The Nagarahole Forest (Kabini), Karnataka has always had a special place in my heart. The forest is deciduous type, part of the Nilgiri Biosphere and has a healthy population of mammals & birds. Photographing tigers & leopards are the focus for many when at Kabini, but you will also find elephants, sloth bear, wild boars, Dhole (Wild Dog), Spotted & Sambar deer, the lesser seen barking deer and Gaur- the largest cattle in South Asia.
But the highlight of my most recent trip last month to Kabini was undoubtedly the Black Panther (Melanistic Leopard). Although there are a decent number of them in the forest itself, it was rare to spot as they weren’t seen often in the safari zones. The Black Panther (or Blackie as they call him!) had recently decided to pursue a young female who was around one of the safari zone areas, earning himself a reputation as a camera-shy celebrity over the last few months! Photographers were beelining to Kabini for a glimpse of this mysterious creature!
We were lucky to see him on our trip earlier this year- the moment will be etched in my memory forever- His black, shiny coat glistening against the light of the setting sun as he sprinted across the forest behind his lady love- The Phantom of the Jungle is here to stay!