August 1, 2011

Modern India - Bannerghatta National Park

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Gets your attention, doesn’t it?  If this is what you saw in real life, it could be the last thing you saw…..Fortunately, I saw it while riding a bus through the Bannerghatta National Park Wildlife Safari, near to Bangalore, India.  (All of the pictures enlarge if you click on them.)
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After arriving at the Park, procuring a ticket, waiting in a queue to have my ticket inspected, waiting in another queue, and boarding the bus, I took one of the remaining available seats, towards the back.  I was the only non-Indian on the bus.  There was a certain amount of gesticulation and discussion, then I was waved forward with cries of “single seat, Madam, single seat!” to the front of the bus and a prime spot looking out of the windshield.  This type of preferential treatment used to bother me, years ago when I was new to India, but I have since learned to selectively accept it.  When immersed in a foreign culture it is my responsibility to be polite, friendly, respectful, and not act like an idiot.  It is not my job to challenge the status quo at every instance, despite my egalitarian leanings.
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One of the advantages of the “single seat” was that when the wildlife was located on the opposite side of the bus, the driver would gesture for my camera, lean out of the window, and take pictures for me.  He was quite good at it.  He captured the crocodile sunning on a rock, above, the water lilies, below, and many of the other pictures that follow.  Again, I just handed over my camera and went with the flow.  Everyone was happy.
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It was a good photo safari.  The infrastructure of the park was a rather faded in spots, but the animals without exception seemed healthy, happy, and very well cared for.  They tended to gather at what appeared to be feeding stations, conveniently located for photo ops, which makes perfect sense.  That’s what drew these spotted deer to this clearing:
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Here are some bison:
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More deer--obviously not spotted, but I’m not certain of their classification:
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The elephants were not wild, as they were being bathed by attendants, but charming and picturesque nonetheless:
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Next up were the sloth bears, who sport impressive claws for digging up termite mounds, and protruding lips for vacuuming up the termites.  They are an endangered species, due to habitat loss, and the Park has a breeding program for them.  They were living up to the “sloth” part of their name by napping in the road, and were loath to get up and amble off:
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We left the herbivore section and passed through security gates to various carnivore habitats.  We were lucky to spot quite a few lions:
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Including this pair who were stalking each other:
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They were obviously just playing--anyone with housecats will find these postures very familiar:
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I wish I could convey to you just how LARGE a tiger is.  It is very startling to see one materialize out of the underbrush:
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My gardening friends will observe that there is a lot of orange flowered lantana growing wild here, if you can take your eyes off of the tiger:
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This is how close he came to the bus, although he was not the least bit aggressive:
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The park also has a colony of rare white tigers:
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After the safari, I took a quick tour of the zoo.  In general I find zoos a bit depressing, and this one was no exception, but again, the animals appeared to my inexpert eyes to be fed and cared for.  Here was a truck delivering freshly cut fodder to the hippos:
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There were some free-range monkeys:
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Another good day and culturally interesting experience.  I am having an excellent Indian adventure. 
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1 comment:

Pamela Price Klebaum said...

Sue, these photos are astounding, and I thank you for taking the time to share them. It makes me a little nervous how in-focus your pictures are of some of those cats!