Monsoon is undoubtedly the best time to experience a moist/dry deciduous forest. Though it may not be the best time for sighting big cats, it is ‘the’ time for one to get an essence of how the forest opens arms wide open welcoming rains after a harsh taxing summer.
This monsoon especially has been very good in the region, and there was no way I was missing a chance to visit ‘Namma Kabini’ (Nagarhole National Park) in Southern India. After an hour long journey through the game drive, we encountered this beautiful female cub on a tree.
Leopards are expert tree climbers and are known to carry their kill (many times heavier than their own weight) to safeguard it from competition. This young lady who may be just an year old, showcased all the skill she has acquired through the genes. She was alert, elusive, effortless and cosy on her ‘tree bed’. In spite of we being at quite a distance, it appeared as if she was looking straight at us more often than not.
What you see in the image is a typical Kabini leopard habitat shot. It may not be one of the sharpest or best composed shots, however the very experience of Kabini forest in monsoon and how this marble eyed cub appeared, looked around with all inquisitiveness and slumbered in her forest castle, will stay with me for a long time.
Later, the naturalist in our safari jeep was speculating, this cub was indeed an offspring of the famous leopard in this region nicknamed ’Marble’ eyed. No wonder her eyes were an exact replica of her mother’s, true to that name.