Bone-dry and ash grey, Nagarhole inside the summertime appears too adverse to assist any form of lifestyle. How does something live on here, I surprise, surveying the leafless Hazlewood and beak bushes from an open-sided Bolero.
Stillness hangs in the air. Suddenly, a department cracks, and a female elephant calf seems. She seems at us and emits a low rumble.
“I think there’s some other one,” Shanmuga Kumar, the naturalist from Evolve Back Kuruba Safari Lodge, whispers.
As if on cue, a 2nd, visibly older calf appears from the trees on the pathway’s alternative aspect. “Rhooon,” she booms, last the space between herself and the little one with a few efficient strides.
“Did you spot that?” Kumar says excitedly. “The older calf responded to the child’s call. Elephants have an acute sense of hearing. They can come across a rumble from over a kilometer away.”
It’s a becoming begin to our morning safari in the Nagarhole National Park, which boasts of one of the world’s biggest congregations of Asian elephants at some stage in the summertime. The combined deciduous teak wooded area that stretches throughout Karnataka is part of the covered area complex that consists of the Bandipur National Park, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, and Mudumalai National Park.
The ecosystem here supports the best density of herbivores—spotted deer, barking deer, sambars, gaurs, elephants, wild pigs, and so on—anywhere in Asia.
“During the new, dry summertime months, the animals live to tell the tale via debarking bushes and timber for nourishment, so that they don’t need to tour ways for meals, unlike in Africa,” Kumar explains.
Thanks to the abundance of prey, the jungle is domestic to tigers, leopards, dholes, and wolves and has one of India’s maximum predator-prey ratios. It’s additionally the haunt of the well-known black panther, the elusive melanistic leopard that silently stalks these parts, incomes the moniker “ghost of Nagarhole.”
The changing landscape is fascinating, a mixture of wet deciduous and dry deciduous wooded areas. As we roll thru the mild slopes and shallow valleys, coarse, dry stretches supply forest land and open grassy swamps referred to as handles.
Up ahead, we encounter herds of chital stags. The spotted deer seem to go with the flow at the land, their twisty antlers on mind-blowing display for mating season. A stripe-necked mongoose scurries towards its burrow. A moment later, a curler takes off, flaunting brilliant blue plumage.
As the solar beats down, we head to a waterhole, hoping to seize some large-cat movement. The driving force cuts the engine only some ft faraway from a small lake known as Taraka.
A visitor spots something. “Look!” he says, as we comply with where his finger is pointing. Grabbing our digital binoculars, we see three tiger cubs inside the timber throughout the water. Oblivious to our presence, they paw each other’s heads, blissed out in their little Eden.
It’s a heart-melting finale to our morning safari; they enjoy all of the richer as we are by using ourselves. When big cats are spotted on safaris somewhere else, the news spreads like wildfire, leading to an avalanche of motors screeching in.
Mercifully, there aren’t any dust-encumbered flurries right here. With most of eleven Jeeps accepted throughout its tourism zones, Nagarhole appears well off the beaten direction, delivering the vast cats sans the din of better-regarded parks like Bandhavgarh and Ranthambore.