Bye for now (Wilpattu, May 2018)
We spent two days inside the Wilpattu national park without a proper leopard sighting, and we were not happy. We had to leave that day, so we packed and started heading back with heavy hearts.
Half way to the park exit, we suddenly saw a black spot, that looked like an animal sitting on the path of our vehicle. We stopped, and the thing started coming towards us, and we immediately knew what it was. It was a leopard, a timely reward for our frustrations for the past three days.
The young leopard cub walked towards our vehicle and our cameras were able to capture its playful walk, curious looks and grooming. We all felt that the leopard came to say good bye to us, so we could leave the park on a happy note.
Gemunu (Yala, May 2018)
On one evening inside the Yala national park, we ran in to a mini traffic jam, where all the safari vehicles were stopped. We were told it was because of “Gemunu”, the lone tusker who was notorious for demanding food from passing vehicles.
We had seen Gemunu in our previous visits to Yala. Our safari driver told us that a few months earlier, he had gotten in to a fight with another elephant and had lost one of his tusks. While we were watching Gemunu feeding himself from the tree branches, all of a sudden, he started coming towards our vehicle and we sped off. He chased us for a small distance, gave it up and went to another vehicle looking for food.
Tipsy Bear (Yala, May 2018)
One morning inside the Yala national park, we came across a sloth bear on a palu (Manilkara hexandra) tree. It spent a good amount of time pulling branches and snacking on juicy yellow palu fruits. They say when you eat excessive amount of these fruit, it gives you an intoxicating effect. We believe this bear got ‘tipsy’ after eating palu, as it climbed down the tree and came towards us. It walked quite a distance in between safari vehicles, and finally went inside the jungle.
Cattle thief’s evening nap (Yala, April 2018)
During one of our afternoon excursions in the Yala park, we stumbled upon this huge leopard known to safari drivers as “Harak Hora”, the cattle thief. The leopard tried to creep inside a culvert but changed his mind and went in to the jungle.
The same evening, when we were returning to our park bungalow, we saw Harak Hora having his evening nap on top of a sunny rock boulder. We waited impatiently until he woke up but it took a great deal of time for him even to look at our direction. Most likely he had had a good meal that day and had no interest whatsoever on us. We noticed the cuts and bruises on his face, that could have been results of the many fights he would have had.
Gaze (Yala, June 2014)
While driving along the tracks of the Yala national park in the evening, we came across this young leopard cub perched on a tree branch that gave us the opportunity to take many photographs.
Later only we realized that in this photo, no matter from which angle one looked, you simply cannot escape its gaze.