Author: Chirag Roy

Chirag Roy

Wildlife Safaris - 2 years ago

Rare Moment at Tadoba

The honey badger (Mellivora capensis), also known as the ratel, is a species of mustelid native to AfricaSouthwest Asia, and the Indian Subcontinent. They are basically nocturnal and very secretive, making it one of the most difficult animals to spot.

It was the morning of 28th of February, I was on a usual game drive with my  guests heading back towards the lodge without a tiger in the bag! Understandably the mood in the car is a little low, though I kept the guests engaged by spotting birds on the way.

Out of the blue, comes a honey badger out of its hole and straight on the side of the road. Now at this point, I must mention that I am working in Tadoba National Park for last 4 years, spending almost 9 hrs in the forest every day, and never had a sighting of a Ratel before. Shocked and out of words I grabbed the driver by his collar, which instinctively made him push the brakes hard. The car did stop, but with a lot of noise, and I thought the golden opportunity of seeing the animal up close is gone forever…. but what happened next shocked us all… the badger instead of running away from the vehicle, walked towards it in a very calm manner. My guide Sanjay, sitting in the front seat, confused  about the identity of this queer animal kept turning the pages of his field guide. My guest who had already encountered a honey badger once before in Africa, was also amazed by seeing the confidence of this creature in close proximity to humans. 

We waited there for the next ten minutes, seeing the animal as it foraged for food in the termite mounds. Three more safari cars which were waiting at a distance, unaware of the sighting, got suspicious seeing the activity in our car, started coming towards us, the badger looked around, sniffed the air and gracefully walked away from our sight… by the time the other jeeps reached, it was all over …

Photo Credit (Honey Badger): Svasara Guest, Ms. Anne Woodhouse, UK

Original Blog by Chirag J. Roy, re-posted in his fond memory on his 34th Birthday on 29th January, 2022.

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Chirag Roy

Wildlife Safaris - 8 years ago

Leopard’s Dinner..!

A young Leopardess who calls the abandoned Jamni village her home was seen sitting on the road as we entered the park. What we did not see was that a carcass of a large chital deer was lying next to her on the side of the road under a banyan tree. When the leopard had enough posing for our cameras, she sluggishly got up and walked towards the kill. With no time to waste she buried her head in the carcass pulling its guts out in the open. By this time another five cars had come to the spot. “ Wild dogs, Wild Dogs”!!! I heard a murmur in the car next to me. “Where?” I asked to the driver of the other car, to which he pointed in the direction behind our jeep… I stood up on the seat and there they were. Two scruffy looking wild dogs that seemed a little malnourished had picked up the scent of the dead deer and was heading our way. “Wow how cool would that be, Dholes taking on the mighty leopard”, said my guest with excitement. Expecting an epic encounter between the two I took my camera out of the bag. But what happened next was something we did not expect at all. The dogs stopped at about 30 meters from the carcass , looking a little nervous. Their fanatic whistles could be heard from our car. The leopard who was so far been busy eating her prized meal is also looking straight at them. Her face covered in blood of the dead. A deadly snarl followed by a low growl was enough to make the dogs uneasy. Within a blink of an eye , the leopardess gets up, makes a mock charge , scattering the hungry pair somewhere in the forest. The big cat returns to her kill, reclaiming it by sniffing the carcass and then licking her paw. A job well done. She devoured a few more bits and then slowly crossed the road, went up a Mahua tree and slept.

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