The wait is finally over & the gates of paradise are finally open. Almost like a ritual for the past
few years, I am there on day one & perhaps one of the first visitors to enter the park post-monsoon. This
the year was no different either. This year park witnessed some very strong monsoon & the impact was visible. Thick dense vegetation, overflowing nullahs & streams, muddy and damaged tracks in need of repairs, and fewer chances of sighting cats due to scattered prey base but for wildlife buffs like us nothing matters. All we need is an excuse & for some lucky souls, we thankfully have ‘commercial interests to take care of as well. Suddenly our status on employment sites changed from ‘temporarily unemployed’ to ‘employed‘…
Customary welcome at the park gate by Nature Guides & hawkers at Ranthambhore awaited us, a tika on the forehead and a garland for each visitor is a noble way to welcome and a great gesture to show gratitude towards visitors. We entered the forest from Jogi Mahal gate, the entrance for zone II & III, always a good feeling to see known faces at these gates. The Jungle is breathtakingly beautiful, all the major lakes are full & still overflowing. 30 minutes inside the park & we saw fresh pug marks on a safari track, as we followed the trail it led us to a pool of water where the current queen of Ranthambhore T19 was quenching her thirst. She looked relaxed & obliged all of us with loads of photo ops before vanishing again in the woods. Blessed…
Over the next few days mother-son duo of Noor & Sultan were star attraction as they had killed a huge sambhar deer next to the road which leads to Ranthambhore fort. As the rains continued and park authorities were forced to close most of the safari tracks these two kept on ‘obliging’ with their sightings not only to park visitors but also pilgrims to the famous Ganesh temple. Queen Machli was sighted on the second day of the park opening & this ended all speculations about her existence, a rumour which surfaces every now & then. She looked injured, probably in a fight with another tiger and could barely walk, as the news reached the forest department, they immediately attended to her and she seems to be doing fine now.
Other tigers which have been sighted are T24, T28, T22 & male cub of T19. Also, there are reports of T8- resident tigress of zone 6,7,8 having given birth to a litter as pug marks of cubs were sighted along with the mother. Overall, a great start to the sighting log at Ranthambhore…..