"Nothing exists for itself alone, but only in relation to other forms of life" ~ Charles Darwin


Spotting Deer at Corbett, Uttarakhand

Patricia C watches deer from a distance at Corbett and realises she has identified with the deer and their lives, and is no longer an objective wildlife watcher...

Spotted deer grazing on the other side of the bank of the river Kosi. I look up from the newspaper I am reading as I sit in my balcony. I use my binoculars and count five of them. They graze calmly unaware of my watchful eyes. It is about eleven in the morning. From that day on, I wait patiently to see if they would come back. And as if not to disappoint, they suddenly appear from the thick brush on most days. Mostly in the mornings, sometimes afternoons and occasionally evenings. Each time I spot them I grab my binoculars, watch them for as long as they are in sight and feel a sense of achievement for the day. The days I do not see them I wonder whether they would come back again.

More on Wildlife
Sanctuaries & Parks

Wild Escapes
Tiger at Corbett
Tiger at Large
Nagarhole Visit

Poachers' Paradise
Cruelty to Animals


deer Recently the security guard in the resort was heard telling people, that he saw a tiger drinking water in the river at two in the morning. Now, I had not seen the spotted deer in a while. My heart sank thinking that the deer were somehow eaten by the tiger or fled for safety elsewhere.

A few days later, I suddenly spot movement on the bank of the river and grab my binoculars. Lo and behold the deer again. I counted them as they appeared more clearly on the bank and to my great delight there were five grown deer and one baby deer. I could not help but focus my binoculars on the little one and watch it's every move.

I also spotted peahens and jackals in the same area. They came and went late evenings. One evening I saw a lone peahen grazing calmly along the bank. Suddenly, two jackals appeared. They kept running and sniffing around. As it was getting dark the peahen was making its way back into the forest. As the peahen was nearing the shrub one jackal came running from the other end and tried to catch the peahen. I could not bear to see what was going to happen next. To my utter amazement the peahen spread its wings and flew atop of the nearest tall tree. I could not help thinking how such a big bird could fly such a distance. The peahens and the jackals continued to come and go. Eventually I saw only one peahen and since the last few days I have not seen any. The two jackals however continue to make their appearance almost every evening.

This morning at about eight, I saw the jackal chasing the little deer. He was trying to catch her but the little deer ran fast with her tail up in the air. The jackal was desperately trying to get the deer. My heart was racing. Then all of a sudden the mother deer appeared and chased the jackal away. The jackal stood on its hind legs and watched the mother and little deer walk away. A couple of minutes later he followed them. I wondered whether the mother eventually saved her little one.

A little later in the day, towards forenoon, I saw four deer grazing on the bank again. I knew that the mother and the baby deer (if alive) had been separated from them. The four deer grazed a while and disappeared into the forest. Towards early evening I heard the sound of spotted deer. I went to the balcony to see if I could spot them. To my great joy I saw the mother with the baby deer, following close behind. The mother was desperately searching for her gang. In her desperation she walked the entire length of the bank of the river with the young one in tow. They eventually disappeared from sight.

deerA short while later I saw the remaining four deer appear in the very same spot the mother deer began her search. I wished the mother had stayed just that little while longer. As I watched the four, I noticed that two deer walked away in the opposite direction of the river bank and two headed back in the direction they came from. The deer were now all separated, in twos. I felt a sense of utter disappointment. I knew their survival was greater as a gang.

Just as it was turning dark a lone jackal appeared. Sniffing and running confidently and quickly. As I watched I realized that the jackal was on the scent of the mother and baby deer. Every time he stopped to sniff harder I hoped he would lose their trail. But he kept going further and further along the bank. After he had travelled quite a distance it turned dark. I could not see him anymore. I cannot but help wonder what is going to happen tonight. Whether the jackal will catch up with the baby deer? Whether the mother deer would be able to save her young one? Only the next few days will tell.

Maybe I will never know.

Related Links:

Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand

Project Tiger Reserves in India

Corbett National Park

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Editor: Romola Butalia       (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.