One of the many stories from our jungles that I shall narrate for years to come, this is a tale of a leopard (& his biggest nemesis) from a murky and cold forenoon in the winter of 2012! After spending the better part of the morning enjoying the incredible beauty of Kanha but failing to see any cat, we were returning back to camp when, on that venerable and fabled road leading away from the misty meadows and up the Kanhaghati, where stand many an ancient Sal tree, we saw this most beautiful of cats, hardly 10 feet away from us! While the suddenness (and distance) of the encounter took us by awe and surprise, we were soon engrossed in observing that unique creation of nature! Dear reader, those of you who haven’t seen a panther in the wild cannot fully comprehend the beauty of its form, the exquisite movements of it’s lithe body and the dazzle of its satiny coat that gleams ever so bright in the affable rays of the wintertime’s sun! ‘You don’t need prose if you have poetry’, they say! The leopard embodies poetry, in motion! While we succumbed to the almost supernatural fantasy of a leopard sighting, the leopard looked edgy, trying to climb higher up from the ground, where it feels the safest! His jumpy and nervous stare eluded us but looked beyond in the dense lantana, that most prolific of the Indian jungle undergrowth! While the leopard continued with his antics, an emphatic roar from the undergrowth shook us all! A huge male tiger, the legendary Munna in fact (when he was changing his territory from Kanha to Kisli), had just woken up! The terrified panther scampered up the highest branch while we made our way back to camp ecstatic in the knowledge of just having witnessed an incredible natural history moment!
By @mihirwildmahajan | @explorewildindia