was a particular favorite - we saw them twice- once by a lake and another time finishing off a meal of spotted deer. It was a great and interesting trip with a couple of amazing encounters. Here are a few highlights: