The Watchman

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Amidst the tall grass, a tiger moved stealthily towards his prey. Inching closer and closer to the herd of deer who were busy grazing unaware of his presence. A loud piercing call broke the silence of the jungle. Then another call and another until it sounded like an orchestra.

The sound was a combination of a bark and clearing of the throat that caused the deer to freeze in fear and their alert buttons were switched on. Looking in all directions, they finally spotted the tiger crouched in the grass, motionless. A twitch of the tigers tail sent the deer into a frenzy and they galloped to safer ground.

Yet another opportunity missed, the tiger moved slowly out from hiding. From the tall tree above, the orchestra was still playing. The tiger looked up to see who had let the cat out of the bag. A group of langurs were looking back at the tiger not leaving his sight.

The watchman or should I say watchmen of the jungle had saved yet another that day. The Grey Langur also called the Hanuman Langur, occupying the tallest seats in the jungle (read trees), have the best view of what’s happening below. Keeping track of the predator movement, they sound the alarm bells when a tiger, leopard or wild dogs are spotted in the vicinity. Upon hearing the Langur, deer, sambar, even birds sound their calls. Everyone is wary of a predator lurking.

On some occasions, even a tall tree or high perch is not enough for the safety of the Langur. Leopards are known to hunt while swiftly climbing trees and treating themselves to an unlucky Langur. Even tigers sometimes get the better of the watchman.

In the image posted above, a Grey Langur looks warily as our vehicle approached it. Gorgeous lighting that evening set this image apart from the rest in my collection.

Image shot with Canon 500 f4 + 1D Mark IV

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