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Snow Leopard Expedition in Ladakh & Tigers in Ranthambore, India, March 6-23 2018 Trip Report

Escorted by: Cindi LaRaia

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Tiger in Ranthambore, India

It is now very warm and a big switch in temperature and clothing apparel! Our hotel near Ranthambore is lovely with the new staff being very attentive to our needs! A lovely large swimming pool, large accommodations, inside and outside showers, with a lovely art shop!

We started very early for our 2 game drives of the day. Our first drive we saw wild boer, a large Nigali antelope, many languor monkeys, loads of peacocks, 2 small collard scop owls in a tree hole and Noor a beautiful female Tiger!!! Wow our first drive and we have this amazing gorgeous tiger in front of us! Also there is a large male laying down, these Tigers are big!

We had a lovely visit with her. We learned there are about 69 tigers in Ranthambore National park, they all have different territories and some overlap. Vehicles are assigned different zones at check in.

The second drive starting about 330pm we see Arrowhead Tiger right at the beginning as we entered the gate. 6 to 8 vehicles going crazy jockeying for position. What a Wild West show, as the days go on, we are amazed at the ‘Tiger Hysteria’ that ensues when a tiger is spotted! Seeming out of nowhere, vehicles appear and go crazy to get the best spot. Funny tho as sometimes the Tigers are on the move, this ‘hysteria’ becomes even more bizarre!

Arrowhead walked down the 1 lane road marking her territory and in no apparent hurry to go elsewhere. We finally break free and zoom ahead in hopes she will cut over and we can see her head on instead of her backside.

In the mean time we see Sombre deer, Ruffus Pied birds, white breasted king fisher and a large mongoose. We see Arrowhead cut over the hill to get away from the vehicles. It all becomes a game. We go back to see Noor as now she was in the water hole, and the male Tiger was still laying down in the brush.

We continued our group sundowner at the pool, how beautiful and a great way to share our stories. We had to take 2 vehicles with 3 people in each one, we all saw some different animals and some the same when we were together in the same zone!

ON day 2 we were so lucky to be at the right place at the right moment! We saw mom and her 3 cubs very early morning, frolicking, they crossed the road then went into the forest, we could still see them in the trees but not so easy for pictures! Our guide said it is very rare to see 3 cubs and she normally hides them well. Her name is Krisna the mamma tigress, we learned she took a lot of Laila’s territory. Some of these cats are related, once they get older they need to make their own territories and some overlap.

Tigers in Ranthambore, India

On our afternoon drive be see a full grown male at 500 # holy moly that is a big boy!!! They are one of the most majestic cats on the planet, the colors are simply stunning and how they blend in to the trees, grass and bush is amazing. You would not think so with them being a pretty bright orange with white marks on the face!

I was able to video with my snappy a big sub adult male who is Laila’s cub, he went to the river to drink!

What are we seeing now??? At a water hole walks up a big sloth bear, OMG!! Really? We asked our guide on day one and they just hate that as they are shy and hard to see. WE were sooooooo luck to see this big interesting looking bear with a big white snout, thick black fur and stark white very large claws!

What a day, we saw 6 different tigers today and a sloth bear! 3 different tigers yesterday for a total of 9 different tigers, 2 sloth bears as we saw another deep in the forest and a leopard also!!! Holy cow! The Animal Gods are surely with us on this trip!!

The Leopard was very far away high up in a tree, how these guides see this stuff is amazing! The leopards here are very very shy of vehicles.

The next day we went to the zone in front of the fort which is 800 yrs old. We saw large male Sombre and 2 more collard scop owlets.

Driving around we are not seeing too much until we head back toward the fort then woahhhhhh here comes Arrowhead! She crossed over from another zone again, something is up with her. She has been doing a lot of walking around covering different zones. They say she may have lost her cubs and needs to mate again. The many vehicles went crazy again as there was a big open area and she went off to stalk some deer. Fascinating to watch her in crouch mode then made the run! She was too far away however and missed the deer. They say she is hungry and needs to eat.

Now for our last day, we drove all over to check water holes. We found one of Leilas cubs out marking his territory. He is not on his own yet so he is not able to have his own territory. However the jungle telegraph when out and in 2 seconds we had 2 buses, 6 jeeps invading our wonderful find. Ho hum. The reality of Ranthambore as it is the closest park to Delhi. Also the only one that allows these big open buses with 20 people in them. Gross. This is true Tiger Hysteria and insanity. Wow the poor tigers, have to endure this every day, they are very used to it however, it seems to bother us more than the tigers.

We found a carcass from a Tiger kill, it was off the main road so had to have a quick look and wait for Leila to come back to feed.

We had a very successful Tiger trip to add to our successful Snow Leopard sightings!!! A total of 17 Tiger sightings, with 9 different tigers in 5 game drives! We also saw and Indian Gazelle the smallest antelope in India!

And that my friends is the end to our wonderful wildlife trip in India! I am blown away by our luck and success!

I will go back, we have learned about other amazing wildlife parks that warrant a good long trip!

Many thanks and keep on traveling!!!

Cindi LaRaia

Tigers in Ranthambore, India - Trip Report

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