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Ranthambhore National Park, India
Fulfilling a long time ambition of seeing Bengal tigers in the wild, I set off for India in February 2018. I had on two previous occasions had the opportunity to visit but had not been emotionally ready. However, the IUCN International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List now categorises the Bengal tiger as endangered with the population trend decreasing. This meant that if I wanted to see these magnificent creatures myself, in their native habitat, time was running out.
After significant planning and consultation with colleagues I met up with eminent photographer Aditya Singh in Sawai Madhopur who helped me in tracking these beautiful creatures, ensuring that I obtained the best possible photographs.
India is confronting on many levels. I had been warned, but it is not a place that you can prepare for. I had travelled to India with preconceived ideas as to what the main issues where which impacted the lives of the Bengal tiger. On reflection now, my overwhelming sense is that the over-population which exists in India and the fight for land resources means that these animals are at a distinct disadvantage.
In my time in India I was aware of the parallel lives of the people and all animals. In particular the dogs. Thousands of dogs freely roamed the streets and the land. Their endless search for food and their sustained injuries were gut wrenching to see. Being witness to some of these encounters was very disturbing.
Once again, in travelling to see and photograph wildlife there are some discomforts. There are always hurdles to overcome. However, as always, I never regret making these journeys. Ranthambhore National Park itself is a well-managed park and a wonderful haven for the tigers. When travelling to see wildlife, wherever it is in the world, I often have preconceived ideas and actually visiting the native environments is an important step to gaining all the facts which assist when formulating a view. Taking this experience of India into account has definitely influenced my work.