Photography, Wildlife, Travel
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Photo Stories

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Coexistence

We always wonder if coexistence of humans and animals is possible. Bera in Rajasthan proves that it is possible and today is known as Leopard Country because of a good leopard population in the region. Bera is not a protected area, it actually is revenue land. There are more than 30 odd hills where leopards reside.

 Bera is around 700 kms away from New Delhi if you wish to drive or you can also fly to Udaipur. It takes 3 hours to reach Bera from Udaipur by road.   

Bera is around 700 kms away from New Delhi if you wish to drive or you can also fly to Udaipur. It takes 3 hours to reach Bera from Udaipur by road.

 

 We parked ourselves on a hill, in the afternoon, and it was told to us that there is a leopardess with cubs on another hill. This was the first visit and we had no idea what to expect. We did not know how far or close she was going to be. We waited for 2.5 hours with no movement. Light was fading and we almost lost hope of seeing or capturing images of the leopard. It was around 5.45 pm, when I turned suddenly and saw some movement. Here she was, coming out of a cave.

We parked ourselves on a hill, in the afternoon, and it was told to us that there is a leopardess with cubs on another hill. This was the first visit and we had no idea what to expect. We did not know how far or close she was going to be. We waited for 2.5 hours with no movement. Light was fading and we almost lost hope of seeing or capturing images of the leopard. It was around 5.45 pm, when I turned suddenly and saw some movement. Here she was, coming out of a cave.

 And there she was, watching us taking her images. They are so easy to miss since they merge so well with the terrain. A tractor passed by, not bothering her in the least. She was home.

And there she was, watching us taking her images. They are so easy to miss since they merge so well with the terrain. A tractor passed by, not bothering her in the least. She was home.

 In the fading light, we left her and went back to our lodge. We now knew that they exist. The next morning was really cold and we headed out searching for leopards again. One hill to another but couldnt find them. There were several hills so a good tracker with a trained eye was a necessity.  Later in the day, we were told that a leopardess and her cubs were seen on another hill close to Jawai Dam, a beautiful spot where I would have loved to spend some more time.Will make it a point to do so on my next visit.   

In the fading light, we left her and went back to our lodge. We now knew that they exist. The next morning was really cold and we headed out searching for leopards again. One hill to another but couldnt find them. There were several hills so a good tracker with a trained eye was a necessity.

Later in the day, we were told that a leopardess and her cubs were seen on another hill close to Jawai Dam, a beautiful spot where I would have loved to spend some more time.Will make it a point to do so on my next visit.

 

 At this point of time, I’d like to mention that my drive to the top of the hill tops all the off-roading experiences I’ve had so far. Imagine driving in the jeep on a path. Hold on, there was no path! I was mostly driving on rocks at a trajectory of 70% degrees. It was an experience that I will remember for a long time to come.  Once we reached the top and our tracker informed us that he had seen the leopardess with her cubs last evening. The same leopardess was also believed to have killed a sheep. It was hard to believe that this leopardess was on the same hill where a shepherd was grazing his sheep.   

At this point of time, I’d like to mention that my drive to the top of the hill tops all the off-roading experiences I’ve had so far. Imagine driving in the jeep on a path. Hold on, there was no path! I was mostly driving on rocks at a trajectory of 70% degrees. It was an experience that I will remember for a long time to come.

Once we reached the top and our tracker informed us that he had seen the leopardess with her cubs last evening. The same leopardess was also believed to have killed a sheep. It was hard to believe that this leopardess was on the same hill where a shepherd was grazing his sheep.

 

 So once again we waited and waited, light was fading and I was losing hope. My tracker was continuously scanning the surroundings and suddenly he spotted a cub sitting on a rock. Light was really low and it took me sometime to figure out where the cub was.  Look at the previous image, the cub was sitting just outside the cave on a small rock.   It was not possible to take any images from where I was waiting hence decided to head down. Finally, found a place where I got a clear view and here she was with the cub!   

So once again we waited and waited, light was fading and I was losing hope. My tracker was continuously scanning the surroundings and suddenly he spotted a cub sitting on a rock. Light was really low and it took me sometime to figure out where the cub was. Look at the previous image, the cub was sitting just outside the cave on a small rock.

It was not possible to take any images from where I was waiting hence decided to head down. Finally, found a place where I got a clear view and here she was with the cub!

 

 f only they had ventured out 15 minutes earlier, I would have been able to capture them in the perfect light. She was very attentive; had we made the slightest noise she would have definitely gone into hiding. So we stood our ground and as quietly as possible attempted to make some images.

f only they had ventured out 15 minutes earlier, I would have been able to capture them in the perfect light. She was very attentive; had we made the slightest noise she would have definitely gone into hiding. So we stood our ground and as quietly as possible attempted to make some images.

 Light was fading fast and I decided to let go of the camera and observe them instead. Sometimes it just makes more sense to enjoy the moment rather than capture it. I made up my mind that I will come back to this place and spend some more time. I still needed some answers on coexistence. I was told that locals have accepted their presence. Yes leopards hunt their live stocks and locals also know that leopards hardly have any other food options available in that terrain.  Acceptance has surely helped in coexistence.

Light was fading fast and I decided to let go of the camera and observe them instead. Sometimes it just makes more sense to enjoy the moment rather than capture it. I made up my mind that I will come back to this place and spend some more time. I still needed some answers on coexistence. I was told that locals have accepted their presence. Yes leopards hunt their live stocks and locals also know that leopards hardly have any other food options available in that terrain.

Acceptance has surely helped in coexistence.

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