Friday, April 22, 2011

The case of the jaywalking jackal

I am going to call this “The case of the jaywalking jackal!” or Why the jackal crossed the road!

It was in Gir on my last trip that we saw a pair of jackals. We had just been to the smaller part of the sanctuary, where there is a 16km enclosure of animals in the wild. The trip inside the park was nice albeit rather too short for my liking, there were a lot of opportunities for more animal sightings but the 45 minute run was centered around 3 sleeping male lions of the local pride. It comes to me that lions have a pretty cool life. They basically eat what the females kill for them, sleep, walk around marking territory and hang out with the females. I wonder if there is a job opening like that. I would snap it up like billy-o!

On the way back to the hotel we drove along the road dividing the buffer zone and the main forest area wishing we could live here and hang with the lions full time. It was just super weather and a superalative experience just being in Gir for those few days, and we were enjoying our midday reverie.

We were driving along and all of a sudden were jolted out of our reverie by the car coming to an abrupt halt. “Jackals Sir, look up ahead” the driver said. I had the trusty Nikon around my neck and it was in my hand and shooting in a flash. I noticed a pair of jackals that I had not seen earlier, the smaller presumably female crossed the road at a run before I could get a shot and disappeared into the shrubbery on the far side but her beau was not as bold and being of a prudent bent of mind, back tracked into the bush. I got a few shots of him as he circled around the vehicle obviously wanting to follow his lady love. A real handsome specimen he was too. Beautiful gray back with silver highlights and a fawn to beige colouring broke up the outlines and gives him good camouflage in the dry forest where he does his hunting.

His sagacity was shown up when he succeeded in circling behind us and crossed the national highway that is the Junagadh Verawal road. I mean, don’t believe me just believe the pictures. His mother should take full credit for the fact that he looked first right and crossed half the track, and then looked left and crossed the other half. Very different from his lady who dashed across hell for leather, her fear of man and the strange growling from the gypsy engine overcoming her sense of road safety. Her guy was the complete opposite, and crossed in style.

It seems the human interaction has had a very positive effect on him where he has learned probably at the cost of a few scary experiences that it is better to be patient and look, than to be precipitous and run. Good for you, Mr. Jackal, may all jaywalkers be as careful as you.