It is often said that the number of tigers in a forest indicates to the overall health of its ecosystem. Any decline in tiger population is a sign that the natural ecosystem is in trouble.
Thankfully, the tiger population all over the world is on the rise, thanks to the collaborations between various agencies. According to a data released in 2013, the total number of Royal Bengal Tigers, the species found in South Asia, in Nepal stands at 198. The figure stood at 63 per cent in in 2009.
The number is expected to grow more after the latest tiger census, which began earlier this year.
In Nepal, Chitwan National Park is home to the largest number of tigers. While hard to spot on the jeep tracks frequented by guards and tourists, a total of 120 Bengal tigers call the national park home.
As winter began to intensify, photographer Sagar Giri set out to on a mission to photograph the beasts in their natural habitat. It took him 10 days to come close to one.
“I’d start early at 6 am and roam the jungle till 6 pm.” says Giri. “But I could not find a single tiger!”
All that changed on the sixth day.
“It was around 5 pm in the evening. We were waiting. Around 1 km away, I saw a small ‘dot’ move, I just looked through my binoculars and jumped up with excitement. In a hushed voice, I said ‘tiger’ to my driver. So I asked my him to drive towards the wild cat, and after a few seconds the tiger disappeared into the bush.”
“I felt a sensation rush trough my body. All the fatigue from those long days was gone.”
“It was only after four more days of roaming the jungle, that I spotted a tiger again.”
“It was getting dark. My nose picked up a strange smell, and I knew it was that of a tiger.”
“I asked my driver to stop, and I looked around with my binoculars. There it was looking at me from behind the bus
vehicle and checked around with my Binocular and there he was watching me from the bush.”
“This time, I got to look at him for over an hour. The sun was setting, and the light was getting poor. But he didn’t seem to mind.”
“I took a lot of photos. I could not stop looking at the magnificent beast.”
Then he left. It was almost dark. Maybe he had some other plans.