An unusual love story at the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve

The relatively isolated Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve.
Photographer: CC-2.0/Flickr/_paVan_

Under India’s Project Tiger directorate, this little-explored national park – with a healthy population of Bengal tigers – lies 150km south of Nagpur. Less visited than most other forests in India, this is a place where you can get up close with wildlife (which also includes gaurs, chitals, nilgais and sloth bears) without having to jostle past truckloads of shutter-happy tourists.

Here’s a truly fascinating picture story experienced first-hand by Pawan Menon:

It was 7.45am and there were a sea of vehicles in front of us at the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve. From a distance we assumed they were following the Panderpauni female tigress. We were among the last vehicles here so we couldn’t see the tigress clearly. What we got was only the fleeting glance of her being somewhere close.
Photographer: Pawan Menon
When the vehicles left we slowly moved towards the Tadoba Lake in the hope that we could spot a tiger or a tigress. At around 8:45am there was some movement in a bush, and lo-behold there was the Panderpauni tigress jumping and playing around. The initial conclusion was that she was prancing around alone till we saw a tiny little figure with her.
Photographer: Pawan Menon
You can imagine our surprise when we saw the tigress playing with a fawn! She was gently holding her by her neck, nudging it to run, and also sitting with the fawn. Seeing them playing around, we came to the initial conclusion that she would not eat the fawn.
Photographer: Pawan Menon
Thankfully we were right, after 10 minutes she emerged from the bushes and went her way, and it was a delight to see that she had not killed the fawn after all. This fascinating spectacle restored our faith that most wild animals do not kill unless they are hungry.
Photographer: Pawan Menon

PHOTOGRAPHER'S BIO: Pawan by profession is a hard-core call centre professional who initially had taken to photography as a hobby but it quickly turned into a passion. He now wishes to give enough time to develop his skills and move into the professional stream. He wants the whole world to witness nature through his lens.