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India wildlife holiday – Pench national park – the tiger reserve the BBC made famous!


India wildlife holiday – Pench national park – the tiger reserve the BBC made famous!

Back in 2008 Pench national park was relatively unknown to safari enthusiasts around the world and only a steady trickle of visitors visited this tiger sanctuary located in the state of Madhya Pradesh as part of their India wildlife holiday – all that was about the change; with a stunning, ground breaking wildlife documentary from the BBC. Filmed over a period of 3 years, using cutting edge technology – especially the use of remote cameras carried by the trained park elephants – to provide some of the most intimate video of wild tigers ever taken. The fact that their main focus was a beautiful tigress with 4 tiny cubs, made it even more special.

Tiger – Spy in the Jungle – a revolution in wildlife filming.

This wildlife documentary shown on BBC1 and filmed exclusively in Pench national park was to showcase new filming technology that was to become mainstream in just a few years. The idea of inserting video cameras in natural objects, such a trunks of trees or boulders, which could then be left within the territory of a tigress and its curious cubs was ground breaking and incredibly successful. By definition, the presence of human filmmakers in jeeps (or even on elephant back) will affect the behaviour of wild tigers and potentially loose the ability to film those rare and intimate moments between a female tiger and her offspring. So, by using specially trained park elephants to place these ‘log cams’ into wild tiger habitat and controlling the filming remotely, the filmmakers were able to obtain some of the most magical and intimate tiger behaviour ever recorded.

Tiger -Spy in the Jungle – the story of a mother and her four cubs

Everyone is always excited when we hear about new cubs being born in India’s national parks and few of us will ever witness a female with very small cubs in the wild, as she will keep them hidden until they are of a size better able to deal with the dangers of the Indian Jungle. So, to have a 3 year filming project, which follows cubs from an age of just 10 days to adulthood was unprecedented and provided not only moving images, but important scientific information about the challenges a ‘first time’ mother faces bringing such a large family into the world.

The first program focuses on the protective element of a loving mother and how she seeks to keep her tiny cubs safe. It also looks at the role of the father ‘Charger’; who although not directly involved in providing for the cubs, stops other male tigers coming into their territory and threatening their existence. The film also looks at other threats to the tiger cubs and in particular the other big cat found in Pench national park – the Indian Leopard.

The second episode of Tiger – Spy in the Jungle shows us that all 4 cubs have survived; 2 females and 2 males and they are using vigorous, sometimes violent play to hone their hunting skills in the jungle of Madhya Pradesh. They show the massive importance of water for all the animals of Pench tiger reserve, including Wild Boar, Langurs, Leopard and tigers. A female tigress will always have multiple water bodies in her immediate territory to ensure the health of her family.

The final episode brings us cubs no longer playful or solely dependent on mum but looking to find their own ‘space’ in the shrinking world of India’s national parks. This is an emotional and isolating period for their cubs, as their mum goes from provider and protector to grumpy adult; keen to push them out of her territory and start the cycle all over again.

Pench national park – how to get the best tiger safari experience!

Pench tiger reserve has always been a favourite of ours and we have been lucky enough to visit the sanctuary multiple times. However, the fame the BBC wildlife documentary brought to Pench was not all positive. Unregulated building of wildlife lodges and hotels caused problems with crowding and since it is only 1 hour away from a major city in India (Nagpur); you can expect significant crowds during the weekend and major holidays. This is the reasons here at Wildlife Trails we plan our safaris meticulously for our clients to ensure the best possible India wildlife tour. As well as avoiding these busier periods, we can also send our clients to different entrance gates where far fewer vehicles are permitted; this ensuring the best possible India tiger safari at Pench.

Pench national park – when is the best time to visit for my India tiger safari?

Pench tiger reserve is famous for its large meadows; where, it you are lucky, you can watch a tiger stalking large herds of spotted deer. The grass in these areas will be long and green in the autumn; but as the heat arrived in March/April, it will die back and make seeing tigers all the easier. However, for visitors with a more general interest in wildlife and birding; we would recommend visiting between November and February, when both resident and migratory birds are present in Pench national park.

How to reach Pench national park?

Out of all the major tiger reserves in India, this beautiful sanctuary is the easiest to visit, as it is just over a 1 hour drive from the busy city of Nagpur. Both Delhi and Mumbai have multiple airlines which fly this route and with good timing, you can depart in the morning and be enjoying a tiger safari in Pench by the afternoon. If you to want to explore the magic of Pench and see the ancestors of the famous female with 4 cubs, then why not book our India wildlife holiday to Pench tiger reserve.

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