A group of friends are disappointed at not being able to spot the striped beast at the RANTHAMBORE NATIONAL PARK and think something needs to be done about it.

My recent travel to the Ranthambore National Park was exciting in more ways than one. The watch at the time of our entry into the precincts of the park read 4:30 a.m. This is how enthusiastic we were to witness the jungle beast in action for the first time in our hitherto wild life in Delhi.

Four of us in all went there in a Gypsy — this vehicle type somehow induced a sense of macho-ism within my pals. The best part about a jungle safari is the thought of the tiger having traversed the same path that you are gracing today. To the amusement of my friends, I would shriek at anything and everything non-human and then as if routinely, get on with clicking those very beings as well as the captivating environs.

Spotted

Let me take you through my debut Indian expedition minus the ‘hunting effect'. Having been told by our fretful driver that a ‘kill' awaited us at that spot, we were left to think deep as to what he meant by the now popular word ‘kill'. Twenty minutes of pondering and discussions we concluded that it was a shikar and he had been meaning to speak the British language. To our delight which later would get transformed into dismay, we found a dead Sambar.

After the two-hour wait that ended in exasperation, we decided to move on from our spot-the-tiger obsession. After all, there were cows to be pursued, owls to be spotted and monkeys to be scoffed at. We felt grossly cheated by the King of the jungle as the driver had falsely quipped several times during our journey. In the interim period, I did not fail to put on display my self-professed claim of being a nature photographer. To the chagrin of my accompanying pals, I emulated my ideal self concept and demonstrated my photo-related histrionics.

We also spotted a cute-looking wild boar that very nearly resembled our very own domestic pig with the only point of differentiation being its finickiness for cleanliness. A very-in hair cut adorned its entire body and the almost non-existent tail. Next, we saw what was arguably one of the oldest Sambar to stand on its feet. It was a loner as the stink forced even our vehicle to be at a safe distance from it, leave alone its familial ties.

Request

My only request to the government and the jungle authorities would be to start formulating and implementing more rigorous tiger preservation policies and I am sure youngsters like us would be the first ones to get into the buzz-generating bandwagon of ‘Save the tiger' campaign. The only alternative is to become an avid viewer of the National Geographic Channel or the Animal Planet where both the ‘kill' and the beast rule the screen.

Check out: http://www. ranthamborenationalpark.com

Spot on

Wildlife: Tigers, Leopards, Striped Hyenas, Sambar deer, Chital, Nilgai, Common or Hanuman langurs, Macaques, Jackals, Sloth bears, Black bucks, Indian Wild Boar, Chinkara, Common Palm Civets or Toddy cat, Coomon Yellow Bats, Desert Cats, Fivestriped Palm Squirels, Indian False Vampires, Indian Flying Foxes, marsh crocs and other reptiles.

Birds: Kingfishers, Bee Eaters, Cuckoos, Parakeets, Asian Palm Swift, Nightjars, Crakes, Snipes, Sandpipers, Gulls, Terns, Great Crested Grebe, Eagles, Darters, Cormorants, Flamingos, Ibis, Pelicans, Storks, Pittas, Shrikes, TreepiesMinivets, Drongos, Flycatchers, Ioras, Wood Shrikes, Pipits, Bayas, Finches, Wagtails, Falcons…

Abhishek is a student of Master of Business Economics from the University of Delhi.