Spotting the Spotted spectre while on foot
Kabini, 2nd July 2017 6.40PM, Dammanakatte range – After returning from the forest department safari, Photographers Amith Bhavikatti & Kalyan Chakraborty were at the parking area of the camp, when they were signalled by a couple of local villagers known to them.
On following them for a good 100-150 meters, the villagers said that there was a Leopard on Tree nearby. After pointing out the direction where they had seen the Leopard, the villagers left. As the Photographers walked ahead in the direction, they spotted the magnificent creature barely 30 feet away from them on a tree.
This Leopard, an inhabitant of MM road forest range, roams around the fringes of the forest and has been spotted multiple times on safaris. The leopard is quite bold as he roams around the area which is the known territory of not one, but two Tiger families.
The thick hedges in the front of the road were the only barrier between the Leopard and the photographers. Both men maintained distance and made sure that leopard was comfortable with their presence and did not enter the shrubs. As they just stood and snapped a couple of pictures, the leopard though comfortable, spotted the photographers with their equipment, jumped down from the tree and disappeared into the bushes.
The photographers were unsettled as they could not comprehend what to do. The leopard could have popped up from anywhere in the thicket barely 10 feet from them and would require less than 5 seconds to reach them if he decided to attack. At that point the photographers barely moved a muscle for 10 long minutes.
After that time, the men thought the leopard had gone back into the forest and walked a couple of meters towards the camp, when Amith spotted the leopard on another tree attempting to settle down in the crook of the tree.
The leopard, trying to make himself comfortable in the crook of the tree, was unhappy that there was no space to rest on the little tree. Thanking his luck Amith bent down and snapped a couple of quick photographs. The Leopard then leapt down and just vanished into the forest like a spectre in the onset of twilight.
A thrilling moment for a wildlife photographer to get to shoot a leopard while on foot. A sighting such as this would enthral any wildlife enthusiast in a way that can’t be expressed by mere words.