Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Where the Wild Things Are

Last autumn, we traveled to India to visit relatives in Bangalore.  While in the area, we were also able to visit Bandipur National Park, a large wildlife sanctuary and tiger reserve. Once the private hunting grounds for the Maharaja of Mysore, Bandipur now includes 337 sq. miles (874 sq km) of diverse terrain.  It is home to many different species of wildlife and protects several of India's endangered species.

bonnet macaque monkey
We saw lots of monkeys near the roads and near our hotel.  All too used to humans, an especially bold monkey would even approach to beg for food when we were eating.

a baby monkey snuggles into its mother to nurse
Herds of chital deer and wild boar also grazed nearby in the more open areas.

Chital deer
Wild boar
We then took a windowless bus into the Bandipur National Park, driven by one of the park rangers.  Following a dirt road deeper into the reserve, we were able to see some animals that were less tame..  

Gray langur
herd of Gaur, also known as Indian bison
Green Bee-Eater
herd of chital deer surrounded by old bamboo mounds
We saw quite a few peacocks with their gorgeous plumage.


Did you know that peacocks can fly for short distances?  I didn't, before I saw this:

peacock up in a tree
When we saw animals, the park ranger would stop the bus and turn off the ignition so that we wouldn't scare them and so that we could take pictures.  Of course we were all thrilled when we spotted a group of elephants.


Notice what the adult elephants are carefully guarding..


A baby elephant tried to come closer to see us.  The adults quickly pushed it back behind them.

Then an old matriarch elephant started out of the brush towards our bus.


One idiot in the back of the bus was busy taking pictures with the flash on.  'No flash!' hissed the park ranger.  I heard a click as he turned the key halfway in the ignition, ready to start the bus and hit the gas if the elephant decided to charge.


The elephant stopped about 10 feet away from the bus and stayed there, grazing on tufts of grass and keeping a very watchful eye.


I could barely breath at that point - I was sitting in a windowless bus 10 feet away from a colossal sized elephant... 
with my own 4-year-old daughter on my lap.


Thankfully, all she did was watch us.  After a while, the herd of elephants decided to move on, and we went our separate ways. 

I was actually quite glad we did not happen upon a tiger...


The encounter with the elephants was wild enough for me!


Photo props:
Mr. Red House and his father took many of these awesome photos, as I was often busy holding kids.
Great photos, guys!

18 comments:

  1. Elephants are amazing; I've heard they will even cry. How exciting to see them close up and in the wild, but I would have been holding my breath in fear with Mama so close by, too.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, I didn't know they cried! I knew they are very smart and have strong emotions (it's so sad to hear about the plight of elephant herds who lose members to poaching.) It was really incredible to see the elephants up close, though I'm sure glad we didn't end up tangling with an angry matriarch!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Indie how wonderful and what fun. I would love to see elephants in their environment and not a zoo. That silhouette of the peacock in the tree is a tremendous capture. I absolutely love it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a great trip, and so great to see the animals free but protected. I also have a photo of the peacock as it flew up to the tree, but it's a little more fuzzy as it was getting dark by then. It looked so awkward flying with that long tail!

      Delete
  4. Amazing shots! I would love to see all that wildlife up close! It must have been amazing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was an incredible trip! It was great to see relatives there we don't normally get a chance to see, and getting to go on a little wildlife safari was quite the bonus! The kids loved it.

      Delete
  5. What an amazing trip! Congratulations to Mr Red House and his father for some superb photography. If they were here, they would be able to take photos of a green-eyed monster. Envious of your trip? Me? Absolutely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! It was an incredible opportunity! We're lucky that Mr. Red House has relatives in India that we can go visit and stay with - it's a beautiful country and so unique!

      Delete
  6. Oh man, that does sound wild! And wild is not what we want with a 4-year-old on our lap! Great photos, glad you were all safe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, as amazing as the experience was, we were a little close for comfort there! Thankfully, all was well!

      Delete
  7. Wow! What an encounter! I have heard how intelligent elephants are and how protective a group of elephants is of its young. You were fortunate to see them up close and very fortunate that the Matriarch was only giving a warning!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely! At least the park ranger who was driving seemed ready to turn it on and hit the gas at a moments notice! It was quite a memorable experience.

      Delete
  8. What a fabulous trip that must have been! And such beautiful animals you got to see. I would have been so scared of the elephant. Interesting that they would be irritated by the camera's flash.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We saw a whole lot of peacocks, and they were so gorgeous! There were some very pretty birds, as well, including a green woodpecker, though sadly I didn't get a good picture of it. You always hear about getting in between a mother bear and her cub - the warning definitely would apply to an elephant and her baby as well!

      Delete
  9. Wow, those are incredible photos! And it sounds like an amazing trip and adventure for the entire family. I would have been petrified and thrilled about the elephants, too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was such a great trip and experience for the kids! We are lucky to be able to go and see the wildlife so closely in their native habitat!

      Delete
  10. What a great trip, post and photos. I too would have been scared of the matriarch elephant. My gosh are some people not very bright to disobey the ranger. I like the photo of the Green Bee-eater, such a beautiful bird.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Bee-eaters were so pretty! I also got a photo of a green woodpecker that I thought was quite pretty, as well. A little different from the birds we see around here!

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...