Where to see tigers in India and best time of year
Where to see tigers in India and best time of year to visit
We fell in love with this magnifcent big cat when we glimpsed our first way back in 1997 on a tiger safari in Ranthambhore national park. No India wildlife tour would be fully complete without at least one sightings of this powerful feline, which dominates the jungles of India. So below is some key information about the best time of year to see tigers and which national parks and tiger sanctuaries will give you the best chance to photograph them.
Where to find tigers in India?
Wild tigers once roamed throughout India; from the frozen slopes of the Himalaya's, to the mangrove forests of the Sunderbans, to the more arid western states of Gujurat and Rajasthan, all the way south to the dense jungles of the Western Ghats. No other cat from the 36 recorded species has achieved such a diverse range of Indian habitats, or being able to cope with temperarture extremes from minus 30 to plus 50 celsius. As an overview their visibility is currently better in the more open decidious forest of northern India; particurlarly in the states if Madhya Pradesh, Maharatra and Rajasthan.
Best national park in India for tigers?
I know many of our clients want a definite answer on this and some regular visitors to India - due to their own personal success in a particular tiger sanctuary - will be adamant it is Bandhavgarh, Kanha or Ranthambhore; depending on our many tigers they saw there or the quality of the encounter. Unfortunately, the tiger parks in India are much more 'fluid' than that - heavy poaching during the monsoon when there are no visitors, new and unworkable park regulations and poorly controlled tourism in the most well known parks, are all factors which affect your tiger safari experience in India and you must contact regular visitors to India, such as Wildlife Trails, to discuss the current situation. As a rough overview, the three parks I have already mentioned have overall been the most consistent locations to see wild tigers over the last 15-20; but parks such as Tadoba, Pench and Corbett are also now firmly established as good tiger reserves to visit during your India wildlife tour.
Best time of year to see tigers in India?
For wildlife photographers, film makers and 'tiger centric' wildlife enthusiasts, we would suggest visiting India in the summer months to see tigers. From April to the end of June the heat increases to the 40's celsius and the few remaining water holes are like magnets for tigers and tiger pret alike. If you are lucky you may photograph a tiger kill in the summer or watch a magnificent tigress make sure her growing cubs have regular access to water.
What do tigers eat?
Different tigers in India's many tiger sanctuaries have certain preferences for their food, however we can certainly say that many of them are well adapted to hunt the most common deer species in the country, which are spotted deer (chital) and Sambar deer. Some of the national parks in central India such as Kanha and Pench have large populations of Indian Bison (Gaur) and the tiger populations in these parks have become very skilled at taking down a gaur; if this is an adult, it will last a tiger for at least 1 weeks. Tigers in the north east national parks such as Kaziranga and Manas sometimes work together to attack and pull down huge Indian Buffalo, which seems almost unbelievable and a clear indication of their immense power.
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