When you talk about going to India in search of wildlife it might be surprising to consider India as a country suitable for such a form of tourism. With a population of over one billion people it can be hard to imagine that there is any room for wildlife amongst the sea of humanity. Luckily there are many natural areas that have retained healthy wildlife populations providing once in a lifetime encounters in some of India’s most incredible landscapes and forests. With a huge proportion of the population being Hindu India’s public hold the countries wild creatures in high regard as both symbols and reincarnations of the deities they worship.
In February this year we decided to get a couple of our guides out of Borneo to explore a new destination and venture into new territory that is, to say the least, a stark contrast to what our guides are used to in Borneo. Our company co-director Charlie embarked on the trip with our nature guide junior team leader Bedley and our nature guide Mike. Both Mike and Bedly have a world of experience under their belts for Borneo and know the jungle like the back of their hands. Bedley has travelled outside of Borneo previously visiting destinations in Southeast Asia and Australia whilst for Mike this was his first time going abroad and his first experience outside of Borneo. Needless to say it was going to be a memorable trip for them both.
At Sticky Rice Travel we are passionate about growing talent and nurturing our staff that want to progress within their careers. Both Bedley and Mike are long term guides for the company and are a huge asset to our field team. We sent the boys to India so that they could primarily see some incredible wildlife but also gain a deeper understanding about how wildlife tourism is undertaken outside of Malaysian Borneo.
The boys spent the duration of the trip in the Indian state of Karnataka hitting some of the highlight wildlife destinations in the region. Starting in Mysore the trio visited the local palace and enjoyed wildlife safaris along the Kabini backwaters in search of tigers and leopards along with India’s other iconic wildlife.
The target species was the black leopard that is known to roam within Kabini’s forest. Unfortunately this time around the trio fell short of sighting the black leopard with reports indicating that they had missed it by a mere 5 minutes! Unfortunately when it comes to wildlife there is no guaranteeing sightings, no matter how hard you try. Black leopard aside they still managed to see some of India’s iconic wildlife. The highlight sightings were the big cats they encountered including Indian tigers and leopards. To see these majestic creatures in the wild corners of India is truly spectacular.
Other wildlife encounters included sloth bear, gaur (Indian wild bison), herds of Indian elephants, several species of mongoose, 4 horned antelope amongst the more common sambar deer and cheetal (or spotted) deer. Did you know that the sambar deer that occur in India are the same species as the sambar deer we have here in Borneo? They even managed to spot some marsh crocodiles during the trip.
Whilst Sticky Rice Travel primarily focuses on Malaysian Borneo we are starting to look further afield for opportunities to discover destinations outside of Borneo. As the skills of our guides grow we want to create opportunities for them to reach the peak of their careers and leading trips internationally is the pinnacle of their field. If you want to plan a wildlife trip to India reach out to the team to discuss itineraries and options to discover India’s wild side.