by Lallianpuii Kawlni & Sanath Krishna Muliya
The day started as we gathered at the Palace porch to head into Sariska Tiger Reserve where we would be learning how to deploy camera traps. The park jeeps were already stationed there to pick us up, like faithful chariots eager to take on a battle. And there we were, two old friends just as excited as we were on our first safari as Wildlife Science Master’s students 10 years back in Nagarhole Tiger Reserve. When we reached the site of cam trap deployment, our class was met by Dr Pandav and Dr Habib, two pioneers working for wildlife conservation across India. They made us aware of the basics in setting up camera traps for wildlife monitoring. “ST2 has been prowling 200 meters behind Palace premises,” Hemant sir, Deputy Director of the Park hinted. A tigress right behind the place we are staying? We couldn’t hold our excitement. Dr Pandav then instructed us to set up our camera traps there to try our luck in photographing her. After lunch, the class was divided into two groups to carry out radio telemetry exercise inside the core tiger country. Two radio collars were randomly hidden in the vegetation and both groups were asked to locate the collars based on VHF technology. Our team really stepped it up and Yay! We won! And what better way to end your day than sighting a leopard in the pristine forest of Sariska, yes! On our way back, we did see a leopard in its prime unwinding after a day of prowling his territory. A day well spent. Our chariots did us justice indeed.