India: Pench NP – Tigers

And finally it happens – my first Bengal tigers in the wild! Of the three game drives in Pench, two were a success to spot the elusive tigers. Bengal tigers (aka Panthera Tigris Tigris in Latin) are the largest cats on earth, there’s only about 2,500 left in the wild in the whole world (compared with 40,000 lions) and about 10% of that is in central India. They are mostly solitary animals and control about 100 square kilometers each. Spotting one is not simple – there is no radio contact between the guides and finding one is more or less random. The first tiger – a male – was moving through a relatively thick forest and I only got through-the-trees glimpse shots. The second was a young female and she was also moving quickly, crossed the road, looked at the safari vehicle and also disappeared in the bush. Royal Bengal tigers – check!