Tuesday, February 10, 2009

30-31 January – Bandhavgarh National Park, India

We always dreamt of seeing a tiger while in India. But we knew that this nearly extinct predator is very difficult to spot, so our expectations were low. We went to one of India’s best national parks and managed to get a special permit to drive our own vehicle into the park. Our guide was very good and tried his best to spot a tiger. But with only 22 tigers spread out over hundreds of square kilometers, the odds were of course not very good. After three hours of rough driving through the beautiful park, we were giving up. The children were disappointed, and so were we. Spotted deer, as cute as they are, cannot compare with a tiger.
As we were driving out of the park, we saw a motion in the bushes to our right. Tiger! A large female was moving graciously through the elephant grass and came out in full view just a few meters from our car. We were so excited that we screamed and jumped up and down in our seats. Wow, how lucky we were. The tiger crossed the road and disappeared into the bush. We rushed back to the main gate and were yelled at for being five minutes late, coming out of the park. Did we care? We had just fallen in love with the queen of Indian wildlife!
We camped just outside the perimeter of the national park. During dinner we talked a lot to the children about extinct animals, endangered animals, animal conservation, national parks, and so on. It is a profound tragedy that almost all wildlife has been driven to the brink of extinction in India. This country could have looked so different today.

No comments: