the wild life reserve

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The cutest roar ever! Three-month-old lion escapes from his mother to test out his new voice in South Africa

He may only be three-months-old but this lion cub has proved it is never too early to start practising his roar. The young cat was caught on camera opening his mouth wide and testing out his voice in an South African game reserve.

And tourists who were lucky enough to catch the rare sight said the youngster looked exactly like Simba, star of the 1994 Disney classic, The Lion King. Heinrich Neumayer, from South Africa, snapped the pictures, and said this particular cub seemed to have a big personality.

He said: ‘There were eight cubs in total, but this little one stole the show, no one seemed to notice the others.

'The whole group were stunned by this little guy’s performance, the mischievous cub wasn’t listening to its mother.

'He definitely reminded us of Simba, he didn’t want there to be any rules. He moaned the whole time he was being carried by his mother and ran away as soon as he was let go.

'His mum called him back a couple of times but he was not finished and he didn’t even look in her direction.

'She was not having any of it and started walking to the cub, and continued calling him and he still ignored her.

'When she reached him he quickly tried to run away but she managed to trip him and he tumbled a couple of times.

The professional wildlife photographer and safari guide, snapped the pictures of the captivating cub in the early hours of the morning at the Sabi Sands game reserve, adjacent to the Kruger National Park. He said: 'We could hear the roars of the lion pride throughout the night, but in the early morning we were woke by raucous roars which suddenly pierced through the early hours.

'Our guide quickly walked to each room with his flashlight and gathered all of us for an earlier than usual game drive.

'We hastily made our way to the game drive vehicles and the excitement was electric. 

'Not even five minutes into the drive we found the entire Nkuhuma Pride; the kings responsible for waking us all.’

The pictures show the young lion cub breaking free from his mother before practicing his mighty roar to his adoring crowd. Mr Neumayer explained: 'He paused for a couple of seconds contemplating what to do next, he looked at our vehicle, then the most adorable little cub made an attempted roar.

'Our hearts melted and our cameras fired away!

'There were a lot of oohs and aahs from the group as the cub tried to state his authority.

'This little brave heart surely made it worth waking up so early and he stole our hearts.

'With a will of his own and not following any rules, this little fluff ball is all set to be a one of a kind ruler.' 

Odyssey of the Neelkanth in Madhya Pradesh - The Satpura experience

For some reason, I had very little idea of how gifted MP is when it comes to flora & fauna. If Tawa wasn’t an eye-opener enough, my next stop was the Satpura Forest reserve.

The story begins from the name itself - Satpura in Sanskrit literally means seven mountains. Some bewildering facts: Satpura National Park is spread over 1427 sq km and was formed in 1981 after joining Satpura, Pachmarhi and Bori sanctuaries and the altitude ranges from 300 to 1,352 metres (980 to 4,436 ft).

From the Madhai entrance we ventured into this enormous reserve that is home to dense forests, rich wild life, sprawling meadows, large backwaters and beautiful views of nature that leave any traveller awestruck.The terrain of the national park is extremely rugged and consists of fascinating deep valleys, sandstone peaks, narrow gorges, rivulets, waterfalls, thick green forest of Sal and other medicinal herbs as well as large tracts of Teak forests.

The two days that we stayed inside the sanctuary was full of some spectacular Safaris. In fact, I did the first ever Night safari of my existence.  

We began in a four-wheel drive at dusk, which set an adventurous mood. The fact that the sun was setting added an element of suspense. The cool air had filled my lungs with rapture and anticipation; I was going to see beautiful creatures in the darkness. I was accompanied by two men along with the driver, who, much to my surprise, were as excited as I was. There was no hint of routine in their behaviour; there could not be. Every night posed a new set of challenges for them, every night had a different rhyme. We drove through the barren roads, bumps and turns, as if we rode on steeds. We were in; we were alone.

I was told that the Satpuras are renowned for the diversity of the wildlife. While it is home to the tigers, they don’t popularise it as much as Bandhavgarh. Instead the safari here allows us to witness Spotted Deer, Indian Bison (Gaur), Leopards, Wild boars, Wild dogs (locally called Dholes), Sloth bears, Black bucks (which is a unique attraction), Porcupines, Four Horned antelopes (Chowsingha), Otters, Crocodiles, Malabar squirrels and langurs. And yet, it is best visited for Bird watching since its famed as one of the best places for avian admirers in Central India. Marsh Crocodiles, Indian Giant squirrel and White Bison are another special feature of this Park.

As we kept driving, every glance was a thrill, every slight movement was a hope. We looked around as they used flashlights in the darkness to see any sign of activity or reflections of eyes. We were relentless in our search. We rode.

The first wonder we saw was an owl, proud, resplendent and majestic in the night. It swooped down gracefully and sat 15 feet away from us. The headlight of our vehicle illuminated the bird and I was taken aback. It seemed he was the guardian of the night, warning us to be careful after greeting us. So we moved forth, with the image of the guardian imprinted on my retinas, explored with the curiosity of a child until we reached a pond. The driver told us that this is where the kingdom comes to quench its thirst and I hoped someone would turn up. We waited as we looked around to see the infinity of stars in the sky. This was a one of a kind experience, this night safari.

We moved forth without realising how time passed. The torch searching animals like an infant would search for its mother, seeing quick glances of the arboreal beauties. Every memory I collected there were in flashes until we suddenly stopped. Deep on one side of the road, a few curious deer had come to say hello from a distance. I was overjoyed, I felt welcomed. They were shy, why wouldn’t they be. They might not know if we had ill intentions. I did not mind, for I was already in awe of what I had witnessed.

With that warm feeling, I left the cold and silent beautiful forest.

(The Neelkanth bird is truly symbolic of my journey in Madhya Pradesh. We both have escaped our respective cages to transcend the physical and the mythical in our voyage to discover the hidden secrets and nature’s abundance of this spectacular region)

About the artist

Artist-storyteller Harshvardhan Kadam is fascinated by surreal landscapes, mystical beings and mythical creatures. His collective, inkbrushnme, with its eclecticism, has produced conceptually and stylistically powerful Visual Art. With conceptual clarity and solidity, he has illustrated many characters in graphic novels, and children’s books.

By Harshvardhan Kadam
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Lioness pulls hilarious facial expressions as she tries to shake off a pesky fly buzzing around her head

When you are relaxing in the sun, the last thing you need is to be harassed by a pesky fly. 

And that’s not just humans - as shown by these photos of a lioness trying to shake off an insect buzzing around her head. 

With one eye closed and shaking its head from side to side, she pulls all kinds of amusing facial expressions for the camera.

The images were captured by field guide Michael Anderson, 28, while he was leading guests on a tour at Ngala Private Game Reserve in South Africa.  

Mr Anderson said: ‘This set of images were a complete surprise.

'After watching the lioness being worried by the flies, for a while, she kept shaking her head and I wondered if I could capture the movement.

'After struggling to get at the water for a while, the lioness lifts her head up and has some moisture clinging to the fur around her mouth.’

Mr Anderson said he found it amusing that these fearsome hunters could be bothered by a tiny fly.

'The flies are attracted to the droplets because it’s hot and dry at that time of year and the drought means no water around for them to get at. 'It was funny because she was so desperate for the water but exasperated by the flies. 

'I love the images because these lions can be so intense when hunting, and they are the most powerful of all the hunters. But the simple fly drives this lioness to distraction.’