There’s a thing about leopards. They are the stealthiest creatures I know. While stalking one in a jeep, on one of my early wildlife experiences, I’d lost track of it after passing through a defile in a ridge. Backtracking to the defile, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up as I realized from its pug marks that it had slipped into hiding as we passed, and it was now tracking us. Wild looks around yielded no results. Much later we saw it sitting on a rock under a tree high up on the ridge, still keeping an eye on us. So, if you are interested in wildlife, you’ll cherish even the smallest sighting of a leopard.

One evening in Bera, we sat in a jeep below a rock, watching a sleepy female sit on top of it. Not a spectacular view, you say? Maybe not, but majestic. It yawned and put its head down. Then it sat up and looked around, its gaze snagging briefly on our jeep. It put its head down again. Then, like an old man waiting for a morning cuppa tea, it sat on its haunches and dozed. I wish I knew more about the way these animals spend their days. They don’t need to eat as often as us, nor do they need water as frequently. They disappear into their caves during the day, probably to sleep. Human and leopard periods of activity intersect at dusk and dawn, when both are slightly tired, slightly sleepy. I was happy to sit and watch.

By I. J. Khanewala

I travel on work. When that gets too tiring then I relax by travelling for holidays. The holidays are pretty hectic, so I need to unwind by getting back home. But that means work.


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