Subdued, our emotions were waning having seen a tigress’ paw concealed beneath the bush. The jam created by all the Gypsies at the spot with its passengers barking over just to get her glimpse made our time of thrill momentary. Returning, as the park was about to close, consoling ourselves to have seen a tiger in the one off safari which itself is lucky, deep within the joy was missing. “Reverse! Look out there” yelled the guide and all of us turned to find what had missed our eyes.
His big beady eyes with his horrendous look greeted us followed by a lazy yawn which we were gaping at. He sprang up, descended from the vantage to cross the road, staring at us with intimidation and growled, questioning our business in its path. With throbbing hearts, the cameras started firing and soon other Gypsies traced us and him, of course.
And now our joy knew no bounds. Of the 2,226 tigers recorded in the previous year’s tiger census across India, we had spotted two in quick succession at the Jim Corbett National Park. The 30% rise in their numbers is visible, or so we thought. For is this the bigger picture? If we really fantasize the phrase “umbrella species”, who and what does this umbrella provides shelter to?