Jun 25, 2014
The tigers of Kaziranga in Assam are famous for a number of reasons; they are among the biggest in the Bengal tiger family and the most elusive. So, catching them on camera trap is usually the only way we get to see them … but sometimes, just sometimes, magic happens.
A few weeks ago the monitoring team that TigerTime helps fund set off on what they thought would be another routine ‘day in the office’. Binita, Munjali and Arif and their regular guard Mr Prodip Bora, set off to monitor the camera traps in the park and were soon welcomed by a one-horned Indian rhino mother and calf. Although extremely rare – Kaziranga is the last stronghold of the species – they can regularly be spotted grazing on the vast alluvium plains that make Kaziranga so rich in wildlife. Seeing the calf, however, was a real treat.
The team take up the story:
“We had already checked a few trap locations and downloaded the data from the cameras and, because of heavy rain the night, had to carry out some maintenance to the cameras too. At 11’o’clock, as we approached one of the anti-poaching camps we saw a tiger on the other side of the river course about 70m away. It was happily mud bathing.
“As we watched, a second tiger came to the water. It was amazing, to see one Kaziranga tiger is incredible but to see two! And then a third appeared, took a drink then slipped back into the tall elephant grass on the river bank. Our hearts were thumping and we just kept staring at the two tigers that remained, unable to believe our luck. When they moved into the shade of the tall grass we couldn’t believe how incredible our morning had been.
“Just as we thought we’d seen everything the third tiger returned and with him were two more grown up cubs. OMG what a day!”
The team had never seen anything like it; five Kaziranga tigers – a happy, healthy, tiger family living wild and free in one of the world’s most amazing landscapes.
“We felt overwhelmed,” adds Binita. “We didn't want to leave the majestic scene but we had work to do and we left the tiger family to relax on the banks of the river surprised that an hour had passed!”
“While checking the cameras we continued to smile and think about our encounter. Yes this is Kaziranga, a place that sometimes allows us a glimpse into its beautiful soul, a place where you never know what is waiting for you. But to witness those glimpses of magic we must continue to provide a safe and secure environment for tigers to survive and thrive and to make sure that future generations have these forests, these plains and these moments of pure magic.”
Five moments of magic
Photos by Binita Baruwati