2023 India Blog #3: Wildlife

In this year’s India tour, we experienced wildlife in a manner I had thought would only be possible in Africa. We were pleased to learn that India is protecting its tigers, elephants, and other endangered species, in a number of “reserves.” Tourism supports these efforts, providing jobs for locals, and incentivizing the sustaining of India’s wild animal heritage, which is in increasing danger from habitat encroachment by the burgeoning human population.

Why did the peacock cross the road?

The wildlife photos in this blog were all from a “tiger preserve.” We didn’t happen to see any tigers, though they were there, hidden in the jungles and forests. But we saw many elephants, deer, birds, monkeys, and other wildlife. These photos are just a small sample of the hundreds of photos I took. Some other tourists were lucky enough to see a tiger on their safari trips. We were lucky to see two leopards (which are also rarely seen because they are solitary animals that avoid other animals except when they get hungry). We traveled on roads through the preserve in open jeeps which held 5-6 passengers. Apparently, lions, tigers, and leopards, do not recognize jeeps as being an animal to be feared or attacked. Elephants are different, as you will read later in this blog.

These were the first elephants we saw roaming freely in their home environment of the tiger preserve.
This leopard crossed the road in front of us as we sat in our jeep. He was not disturbed or threatened by us at all. Very self-confident!
This is the most prominent antelope species in the park. They lose their antlers every year.
This is the Indian Gray Langur monkey. There are 61 different species of Langur monkeys around the world.
This is a Gaur, the Indian “buffalo”. They can weigh over a ton and are reputedly ill-tempered.
A wild boar
A Mongoose: a carnivorous animal with a unique mutation that makes it immune to poisonous snake venom, such as cobras and kraits, venomous snakes common in India. They are commonly used in India to keep areas free from poisonous snakes that threaten humans. Mongooses are not tame, but hunt territorially, thus serving human communities.
Hornet/wasp nest…about one meter/three feet in length
Sorry, I don’t know what bird species this one is.
We saw countless antelope herds like this one. They were not particularly afraid of the tourist-filled jeeps driving by.
Father and son Gaurs snoozing by the road

For the rest of this blog, I’ll present photos taken at the same locations as the ones above.

We saw dozens of wild elephants during out two day stay at the Tiger Reserve. Our jeep driver would stop at a likely location, turn off the motor, and we would wait, hoping that wild animals would emerge from the forest. A memorable elephant encounter is described below.

Another photos of the original herd we saw, this one revealing the baby elephant
Father and Daughter
Mother and Son
Father elephant
This was the look he gave us just prior to charging!

The male elephant above was the first of his family to walk out of the woods. Our jeep driver slowly coasted forward on the road slowly approaching the elephant. He turned and faced us, obviously annoyed by our presence. Suddenly he bellowed an amazingly loud cry: He didn’t “flute” or “saxophone,” he “trumpeted!” and started to charge toward the jeep. Our driver quickly shifted into reverse and backed away on the road as quickly as he could. Fortunately, the charging elephant stopped and returned into his “territory”. We kept a safe distance after that. In fact, we drove on to another area out of sight a short distance away. When we returned by the same road to the place of the initial encounter, the male elephant had been joined by his family: a female, a young daughter elephant, and an even younger male son with short tusks. Obviously the male/father elephant didn’t want some tourists getting too close to him and his family.

This is the leopard when he first emerged out of the forest. Our driver had seen him first and stopped the jeep.
The leopard crossed in from of the jeep nonchalantly. He ignored us all except for one instant, but I didn’t catch that photo opportunity.
The leopard walked up the road for a stretch, as we followed slowly in the jeep. Finally, he disappeared into the surrounding woods.
Another location, another elephant, coming to drink in the lake
The same elephant as the one above after having drunk her fill and sprayed herself with water over her body.
Baby wants to take her first walk. Soon after I took this photo, the mother quickly bounded away with the baby holding securely to the stomach/underside of the mother’s furry body.
Langurs climb trees as easily as squirrels, jumping from tree to tree. They can also be very noisy, especially sounding the alarm when a potentially deadly tiger or leopard is spotted in their territory.

Why did the peacock cross back to the other side?

Hi, I'm Dallas Smith

My blogs offer the vicarious pleasure for my readers to learn of my travels and musical adventures.

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Comments (10)

  1. Arthur

    February 26, 2023 at 6:20 pm

    You guys continue to amaze! Did good karma sprinkle on you from some heavenly realm? To us observers it seems to be so. I wish I had you in my music studio for an hour, Dallas. I’ve become a ridiculous pianist! I’m in love with the piano and have done virtually nothing else for the past three years.

  2. smith

    February 26, 2023 at 7:29 pm

    the Peacock
    crossed the road to pose for your camera!

  3. Shelley Buckholdt

    February 27, 2023 at 3:13 am

    Wonderful pictures and details, Dallas! Thank you! Hugs to you and Susan!💕💜💕🎶

  4. Christine Szymanski

    February 27, 2023 at 5:51 pm

    Great animal pictures.

  5. Ginnie Kersey

    February 27, 2023 at 8:53 pm

    Your photos are so, so wonderful. I save the blog and go back to see the beautiful animals and birds again and again! I love elephants and love to see the young ones! My Dad was stationed in India during WW11 and brought back little ivory camels and elephants. Guess it wasn’t anything bad in those days. India is a place I have never been but it looks so interesting. Looks like your weather is great…here we are getting snow, snow, snow…enough is enough!!

  6. Rocky

    February 28, 2023 at 3:46 pm

    Awesome pictures, next thing we know you’ll be streaming across the internet.

  7. Linda Peterson

    February 28, 2023 at 9:09 pm

    Bravo Dallas!! Thank you for opening my eyes to an India I do not know.
    Loved the pictures and your descriptions.

    All possible blessings

  8. Robin

    February 28, 2023 at 10:42 pm

    Oh my goodness! A trip of a lifetime. These photos are amazing. I am so happy you are enjoying every moment. The leopard photo is my favorite – Robin Spielberg

  9. SylendraBabu

    March 11, 2023 at 11:40 am

    Dear Dallas smith ,
    I read your blog on the visit to Mysore wildlife sanctity. It is amazing of course.
    I too hail from this part of the country and am very happy to inform you that you know me .
    I was one of the guests to your home during 2006 as part of international visitors leadership program.
    I would like to know if you are still in India, in which case we could meet. SylendraBabu

  10. Chris Lisney-Smith

    March 14, 2023 at 10:44 am

    Hi Dallas and Susan, Thanks for the excellent blog and wonderful photos of India’s superb wildlife.
    We met a few weeks ago at the Xandari Pearl Hotel in Marari and intended to exchange emails, however the timing was not quite right. I know that you were so impressed with your safari adventures that you would like to explore Africa, having had 5 fabulous safaris in South Africa I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. I have also enjoyed listening to your music and sharing it with my family and friends. I know you would love the music scene in Cape Town. The bird which you cannot identify in the photo is an Oriental Darter, known to Indians as a Snake Bird. This is because it looks like a snake when swimming in the water.
    I hope you remember me from our conversations while looking over the Arabian Sea and enjoying a fabulous Keralan breakfast and will get in touch. Kind regards, Chris (Lisney-Smith), St Albans, England.

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