The day started bright and early again today. Ok, folks... someone has to be the last one on the canter! We left for the jungle at 6:30 to explore another area of Ranthambore National Park.
First some corrections-there are about 1100-1200 Royal Bengal tigers remaining in India - not the entire world. The government figure is 1411 for India but the naturalists feel this is not accurate. In the world there are about 1400-1500. There are a few Royal Bengal tigers in Kashmir, Nepal, Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan), and Bengal.
Our game viewing route this morning took us past one of the lakes in the park. Here we saw bountiful wildlife including seeing for the first time wild boar, a magnificent stork, a king vulture, some large crocodile capable of catching and eating tiger cubs, and a spoonbill named very appropriately. We proceeded to the territory of Machali, the fierce tigress made famous in the BBC documentary, "The Lady of the Lakes". The tiger that we saw yesterday was Machali and Nick's son. Females require about 15 sq km while males need 3-4 times more so a minimum of 40 sq km. There are between 40-50 tigers in Ranthambore. The park can only accommodate 50 tigers. Three young tigers have been relocated to another sanctuary where poachers had killed all the tigers. Now enough trivia… on to our sighting-we found Machali!! She was relaxing on a rock ledge near a small pond. She is lovely. She was born in March or April of 1997 and has only one canine left. If she loses the other she will no longer be able to hunt and she will die. Her tongue was hanging out to help her body stay cool through perspiration. It has been in triple digits but no one will actually give the temperature to us. They just say, "It's hot." Guess we tourists can be too dramatic! Her daughter kicked her mother out of her territory that she held as a young and strong tigress. We watched her as long as we could as breakfast was being served to us at 10 am at our hotel. The ride in the canter on the bumpy dirt tracks makes waiting for breakfast a wise decision. On the way out of the jungle we saw some blue bull antelopes. They are very interesting looking with the body and size of a horse and the head of a dog.
After eating we got on the bus and went to a village bordering the park to visit the Dastkar (handmade) Ranthambore Project. This particular project trains women to become self-sufficient artists running their own co-op. Many of these families were displaced when Ranthambore became a sanctuary for tigers. When they lived in the jungle the family would cut down trees for firewood to sale. The handwork was lovely and we could watch the women stitching in the shade of a neem tree while their children played around them. We retuned to the hotel for lunch. The meals are served buffet-style and have been delicious. After lunch we visited another old lady-the resident elephant of the hotel. Her name is Pavankali and she is 80 years old. She has been at the hotel since she was 50 and retired. I fed her some sugar cane which she seemed to enjoy immensely. She is a beauty too! David and I had a swim but mainly watched the birds hanging out in the trees by the pool. The canaries are the ones we are used to seeing in cages. We have a 5:30 wakeup-OMG! We catch a train at 7 am.
I like knowing you are out there in the ether - sorry I can't answer you but Dalton has been sending on your comments. Things got a bit complicated with the blog but we've figured out a way to work around the problems. Thanks, Dalton!
Till tomorrow - Namaste!