LEOPARD HILLS OF BERA

There are only a handful of places in the whole world where the sighting of a Cat as elusive as a Leopard is a near certainty. At the first glance, the unassuming rocky hillocks in southern fringes of Rajasthan look the least like a wildlife sanctuary, leave alone giving a promise of Leopard sightings. As I traveled to this place and started scratching beyond the surface, things started becoming more evident about Bera.

For a seasoned safari-goer in wildlife parks, the first thing that strikes about Bera is that there are no typical jeep safaris. Yes, jeeps and cars are used, but only to transport you to the point of the sighting. The Leopards find their abodes in hillocks like the below, and typically you would sit on an opposite hillock to photograph them

                              bera setup

                                                                                Bera setup

The Leopards typically sleep inside the hillocks in the day and go out to hunt or change places in the night. Early mornings and late evenings are the best times when they come out in the open to give darshan to souls like us who keep waiting for them. The hunts typically include stray dogs and local cattle sometimes. One very interesting thing about Bera is that the peaceful co-existence of man and animal for the last many decades. There has not been a single case of a Leopard killing human or locals killing Leopard in the last many years, which is remarkable considering that the habitats of Leopards and humans are interspersed with each other. The hillocks are adjoining several small villages with the human population and the Leopards even go to these villages to pick up Dogs etc, but have never attacked any human. There are multiple sighting points of Leopards discovered by the localities spread across an area of over 400 Sq Km. These are some of my remarkable Leopard moments at Bera.

                             Leopard Cubs running against light

                                                                                Leopard Cubs running against light

                             Male Leopard

                             Growling Leopard

                                                                                angry young leopard

                             Leopard with Cubs. How many do you see? 2?.There are 3

                                                            Leopard with Cubs. How many do you see? 2?.There are 3

Once you are done with your Leopards, this place boasts of a beautiful bird life also along the banks of Jawai Lake. Here are some of my encounters. Flamingos and other water birds are a regular feature of the lake. There have been recent reports of some rarities like Sociable Lapwing in this region.

                             Flamingos are a regular feature at Jawai

                                                                                Flamingos are a regular feature at Jawai

                             Paddy field Pipit with kill

                                                                                Paddy field Pipit with a kill

                             Little ring Plover

                                                                                Little ring Plover

                             small prantincole

                                                                                small prantincole

 


alankar chandra
ALANKAR CHANDRAAlankar is a passionate traveller and one of the leading natural history photographers in India. His passion has taken him to remote wilderness destinations of India, East Africa, Sri Lanka and Iceland. His imagery and travel memoirs have earned him a following in social media and publication houses. He is also a management graduate from IIM Ahmedabad and has previously held senior leadership positions in corporates. He is the co-founder of Wild Voyager.

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