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A lean and gentle bull elephant that we came across at Nagarhole Tiger Reserve in August this year. He was strangely (possibly by pure coincidence) with a herd of female and young elephants. Walked up gently towards us before turning and ambling down the forest track. Blissful and blessed!
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The Dark Knight! A Crested Hawk Eagle surveys the forests of Nagarhole Tiger Reserve (on the banks of the Kabini Reservoir), possibly looking for its next meal.

It was a cloudy evening drive, with very little activity in the forest. Suddenly, we saw another eagle (a Crested Serpent Eagle) dive down from a tree, pick up a snake and perch next to the safari track. As we were taking in what had just happened, this one materialized out of nowhere to chase away the smaller eagle (which also dropped its prey in the confusion).

Photographed at Nagarhole Tiger Reserve (on the banks of the Kabini Reservoir) in August 2016
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Curious cub. The safari track at Bandipur Tiger Reserve (Karnataka) was filled with water due to the recent rains. As we drove through the forest, two black figures emerged from the undergrowth and walked towards our path. Turned out to be an incredible sight of a Sloth Bear mother and cub out in the open!

Sloth Bear sightings are not common in the forests of Bandipur - they are nocturnal animals that prefer the darkness of the night. And this is one animal that you need to be careful of in the forest. With claws a few inches long, it doesn't take more than a swipe to cause serious injury.
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A Lesser Adjutant at Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve. These large storks are amongst the largest birds in the country. They are very distinctive looking, along with their slightly bigger cousin - Greater Adjutant, with the almost "bald" head and greyish-blue wings. Normally found around water bodies where they feed on a variety of small prey, they also scavenge for food.

Large birds like this need large trees to support their nests. There's another two-legged species that also competes for large trees - the human. And that leads to a declining trend in the populations of these birds, making them a Vulnerable species according to IUCN.
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Chilling out :)

One December evening in Gir National Park, we came across 2 sub-adult lions that were getting out of their morning slumber into activity mode. As we were focused on those two, for some reason we turned around to find this one sitting calmly on the other side of the safari track. He seemed to be amused that we had finally noticed him.
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An endangered Dhole (or Indian Wild Dog) stops for a second, before going ahead on its expedition. These predators hunt in packs (upto 40 individuals have been recorded).

They bring down prey, that includes sambar and chital, many times their own size and start feeding on it even before it has breathed its last. This behavior was described as gruesome, leading to widespread decimation of this "evil" species (long classified as vermin). It is now a protected species, though fewer than 2500 of these beautiful mammals now roam the last wildernesses in the Indian subcontinent and South-east Asia.
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Stealth is the leopard's ally. With its spotted coat, it blends very easily into the green undergrowth in the wet season and the dry brown colours of the dry season in the forest. It tries to get as close to its prey as possible without getting noticed, before it launches its final assault.

Our forests, unfortunately today, are being taken over by non-native invasive weeds, like Parthenium hysterophorus (all the plants in the foreground here) and Lantana camara. They compete with the native species for nutrition as well as real estate, thereby reducing a forest's capability to regenerate.
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The National Bird showing off its rich colours!

We were waiting at this water hole expecting a tigress that was headed that way. The place was abuzz with activity, from birds like Red Junglefowls, Black-naped Monarch Flycatchers, Rufous Treepies and the beautiful Asian Paradise Flycatchers, to mammals like a confident Ruddy Mongoose coming down for a few sips. This Peafowl made a few forays to the waterhole. This head-on approach made an interesting perspective.
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This male tiger kept us enthralled one entire morning at Nagarhole National Park (on the banks of the Kabini reservoir). As he walked around the forest, he was grunting softly, possibly calling out to a courting female. From time to time, he would stop and mark his scent on trees to announce that it was his territory.
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An alert Crested Hawk Eagle on the lookout for breakfast. These forest eagles blend well into their surroundings and can be hard to spot.
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