On the 1st of October 2007 the Ranthambhore national park re opened after three months. All the Project Tiger Reserves are shut during the monsoons and likewise Ranthambhore closes on the 1st of July every year. These three monsoons months are “tough” ones for the managers of the park because this is when illegal cattle grazers storm the park with their cattle and literally camp inside the park. This year, however, like the last year, the Park management managed to keep the grazers out of the national park. There were some instances of grazing but compared to what used to go on a few years ago, such instances were insignificant. Hats off to Mr. R. S. Shekhawat and his team.
I was busy trying to set up our Lodge for the new season and did not get a chance to go to the park till the 7th of October. Between the 7th and the 12th of October, I managed to go for every safari (and there are two in a day) and boy did I have a good time.
Water availability: Ranthambhore had some great rains in the last few months and all the water holes inside the park are full to the brim. I have not seen the water in the lakes rise to this level since 2001. The park is lush green and the undergrowth nice and thick. The ungulates have had a good time for the last few months and it shows very obviously.
Tiger sightings: Till a few days before the park reopened we believed that October would not have many great tiger sightings. Mainly because we thought that since there is water everywhere in the park, the ungulates would be spread out all over the park and so would the predators. We also believed that the thick undergrowth would make tiger sightings even tougher. But this was not to be. I personally saw 10 different tigers – two families of a 4 tigers each (one in Kachida and the other in the area of the lakes) and two males.
Cubs: the forest officials have told us that at least two tigresses have small cubs (below three months of age) – one in Guda and the other in Berda. Ranthambhore is rocking again – after a span of 5 years. I just hope that the good times are here to stay for some time.
All these pictures have been taken between the 7th and 12th of October 2007.