Nilgiri Biosphere, India


 This month’s photography comes from photojournalist D.K. Bhaskar.

Covering an area of 5500 sq. km. in the states of Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu, India’s Nilgiri Biosphere begins in the Nagarhole National Park of Karnataka and the adjoining Wayanad sanctuary of Kerala. The moist deciduous forests and teak plantations harbor abundant populations of gaur, spotted deer, sambar, and wild pig which support a sizeable number of carnivores such as tiger, leopard, and wild dog. The forests of neighboring Bandipur National Park and Mudumalai Tiger Reserve complete the quartet of sanctuaries famed as a prime habitat for Asian Elephants. 

photo © D.K. Bhaskar of DewWorks

During a monsoon time trip to Bandipur and Wayanad, a friend and I left our jeep and waited by a water hole for nearly four hours without a sighting of even the common spotted deer. It was a disappointing morning. As we prepared to pack up and leave, a small herd of elephants walked right next to the bushes where we were sitting. On hindsight, it was a dangerous situation and we were lucky to escape unharmed. Why they chose to walk next to us is still a mystery.

However, when they entered the water we had a beautiful view of the young calf learning to drink. Young calves learn from their aunts, uncles, cousins and nephews, imitating everything the sub-adults and adults do. I love this picture for its simplicity, animal behavior, the majesty of the elephants, and the environment. Just a few minutes after the elephants left, we heard the alarm calls of a bonnet macaque and were pretty sure a predator was around. Tiger? Leopard? We never saw what was hidden in the nearby forest.

 

Professional photojournalists D.K. Bhaskar and Eric Lindberg lead cultural and nature photo tours to India. Their next trip will be a unique journey across South India. For more information visit: www.HolbrookTravel.com

 

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