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Tigerwalah at Corbett

I recently took my second trip to Jim Corbett National Park in the past two months. As we entered UP, heavy fog greeted us. The lack of street lights, poor visibility, and buffalo carts without reflectors made the drive quite interesting. Eventually, nature took over and technology gave up. We parked the car outside a roadside Dhaba and slept for a good 4 hours. If you plan to drive down to Corbett, it's best to avoid night drives as intense fog is likely until January.


During our first safari at Bijrani zone, we encountered a lonely tusker in heat (musth) walking on the road. Tusker encounters are always full of surprises and unpredictability, but this one was unforgettable. As we followed him for some distance, he decided to prove his might with a mock charge towards our vehicle followed by a loud trumpet. It was loud enough to send chills down our spines.


Our next drive was at the Jhirna zone of CTR, where the park boundary is being extended as villages are being relocated and fields are being converted into grasslands. This will turn into fantastic animal habitat in years to come. Proper efforts in the right direction are yielding the right results, and I commend the souls behind this.


Unfortunately, we missed tiger sightings three times, even though the area has a high tiger density, including 11 cubs. The total safari route is approximately 6-7 km, and tiger pugmarks on safari tracks suggest the presence of predators all around. However, tigers in Corbett are not very vehicle-friendly, and the hilly forest terrain with dense grasslands makes sightings even more difficult. Most of the sightings are on safari tracks, but they are brief as compared to other parks like Ranthambhore.


The highlight of my trip was being able to click an interesting picture. It showed a human footprint and a tiger pugmark adjacent to each other on a jungle track. It made me wonder if it's a peaceful co-existence or an intrusion in tiger territory. Vedprakash Singh left an interesting comment on this picture on Tigerwalah's Facebook page, stating that 1417 more humans will die before the tiger vanishes, and that's very sure.


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