My passion for wildlife had an accidental start. A failed relationship and a grumpy boss led me to take a sabbatical for six months running the fabulous and still my favourite lodge, Shergarh in Kanha National Park (Yes, the inspiration behind by book, Escape to India). This initially, this wasn’t for the wildlife, but because it seemed like a fun thing to do. But a transformation took place, the nature, people, birds and wildlife won me over and I was hooked.
My 40th was spent in the newly opened Forsyth Lodge in Satpura Tiger Reserve. My 50th birthday treat to myself was a journey to discover the extraordinarily beautiful Panna National Park and it’s inhabitants, and then on to Blackbuck National Park in search of wolves but where we also encountered Jungle Cat, Indian Fox and Striped Hyena.
In-between there’s been Corbett & Ranthambhore for Tiger and Jackal, Bandhavgarh also tiger and incidentally my first park way back when in 1999. Kaziranga was to see the One-Horned Rhino but that park absolutely blew me away, why had it taken me so long, it is a must on every nature enthusiasts list. Then it was the unique biosphere which is The Sunderbans raw and unplugged, a magnificent experience. The Desert National Park, Jaisalmer was to see the Great Indian Bustard (and also my first Desert Fox) The Little Rann of Kutch was to see Indian Wild Ass and more Desert Fox, cubs this time. Pench featured it’s Sloth Bear and Dhole, the beautiful fox-like wild dog and Gir where Lions and a Leopard made their presence known, oh and speaking of Leopard let’s not forget Jawai (3 Eagle Owls too).
In the south, it was Periyar for elephant and otters, Erivakulum in Munnar where the endangered Nilgiri Thar were most obliging, Bandipur where we encountered Dhole again and they became my favourite of all India’s wildlife, and Kabini/Nagarhole where we missed, by seconds, the ‘black panther.’
Ladakh was the Bharal or Blue Sheep.
And yet when people talk about wildlife in India, all anyone mentions is the tiger! Magnificent of course but on my 22 year journey I’ve discovered that there is so much to see beyond those stripes.
For related wildlife blog posts,https://memsahibinindia.com/category/wildlife/
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