A Family RTW Travel Adventure (2008-2009)
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On The Search for Tigers


“Just this morning sir, one of our guides spotted a tiger, over there.”  Our driver with an unpronounceable name was pointing towards a rock outcropping in a dried out gully.

We stared at the rocks for what seemed like 15 minutes, as though doing so would bring the tiger back.  But no such luck.  Finally we moved on, four-wheeling along ridge lines, across gullies, through a deciduous forest punctuated with the occasional growth of bamboo.

We were on the search for tigers in the Sariska Tiger Reserve.

After about an hour, I asked our guide: “So how many tigers are there in the sanctuary?”

“Three, sir.”

“Three?”  Hmm, I probably should have asked that question before we added Sariska to the itinerary.  “And how big is the sanctuary?”

“Eight hundred square kilometers, sir.”

I’m no mathematician, but by my rough calculation, three tigers lived in an area that was about 300 square miles.  Talk about your needle in a haystack.

“Why so few tigers?” I asked.

“We are fortunate to have any at all,” our guide said.  “Forty, fifty years ago, there were many tigers here. But poachers.”  He shook his head.  “From 2002 till the summer of 2008, there were no tigers here at all.  Then the government gave us a tiger couple, and already they have a cub.”

He added: “But this is a big sanctuary, and the poachers have not left India.  Who knows how long we will have them.”


We stopped at one of the sanctuary’s watering holes to watch deer, hyenas and dozen different species of birds stop by for an afternoon drink.  There was a lot of activity, but no tigers.

Later, back at the Sariska Fort View Camp, we took in the view and laughed about the odds of actually seeing a tiger in Sariska.

Vishnu pulled me aside: “Sir, to actually see tigers, you must go to Ranthambore.  It is very good.”

“Yes, Vinshu, I understand.  But if we went to Ranthambore, we wouldn’t have all this…”





More pictures from Sariska are here.


1 victoria { 05.22.09 at 7:00 am }

We visited sariska about 10yrs ago, not really expecting to see tigers as we knew there weren’t many, but the day we arrived they’d seen four, so we got really excited. Needless to say, by the following day they were hiding again! We still had a great time – glad you guys did too

2 nomadicmatt { 05.22.09 at 8:04 am }

so where in the world are you all?

3 Dawn { 05.22.09 at 9:43 am }

We went to Ranthambore, no tigers, but lots of other animals. Its just luck….

4 Doug Spiro { 05.22.09 at 1:22 pm }

The next time you are in the Sariska Tiger Reserve look for the Bear caught in the Honey tree and there should be a tiger there helping him get un-stuck. Maybe it was a rabbit ..I get them confused

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