One of my favourite tiger sightings
The sun was setting behind the clouds and the light was diminishing, it was time to head back. We reached a cross road, and paused to pick up a carelessly discarded plastic bottle in the middle of the road. While the forest-department driver got out to pick up the litter, I joked with the others in the jeep that “this is when I wouldn’t like to see a tiger”, prompting sniggers. The driver returned with a nonchalant smile on his face and mentioned in an off-hand way “there is a tiger over there”! Our first reaction was appreciating his sense of humour, but he was not kidding. Emerging from a bush a tiger strode into the clearing just opposite us. Goose-bumps rose on my arms as we watched the tiger saunter across the field in the eerie silence of the setting sun.
The scene is etched in my mind and still haunts me. It wondered through patch of grassland, weaving between the trees until gradually disappearing into the thicket at the back. We were left breathless and in awe.
The tiger is the largest cat species, reaching a total body length of up to 3.38 m over curves and weighing up to 388.7 kg in the wild. Its most recognisable feature is a pattern of dark vertical stripes on reddish-orange fur with a lighter underside. The species is classified in the genus ''Panthera'' with the lion, leopard, jaguar and snow leopard. Tigers are apex predators, primarily preying on ungulates such as deer and bovids. They are territorial and generally solitary but social animals,.. more