Rules of Jungle
I had been watching pictures of wild animals posted by my friends from different parts of the world and always wondered if I would enjoy watching the animal kingdom in its natural habitat. When I went on a week-long wildlife trip to Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh, I was a bit apprehensive.
Morning rays welcome us into the jungle.
I was pushed by my friends, both offline & online, to look for the most ‘wanted’ animal on such Safaris, a tiger; to go for bird watching or to do this activity or that.
I tried to explain to them. It’s not in my hand to control the movements of inhabitants of the forest. It is a whole different world out there. This was almost my first trip to the wildlife and though I knew how to deal with it, I had no idea what to expect there in the jungle.
Can you really isolate one and just look for a particular other? Can you ask a monkey not to jump from one tree to another while you aim to shoot a Black Drongo half hidden in the same branch? Can you request a leopard to come closer so that you can have a better look at his spots? How can you ignore a Sambhar deer looking at you curiously when your eyes search for a tiger?
These things are not in our hands.
Sambhar deer is all ears…
But there are certain other things which we can and should control.
Game of patience- It’s a game of patience out there in jungle. It tests your limits. You have to wait for hours to get a glimpse of a particular animal. If you do not have it, you’d probably be spending your valuable time elsewhere. We waited for more than two hours in our jeep before we could spot a tiger. Let me claim here … I was extremely fortunate to see it on my first day itself. I know of people who have done 6-7 safaris without any success.
Not a Zoo- Wildlife reserve is not a zoo where you can find all animals and birds lined together waiting for you for a photo shoot. It is open and it is their natural habitat. Do not, in any way, get disappointed or curse your guide, naturalist for not showing a tiger to you. Don’t force them; it’s not in their hands too. If you are lucky, you’ll definitely spot one. If that is all you want to see, you are not made for the wildlife.
Checkered Keelback snake, came to surface for breathing.
Dress code- In order to not to disturb the animals, you should try to blend with your surroundings in the wild. It is always suggested to wear dark earthen colors like brown, green, beige, black etc. Refrain from wearing red, pink and whites. Also, avoid using perfumes. You are going into a jungle, not to a party! Animals do not appreciate brands like Chanel, Armani etc & may get agitated. 😛
Not a picnic place – Jungle is not a picnic place. I saw our naturalist stopping the vehicle the moment he noticed a small shining candy wrapper, chips bag or a plastic bottle anywhere. The people out there (staff of forest dept, guides & naturalists), are really taking care of the wildlife. Do not make life difficult for them. There are specific meal zones marked for eating purpose and your driver will definitely take you there during breaks. You can eat & refreshen yourself then.
Face to face with His Highness !!!
Much more than a tiger- Wildlife is not only about a tiger. Enjoy the forest and its sounds, feel the ambience rather than chasing that elusive wild cat. We saw two tigers on the first day itself, we could have moved on to next destination. But we continued to go to the same jungle for next few days to see & enjoy the other species of fauna. We saw Sambhar deer, barking deer, Indian Gaur or the Indian Bison, wild boars, elephant, monkeys, snakes, spotted deer and so many varieties of birds.
Keep silence- I saw people coming in large groups with infants, toddlers and young children who were still asleep in their parents’ laps. How on earth can you, as a parent, torture your kid to wake up at 4:30 AM in winters to visit a jungle ? Of course, there are exceptions, but the majority of them will not like sitting in one place without any interesting thing happening.
On one occasion, when occupants of a jeep were waiting patiently, a child got off the vehicle & started walking in the jungle (Getting off the vehicle is strictly prohibited). The driver got down hurriedly to bring him back, by then another child honked the horn !! And then the youngest one, who was fast asleep, started crying in full volume. 🙂
While we are talking of silence, switch off the mobile phones please.
Do you have any other points to take care of?
Please write in comments and I’ll add to the post.
You can see more photos of this trip on my Facebook page.
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