Finally A peaceful family moment although under the glare of many photographers, who waited patiently for this moment for 2 days
30 years of coming to Ranthambhore, including 5 trips this year alone, 2 days of sitting under a scorching sun in 46 degrees heat, waiting… and waiting. And then mother nature finally tells me, only as she can, that ‘I ain’t seen nothing yet’. The day began when we Followed T19, probably on a hunt, in the lake area in the late afternoon. She walked all the way across the open landscape to her 3 cubs who were hidden in a cluster of shrubs. They hadn’t seen her for 2 days -we knew because we had been waiting and watching for the past few days.
She comes across the flatland between Rajbagh & Jhalra towards her cubs, momentarily disturbed by people near Padam talao
As we followed her up towards the Jhalra shrubbery, a couple of cubs darted out, hoping it was mom, but fearful and unsure. She scolded them for running out to greet her prematurely. She growled at them, sending them scurrying back because she didn’t want them exposed until she was with them.
One of the cubs comes darting out
As she comes closer, she calls out to them.. a chuffing moan.
A cub responds and comes out prematurely..
Her moan turns into a stern cough.. stopping the cub dead in his tracks
He turns and runs back under cover…
.. until she finally settles down in a little waterhole and is then joined by all 3
Once she felt they were safe she nuzzled them only as a mother would. She then lounged with them lovingly in a pool of water, frolicking with them for half hr. The cubs were going crazy with excitement, hyperactive and playful after 2 days of being by themselves in the bushes. she then rounded them up firmly – a tough mommy once again- and then proceeded to trek many miles with her cubs ( with us following..) across rocks, granite escarpments, across the lake area, across open grasslands, through dry brush and into all kinds of terrain till we eventually lost them in some tall grass ( perhaps she was taking them to a kill ) This was a 2 hour sighting and a tiger photographer’s dream. AND just when we though we couldn’t handle any more excitement for the day- as we drive out of the park – a leopard on the ramparts!!! … A lone sentinel. We patiently wait for her to get up so that we could get a nice shot as the light is fading. 20 minutes later she finally does get up- and so do, lo & behold, 2 leopard cubs! They climb up on the wall and join her in a stunning silhouette of 3 leopards on the rampart!! A surreal ending to a surreal day!!! : )) ( will add more pictures as I go through, 3 full memory cards of insanity : )