Travels With Sheila does her best to always respond to comments and questions posted on the site. Professor Nishi Mukerji, of the Kanha Tiger Center, India happened to read about my Kanha Tiger experiences and wrote to correct that what I incorrectly labeled in a photograph as a “Gaur” is actually a “Sambar,” India’s largest deer. India has seven diferent species of Sambar and my photograph is now correct.
Looking for tigers in India ranks up there as one of the most wonderful travel and animals experiences both ex-Marine, husand, Steve, and I have ever had. It’s not as if they are just sitting out there waiting for you and spend at least two to three days in a Tiger Reserve to maximize your chances of seeing a tiger. (Read about our recent experiences in Sunderbans Tiger Reserve.)
Professor Nishi and I began e-mailing about the incredible Tigers and I thought you would be interested in both the unbelievable photographs he gave me kind permission to use and the gist of one e-mail. Below, is Professor Nishi’s e-mail:
“The Tiger Center, has people from six different nationalities – academics, business people, and social scientists- working for our mission, which is:
– Help the Tiger
– Help the People, and
– Help the Environment
We believe these ideas form a ‘virtuous circle’, which provides a workable paradigm for both economic, and ecological progress. In this paradigm the economy, and the ecology are complementary dimensions, and not competing forces.
This being the concept, we are in the process of getting a ‘cash engine’. We are probably the only people who own land inside the jungle- not on the main road-, and adjacent to the buffer zone. The land will generate the cash with which we will run a primary school, a medical facility for the local people, and employment opportunities for the ladies of Kanha. Anyway all of this is in our website.
The Tiger as you know is probably the largest land based carnivore (the Polar Bear is almost amphibious) in the jungle anywhere in the world. Though the Siberian Tiger looks larger because of its longer hair, and greater fat reserves living as it does in the snow, the largest and heaviest Bengal and Siberian Tigers have been similar in weight and size dimensions.
On the average, the tiger is about 50 kilograms/110 pounds heavier than a lion, and tigers of around 800 pounds have been recorded. Importantly the Bengal Tiger has the longest canines, and the largest teeth. This is because it has a vast variety of prey, some of them extremely heavy, for example the Bison, or even a young Rhino or an Elephant. A single tiger can bring down a large Gaur ( the largest bovid in the world), but it takes 3-4 lions, maybe more, to bring down a Cape Buffalo.”
Aren’t those photographs magnificent? Thanks, Professor Nishi. Remember, only 7,000 tigers (if that) out of 100,000 now roam the earth. Put it on your “once in a lifetime” to-do list and make an attempt to visit Kanha Tiger Reserve to look for tigers (it is thought that Rudyard Kipling used Kanha as his inspiration). You won’t be sorry you made the time and effort.