Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Love hate

Pench and I have always had a complex relationship. I want dearly to love this beautiful park, but every time I come there is a logistical problem which makes my life, and my Indian colleague's life, a misery. This afternoon, despite the heroic efforts of my wonderful Indian co-leader Dilip, the fellow in charge of the gate took exception to our group and, against all the evidence, refused for forty-five hot, tense minutes to allow us into the park. We tried buying new tickets, we tried producing independent evidence that our tickets were in order, but our bureaucratic friend bluntly refused to look into his papers to see that all was in order. Eventually he relented and, in a trice, we were in.

It has, for all sorts of reasons, been a long, emotional day and, with just minutes to go before our evening meeting and dinner, I haven't the wit or the energy to write much. I am delighted, however, to say that all of our clients have now seen at least two tigers. This afternoon's was the fully-grown cub of Collar Wali whom we saw this morning, one of three brothers who have now left their mother to face life on their own, freeing her to give birth to a new litter soon.

He lay, our huge-pawed cub, in the sand. He rolled on his back and revealed his startling white belly, the very picture of relaxation. Soon though, his relaxation and his brothers' must end, when they are forced from their home by their father or an incoming male. For now let them roll in the sand in this beautiful park, with the soulful cries of the peacocks in their ears and the chital grazing placidly nearby between the trees.

Cats seen in 2015
cheetah Acinonyx jubatus fearonii            3
serval Leptailurus serval serval                3
leopard Panthera pardus suahelicus        2
lion Panthera leo nubica                          78
snow leopard Panthera uncia                   3
jungle cat Felis chaus                               1
tiger Panthera tigris tigris                          7
leopard Panthera pardus fusca                2

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