Dallas Smith's Blog

India Blog #3: Wildlife

February 2023

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?



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