Archive - February 2013

Hawkeye Blog February 2013 February 01, 2013

For years I have wanted to go to India to try and photograph the tigers. Sadly, there are more in captivity, 5000 + in the United States (usually owned by individuals), than are there are in the wild in Asia. It's estimated that today there are only 3200, down from the 100,000 that so existed only 100 years ago.

I chose Bandhavgarh National Park to visit because it has the highest density of Bengal tigers in the world. Currently it is estimated to have around 45 tigers in the 248 square miles of the park. That's one tiger for every 5 ½ acres. Despite the "density" that's still like looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack. For reference, Central Park in New York, the most visited urban park in the world only has 1.3 sq. miles of land. All that to say, we did not see a tiger on any of our three safari drives. We did see tracks, scat and scratch marks on trees and those cats are really tall when they stretch out!

However, just seeing new wildlife is always exciting. The spotted deer sported some very impressive racks which would make their Southern white-tail cousins very jealous. The Golden jackals we saw had coloring very similar to our red foxes. The park is a paradise for bird watchers. Around 350 species have been sighted there. The Crested Hawk Eagle was a particularly regal looking raptor with its top knot swaying in the wind. Time spent close to nature is never wasted, so although the tigers were ever elusive, India didn't disappoint with its great diversity of wildlife.