Just a few days ago, I went for the first time to the Periyar Tiger Reserve in Thekkady, which is one of the most important national parks in Kerala. For sure, luck was going our way! We saw so many things: different monkeys, awesome birds, multicolored frogs … but the most amazing and unexpected meeting in this dense forest was one with an animal that I would never have imagined seeing: a leopard! Even if it was obviously fleeting in one sense, it was also a timeless moment that I will remember. None of us had time to take a picture of the animal, which is why I’m using a photo by Sudhir Shivaram taken in Barnawarpara Wildlife Sanctuary in Chhattisgarh. The photo is also much closer than the scene that we experienced, where the leopard was fifty meters in front of us.
Sudhir’s quote below is a good way to show how fast it was and how lucky we are to have looked at the right time in the right place.
I keep saying – In Wildlife Photography you get 0-3 seconds to make your image, otherwise you have missed the opportunity. That’s exactly what happened to me in this case. This was at the beautiful pristine forest of Barnawarpara Wildlife Sanctuary in Chhattisgarh. This forest has a very high density of Leopards. I was driving in search of them and suddenly just beside the safari track this beautiful Leopard was sitting on the tree. I froze for those 3 seconds at this unbelievable scene….so close, one of my best Leopard sightings. I then realised and by the time I lifted my camera to shoot, it jumped off the tree. This is all I could get. During my next visit, I came across 8 different Leopards in the same safari, but could not photograph them.
I am thankful for this moment since many of those who have visited the reserve numerous times have not (yet) had the luck to meet such an animal — even our guide was surprised! That is also why I will for sure take another trek inside the Periyar Tiger Reserve, because every experience there is special and unique. And who knows, maybe I’ll see tigers next.