The Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve is very dense and spread over 1303 sqkm, and home to tigers, leopards, elephants, gaurs and other herbivores.
Praveen Siddannavar has described the moment of sighting on his page as below.
“Mission Impossible” series, after having sighted the 1st black beauty I am not even sure what was going in our minds, whom to share this news, oh boy there are thousands who would be thrilled to hear this, no network can’t send text messages, shall we check the images first, can’t see the images too while driving. Oh no we still have a 15 kms drive to reach our camp, let’s be focused on our return journey may be God has more in store for us.
Can’t express our feelings at that moment and believe me this does happen with a cat sighting be it a tiger or leopard but in this case it was a black panther our behavior and act reached the maximum heights. I am sure everyone does go through this. Finally we exited out of the park and first thing we did was to attend to nature’s call; smokers too had a quick relief. Now it was time to move on and we drove on the Kulgi road leading to Kulgi Nature Camp. Time was past 6:30pm, believe me it was pitch dark, our driver had to use high beam lights for better vision of the road and care for animals safety that are crossing the road after dusk.
As we drove approx 1-2 kms from Phansoli gate, our driver was very cautious and was driving at 20 km/hr and suddenly something crossed our way in a flash, it looked like a black ghost. Was it another black panther? The first sighting of Black Panther had made such an impact that all what we spotted was looking like a black panther; this is quite natural with wildlife lovers.
Yes it is a black panther, he ran across the road and hid behind a tree is what I said. By now our driver knew what was expected of him; he stopped the vehicle and put off the engine with lights on. But we had to maneuver our vehicle a bit to reconfirm if it was really the black beauty. I can still sense the heart beats and heavy breathing amongst us.
Finally we had a clear view of this black beauty taking cover behind a tree trunk, I fired my first shot using jeep head lights as primary source of light and it worked. This is another image I loved a lot during the second sighting of this beautiful cat. Typically elusive behavior peeping through a gap between the tree trunk and a twig, I was fortunate to have one eye in focus
I believe the true beauty of these cats clearly lies at night, they are God’s most beautiful creations that wander at night and attract attention even in pitch dark conditions, with their glittering eyes like gold.
Second panther in span of 45 mins, am I dreaming? But this time each one of us controlled their excitement, emotions and kept themselves calm and this cat too cooperated with us, he then gradually moved a bit and came out partially in the open and then provided us some excellent opportunity to make few wonderful images. He was seen cleaning his claws, yawning, sniffing and other typical behaviors of cats. We got what we never expected, made some amazing images and left the cat in peace and headed to our camp to celebrate.”