Tiger spotting

by Lalit
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Many of you are curious to know if it is easy to spot a tiger in the wild?
There is no definite answer to this question. One has to have patience, knowledge about tiger’s behaviour, information about techniques to spot a tiger, etc.

So what exactly are these techniques?

There are various ways to locate or map the movement of tiger like following pug marks, identifying & following alarm calls etc.
Alarm calls are nothing but sounds made by animals or birds as a warning in response to the approach or presence of a predator. Each species has a different way of calling for a different purpose. For example, Deer’s call for its fawn is completely different from its alarm call. Only a fawn will respond to the former call while the whole herd will become alert on listening to an alarm call. If we want to compare this with an everyday scenario it will be like if you call one of your friend from the group of your friends he will be the one to respond but if you just shout out ‘Help’ then everyone will get attentive.

Do all birds and animals make alarm calls?

In my experience, I have observed that mostly Spotted deer, Sambar deer, Barking deer, Gray Langur make alarm calls very often. One of my jungle guide from Bandhavgarh has also mentioned me that birds like Peafowl, Jungle Fowl and Rufous tree pies also make alarm calls. If you’re in jungle safari and if you hear an alarm call by one of these animals then follow the direction and wait for any movement from the tiger or leopard. The frequency, distance and direction of alarm calls are vital. If alarm calls are directing into the deep jungle where it not possible to reach by your gypsy then there is no point following that call or even waiting for it.

Here are some of the alarm calls of various animals you can witness in the wild.

Spotted Deer
Sambhar
Langoor

The above picture was a result of following alarm calls of a spotted Deer. We followed it in Bandhavgarh national park for around 10 mins and were rewarded with the sighting of this Tiger cub.

We were lucky to spot five tigers in four safaris. But if you ever visit any national park and cannot spot a tiger then don’t get disappointed. As one of the quotes outside Bandhavgarh reads β€œPerhaps you may not have seen me but please don’t be disappointed I Have Seen You”

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