Good versus Evil

t39 wide open ©

An angry, snarling tiger baring her teeth or just a mother yawning after a hectic day shopping for baby food? What you see is not always what you get.

Most of the snarling tiger pictures that you see in books or on the internet are actually yawning tigers. Similarly, most of the tiger hunting stories that you might have read are also just that. Stories. Fabrication & exaggeration intended to bolster the image of the brave, noble human versus a ferocious, bloodthirsty & brutish monster.

The desperate need for the human ego to convince itself of its supremacy over all other creatures is the fuel that ignites this psychology and has created reams and reams of jungle lore, books and accounts over the centuries. Even today, it is that same primal urge in our DNA which motivates people like the ‘Cecil-killer’ dentist or others of his ilk to pose victorious over the ‘dead monsters’.

Simply put, I would guess that 90% of all hunting kills are nothing more than humans stalking up to an unsuspecting and non-threatening animal and then murdering it from a safe distance. I know this because I have done this myself as a young man.

Lost in this ‘make-believe’ game that todays ‘legal’ hunters play, is the fact that all these creatures have a nobility and graciousness towards others along with a healthy respect for their environment, which far exceeds that of our own species. But then that wouldn’t make a good story, or a good picture, or sell any books, or make any heroes out of any of us, would it?

We need villains for us to be heroes, and if there aren’t any we can always make some up.

t39 zone 1 snarl ©

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Walk ALone

star male walking golden light B&W©

The unstoppable stride of a tiger.

Anybody remember Edwin Moses?

So languid it appears to be in slow motion and yet in the blink of an eye he is miles away from you.

The way a tiger cover ground so effortlessly almost seems like an illusion. Hills, lakes, ravines, rocky escarpments don’t slow him down. Neither do villages nor crop fields. Crop fields have cover. They have water. They have nilgai and wild boar. That is all he needs. A tiger could pass through a string of villages without ever being noticed.Tigers walk over 40 miles in a single night, patrolling their territories. Amazingly, a few years ago a missing Ranthambhore tiger was re-discovered in Madhya Pradesh, about 700 miles away. There is is no real contiguous forest between the two places – only farmland and rural human populations.

The stride of a tiger stops only when man stops it.  He runs into a poacher or his snare, a villager or his cattle, a bureaucrat and his development project or a politician and his mining/timber concession.

Are we striding into a better more developed world?

T22 towards camera low ©T28 in the shadows  T39 walking away on track T28 w prey as bkgnd t39 stalking zone 5 © T24 on the hill © T28 side on medium

The ‘Dosco’ Principle

T19 kill 2 copy B&W ©

I have some old Doon School friends who still guard their food like this.

In boarding schools, as in the natural world, protecting your ‘tuck’ from other other roving eyes & noses creates a distinct body language, all its own- an observation based on the challenges of predatory behaviour versus survival instinct. Here T19 after making a kill, drags it to a safe hiding place. She is also trying to keep the news very quiet because of the resident male, who is in the vicinity. If he sights or smells the drag-mark, this kill will disappear as quickly as the biscuits & chocolates that mom packed and sent to school to last the whole term. … T19 kill 1 © T19 kill 4 © T19 kill 6 ©T19 kill 2 ©

‘Baby Face’ of Ranthambhore

T 74 close up blur B&W ©

T-75, Ranthambhore

The seldom spotted ‘baby- faced gangsta’ of Ranthambhore.

T 75, a young male from T-17’s 1st litter gives us the look. He has been in some territorial skimishes with older, more established males earlier this year. He is the son of Sundari, the beautiful resident female of the Ranthambhore lakes, until she tragically ‘ disappeared some years back, never to be seen again.