Wildlife not guaranteed

By Marilyn Armel
This item appears on page 55 of the January 2013 issue.

I read the subscriber’s article “Searching for Wildlife in Three of India’s Top Tiger Reserves” (Aug. ’12, pg. 44), in which the writer described his disappointment. About four years ago I went to the same parks in India but in reverse order, although, except in Kaziranga, I stayed in different camps. I saw seven different tigers, one for 20 minutes as he walked ahead of and behind us.

Outside of a place like the Tiger Kingdom in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where the animals are in enclosures, it is dumb luck to see a tiger anywhere. It’s not like Chief’s Island in Botswana where the lions are all around and would be hard to miss. To have the best opportunity to see the animals, you go out early in the dark predawn while they are still hunting and before they rest.

In India, the route system in the parks helps prevent a traffic jam if an animal appears. Jeeps from all over don’t rush over, spoiling the view for all, which can happen in African parks.

We weren’t able to ride an elephant in Bandhavgarh National Park (the females had just given birth) nor in Kanha (the official in charge said “No rides” and had everyone including the mahouts upset), but in Kaziranga we went out both mornings for 45-minute rides and saw a huge herd of elephants plus lots of other wildlife.

And I am not a birder, but I felt the variety of birds in India was wonderful to see.

All being said, in general I did not like India for many reasons, but I went to see the animals and did, so I was satisfied.

New York, NY