How to spot a tiger in India?
Well the question do not have any specified answers, it can never be. You can’t control nature.
But trust me there are number of ways or you can say tricks by which can really increase your chances to spot a tiger in India or i would say anywhere where tigers are present.
So here we are presenting you the Top 7 tips to spot a tiger in India
Tip No. 1 : The Most Important
Choose the right time & right season. Rains & Winters are not at all a good time to visit national parks in India. Rain on the same day or even one day before could be very bad for tiger sighting as tigers are more likely to be confined to their place due to ample supply of water. Similarly, In winters they dont feel much need to move themselves from their comfort zone unless they are looking for food or going for a kill.
Summers, indeed a best time to spot a tiger especially March to May. From my personal experience if you want to spot a tiger in Ranthambore then best season would be march to may only, as that is the season when most of the tigers come out and come closer to ponds and water bodies to relieve themselves from summers.
Tip No. 2 : Choosing the Right National Park or Wildlife Sanctuary
Which national park has most number of Tigers in India?
Tiger’s population varies from park to park. There are parks which really have high density of tigers, If you choose to visit Sariska, Sundarbans or Thekkady to see tigers, you are more likely to be disappointed if your sole aim is to spot a Tiger.
Some of the best national parks in India to spot tigers in India as of now are :
– Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (Maharashtra) : Best for people near Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad & other Southern States of India
– Bandhavgarh National Park (Madhya Pradesh) : Could be one of the best national park to spot a tiger. Also, it is situated in Central India, so can be accessible by all the states.
– Ranthambhore National Park (Rajasthan) : It is considered as a best weekend getaway from Delhi & North India to spot a tiger. There are others too, you can check the complete list by just clicking here.
– Kanha National Park (Madhya Pradesh) : Again situated in Central India and chances to see a tiger is more.
– Jim Corbett National Park (Uttarkahand) : Very good weekend getaway option from Delhi NCR and for wildlife lovers too. Jim Corbett has good number of tigers and there is a variety of other wildlife which you can see here apart from tigers.
Know more about these wildlife sanctuaries and details
Tip No. 3 : Choice of Zone & Vehicle
Jeep Safari vs Canter Safari : I would always suggest that Jeep Safari is best to spot a tiger in India. Although, recently we we were so unlucky that we did 3 continuous safaris in Ranthambore but were not able to see a single tiger….lol…:D, probably that’s because we did that in January ( Winters…:( ) and then it rained one day before our safari….:(, but still from my past experience and other researches, Jeep safari always increases your chances to spot a tiger as it go to all those small areas, where a big canter cant go.
The probability to spot a tiger in those small and bushy areas are more than on the pre-defined paths made for canters.
Another important factor is choosing a right zone : All the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries have created zones in forests. There are exceptions too and in some parks like Tadoba, only the gate of entry is fixed with booking but vehicles can ply anywhere inside the park. However these zone restrictions do not apply to animals as they are free to move anywhere. But there are sometimes and the point we are trying make here is that, some zones have higher chances of tiger sightings than others. It could be because of multiple reasons like : a tiger has marked his territory in that zone, or there is more water bodies in a particular zone or good options for a kill in a particular zone etc.
Tiger sighted by one of our friend who visited Ranthambore National Park few weeks back
Tip No. 4 : Choice of Safari Timing
Well actually, in most of the parks usually there are 2 safaris i.e. morning & evening. Both of them have fairly good amount of chances to spot a tiger as both have their advantages and disadvantages. But as per my personal opinion, I always choose evening safaris as it increases my chances in summers because, usually in afternoon when the climate it hot and humid animals usually come near to water bodies and that increases your chances to see them.
Contrary, on the other hand, morning safaris are also good as tigers start walking after the sun sets and mark their territory walking whole night till the sun rises. So the movement of the tiger increases the chances to see them in action.
Tip No. 5 : Be Alert & Listen to Calls
Alarm calls – Generally the most common prey of Tigers like langurs, deers, nilgai (antelope) or sambar give out a special call to their groups alarming danger, when they spot a Tiger. This call is actually a growling or you can say a peculiar sound they make to inform their friends that a tiger is on the move. Once you hear such alarm calls, it is reasonably certain that a tiger is nearby moving.
Pug marks – Fresh pug marks are also one of the best ways to follow and spot a tiger in India. If there are fresh Tiger pug marks on the tracks then it is certain he walked this path recently, do try to follow the trail with the help of your jeep driver.
Caution – Never get out from your Jeep/Canter in the forest. It could be very very dangerous.
Information from other jeeps – Usually if any of the jeeps in your safari spot a Tiger or hear alarm calls, they usually inform other fellow guides and drivers. In India, we do not have have good radio communication amongst the driver unlike Africans. But in Ranthambore and in other parks now a days, they use mobile phones or whatsapp groups to communicate the message with each other.
Tip No. 6 : Your Guide’s Skill
This could also be one of the very important thing if you are not an expert yourself. Nothing can help you to have a great wildlife experience if you don’t have a skilled/experienced guide.
Usually, Jeep & Canter drivers in most of the national parks in India are experienced enough but with years of more experience, a good guide can make your safari experience entirely worthwhile even if you do not spot a Tiger, he can help you in exploring other very interesting wildlife too. They are also very much skilled to identify alarm calls from animals and they now hidden places too, where the probabilities to sight a tiger is more.
Video from my sister’s friend who spot a tiger in Ranthambore National Park in May 2017. Very Close.
Tip No. 7 : Next to a Kill
Big Kill could be very luck for you : If a tiger made a big kill like a wild buffalo or Nilgai or even sambar deer, it usually takes 4-5 days to consume it fully. So if in any of your previous safaris, if anyone has seen a tiger next to the kill, or the day after a kill, then chances of it staying in the same region is reasonably very high as it will always return to its kill till the time his food is finished.
Ahh! so after all these tips we are sure you will really spot a tiger in your next visit to a nearby national park in India.
Do share your experience in the comments section below. Also, kindly let us know if we have missed something.
Have a happy tiger watching…..:)