Young World

Encounter with a tiger

I was excited when my father decided to take us to Bandipur National Park during the summer holidays. It had been a dream of mine. I packed my camera, a pair of binoculars and a copy of The Book of Indian Birds by Salim Ali among other things.

On May 21, as dawn broke, my parents and I started for the National Park from Mysore in a taxi. It was a 90-minute smooth drive. At the check post, we changed over to a van and went into the forest. As soon as we entered the trail, we were greeted by a Crested Hawk Eagle hovering over a cluster of trees. It is a bird of prey, with a slender brown and white body and black streaks. It has a long, narrow crest behind its head. Then we saw a solitary Sambar deer looking intently at us. We moved ahead and saw a peacock in all its splendour strutting and posing for our cameras. A group of Hanuman langurs was jumping from tree to tree. In a clearing, a solitary gaur was grazing placidly as a Muntjac deer scampered across our path. This goat-sized deer with its reddish fawn coat barks like a dog. So it’s also called a barking deer. We saw a White-bellied Treepie with its beautiful chestnut body perched on a tree stump.

And then, we heard the alarm call of a Samber deer followed by the cackling of the langurs and peacocks. It was an indication that a tiger was on the prowl. A sense of alertness rose in us as we drove toward the distress call. Soon, our van shuddered to a stop. All the passengers crammed onto one side to look outside. A majestic tiger was cooling itself by a pool. It was just 30 feet away from us! I craned my neck to look at the animal, but many heads were blocking my view. More vehicles converged near the pool. Ten minutes later, the tiger got up and shook its body as it went back into the forest. It turned around one last time and looked at us disdainfully before running into the bushes.

This was the moment I was waiting for. I would never forget this trip. Thank you, dad!

Arvind Mahadevan, VII, Hari Sri Vidya Nidhi School, Punkunnam, Thrissur

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2021 6:39:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/kids/encounter-with-a-tiger/article5825521.ece

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