A day in lion safari

I went to tyavarekoppa lion and tiger safari on 4th april 2012. On that particular day there was a holiday and I decided to spend that day in between mother nature. So i decided to visit lion safari in tavarekoppa, which is just 12 km from shimoga town.

On the morning of April 4, I thought of two ideas to enjoy the holiday. First one was to go to my native place and spend time with my family, and the second one was to go to Tavarekoppa lion and tiger safari. Finally, I decided to go to Tavarekoppa. I searched in internet and learnt that it will be opened at 10 a.m. in the morning. So I decided to be there before that time. I started from Kadar at 7:30 a.m. but I had or wait for more than twenty minutes for the bus. Then I got a car and went up to Tarikere in car and then from there got the bus and reached Shimoga.
In Tavarekoppa, as soon as I entered the premises, I was welcomed by a common languor. I was very happy to see that, because it was for the first time in my life that I was seeing that beautiful monkey. I took my camera to take its photograph, but being shy in nature, it bounded into the nearby bushes. They usually live in dense jungles. So, unless the common monkeys we find everywhere in our surroundings, they try to avoid human beings as much as possible. Then I went inside the zoo and was welcomed by a large number of common monkeys that we find all over in our surroundings. These monkeys are so bold that they often snatch food and other items from the hands of those who visit the place.
Then I went near the enclosure containing panthers. These are the most curious and nimblest creatures of the cat family. Even though panthers are smaller than tigers, this small size itself gives it a lot of advantages over his 'big brothers' i.e. tigers and lions. They can easily climb trees with a full grown chital (spotted deer) in their mouth, but no tiger or lion can do it. This is to eat the food in secluded place, without the competition of other carnivores which can drive away them from their food, like wild dogs, tigers or hyenas.
I tried to count the panthers there, but I could not. They were all so quick that they kept jumping and walking here and there. Twice or thrice I tried to count them, but failed. Then the guide told that there are 14 leopards. I took some beautiful pictures of these beautiful and equally agile cats as they kept jumping from here and there busily. There were a couple of foreigners, who were looking at them as if they belonged to some other world. I think they were either from Europe or Australia, as they kept exclaiming 'wonderful!' 'Awesome!' 'I had never seen a leopard in my life before' etc. were they from any Asian country or African country, they must have seen leopards, at least in some zoos.
The very next enclosure consisted of sloth bears. They are perhaps one of the noisiest creatures of our jungles. There were two sloth bears in the enclosure. They were making a lot of noise, including grunting and snarling. The foreigners were giving them banana chips etc. for me; these animals do not hold as much awe as the big cats hold. So I didn't stop near their enclosure for long. I continued towards the next cage containing hyenas.
Hyenas also belong to the order carnivore. They look like dogs, but their family is different. Dogs belong to the family candidate, whereas hyenas belong to the family hyaenidae. They are mostly scavengers, seeking leftovers from a tiger or lion kill. Their peculiar shape which gives them the appearance of humpback due to their relatively long forelegs compared to their hind legs and their eerie calls has given them an image of bad omen, but there is nothing wrong with them. As far as human beings are concerned, they are perfectly harmless animals.
The next cage consisted of Indian foxes. They are also very shy creatures. In villages, they are cursed heavily by the people because they are very much destructive to the poultry. These two foxes were perfectly shy creatures as I observed them. I took some photographs of them, but my interest was primarily on lion safari. I was waiting for that. The guide there told that after a considerable number of people gathered, they will take us to safari.
Then I went to the area where there were bird cages. There were three emus. Then I saw peacocks, white pheasants, lovebirds, geese, night herons and many other birds there. One enclosure had a number of birds belonging to the parrot family. Definitely one of them was lovebird, but I don't know the names of the other birds which were there. As I was looking at these birds, one was getting ready for taking people for safari. So I went towards that van.
As soon as we entered into the safari area, we were welcomed by a magnificent spectacle. There was a large, robust tiger which was lying down near the gate itself. I saw the tiger lying not more than at a distance of ten feet from me. It was the perfect scene that I was eager to watch there. Seeing the van, the tiger once opened its terrific jaws and yawned leisurely, showing those spectacular teeth. The guide told that it was just two and a half year old and it was undoubtedly worthy of the label 'the king of jungle'. It placed it's those huge forepaws on the tree trunk and yawned again and again, providing a sumptuous feast to the cameras that were brought by the people there. Even though the van moved from there, my mind was left with the tiger.
After a few meters of travel, we saw a tigress, which the guide told the mother of the previous tiger we had seen. This tigress was at a distance of some fifty feet or even more from our van. So the intervening trees disturbed its view. So I couldn't take its photographs clearly.
After tiger safari, we were taken to the lion safari. There was a full grown lion, a lioness and one female cub. They were kept in the cage. The guide told that since they were new to that environment, they were kept enclosed, so that they could get adjusted to the new environment.
After that, we were taken to the herbivorous safari. There were sambars, chital and black bucks in herbivore safari. All those animals are familiar to me as I had seen them in the pilikula zoo many times. I had seen the lions and tigers also there no doubt, but they were kept in closed surroundings there and one had to watch them from a considerable distance. There was no safari. But I had seen the herbivores at a quite close range there.
After walking through the zoo once again, I left Tavarekoppa at 1 p.m. but my mind was totally lost in the kingdom of lions and tigers. That magnificent tiger that I had seen near the gate there still haunts me again. After all, he is the king of the jungle and he visits the minds of his subjects quite frequently, probably with the intention of asking them about their problems. (I think myself as a jungle creature for my unusual love for forest and wildlife!). Long may live the king of our jungles, who is also the national animal of India!


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