For its fifth edition, the Nature inFocus Festival hosted its first-ever curated wildlife photography exhibition – The Wild Nation – showcasing around 100 images from across the country, curated by the top experts in their field. The Wild Nation is an attempt by NiF to throw light on the colossal beauty of India's rich wilderness and to sound out important conversations on conservation.
The exhibition is divided into five categories, based on the different habitats found around the country. Here, we look at the images curated for the Deciduous Forests category by Shivang Mehta.
Shivang Mehta is a former journalist and PR professional who left the comforts of the corporate office behind to become one of India’s leading natural history photographers. Shivang is also the founder of Nature Wanderers, an organisation which helps promote the culture of nature photography in India. You can follow him on
Instagram. Abhiroop Ghosh Dastidar Bandhavgarh is a stretch of Eden in Central India with a mixed vegetation of tall grasslands and thick Sal forests. From rocky outcrops to elaborate meadows, this place is a nature lover’s delight and a tiger’s true home. Tigers mark their territory or sharpen their claw with this behaviour. This particular individual, being a sub-adult, it may be that he is trying to subtly assert his dominance. Location: Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh Manish Vaidya During a safari at the Gir National Park, the photographer was observing a pride of lions; for a long time, the cub kept walking behind the mother, a little unsure of himself. But, after a point, the cub got really curious and started moving ahead of the female and observing the onlookers. Location: Gir Forest National Park, Gujarat Prakash Ramakrishnan The Dhikala grasslands or chaur as they are locally known cover about 10 sq.km. in the core area of the Corbett Tiger Reserve. It is also one of the best places to observe and photograph elephants in India. Dust bathing is a maintenance behaviour performed by a wide range of mammalian and avian species, and for elephants, it is also a very important communal activity. Location: Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand Suman Kumar Raju Rudraraju From a distance, it appeared to be an eagle devouring its prey; it was not really recognisable to the photographer that it was a male jungle fowl that the raptor had in its death grip. But, as the safari jeep inched closer, the eagle stopped pecking at its prey and started intently watching the onlookers. There was no movement at all from the fowl, no sound, probably dead and half-eaten, but when for a moment the raptor lost its grip the fowl took off like 'Usain Bolt' into the forest leaving both the raptor and the onlookers baffled. Location: Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand Anu Marwah Arguably one of the best national parks in the country to spot the Bengal Tiger in the wild, one used to be able to spot 16 tigers during a single safari in Tadoba. The usually dry and monotonous yellow forests of Tadoba turn a magical emerald soon after the first monsoon showers, making it easier to spot these royal creatures in the wild. Location: Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra Uday Kiran The photographer was aboard a boat safari when out of nowhere it started raining. As the first sunlight filtered down through the clouds after the rain, the forest came alive and the surroundings became more vibrant. That is when the photographer's eyes fell on a brown object in the middle of a green patch of grass in the distance – an Indian Jackal (Canis aureus indicus). As the boat moved closer to land, the predator stretched its neck even further out of the grass looking curiously for a couple of seconds before slowly moving back into the jungle. Location: Bhadra Tiger Reserve, Karnataka Anshul Sikri The waterhole with its unique formation of rocks and cold water and ample shade was perfect for the cubs to indulge in a long and tiring play session. After almost 30 minutes of non-stop action, the cubs got tired and finally sat down on the rocks with their mother relaxing in the water. Their strange formation on the rocks evokes the image of athletes on a podium after a successful performance. Location: Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan Apurva Jain Erect ears, open mouth and forelegs placed on the opponent’s chest. Not just another game for the cubs, but a strict fight for dominance. The dominant cub not only has preferential access to food but also receives more social grooming from the adults. This image of the White-footed Fox (Vulpes vulpes pusilla) fighting for dominance was taken in the forests near Jaipur. Location: Jhalana, Jaipur Umeed Mistry Mahseer swimming in the shallows of a river in North Karnataka. The species has suffered severe population decline in much of its distribution range and is now considered threatened due to pollution, habitat loss and over-fishing. Location: Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka
Baby Garden Lizards (Calotes versicolor) can be found in plenty on grass leaves during September-October in Central India. During the winter, local people follow a practice of burning all the grass which severely affects the wildlife in the region. Location: Badlapur, Maharashtra Amith Bhavikatti The park is a lush green during summer and this Black Panther was found high up on one of the tallest trees, scared by a tiger that had passed by the area. If you look closely you can spot a Langur teasing him and playing in the background. Location: Nagarahole National Park, Karnataka Preeti & Prashant Chacko A herd of Chital or Spotted deer (Axis axis) enjoying the sun’s rays on a winter morning in Kanha. The moment captured here is when the only male of the herd, with its impressive antlers, and a female look up into the rays, almost as if being blessed by the light. Location: Kanha Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh Manish Vaidya Ranthambore is a popular place to see the Bengal Tiger in its natural habitat. Bathed in winter colours, the national park provided the perfect opportunity as the three T19 cubs walked into the pre-prepared frame of the photographer. Location: Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan Praveen Premkumar Pai No alarm calls, no bird chirps, the ambience was hushed. And, when the photographer was least expecting it, he noticed a sudden and slight shake in the bushes behind him. It was a handsome leopard, moving neat and slow like an apex predator would, pausing for just a moment to deliver this expressive gaze. Location: Bandipur National Park, Karnataka Sourav Mondal The Satpura range of hills of Central India is mostly deciduous forests and in summer it is generally rare to find it decorated with such greenery. The photographer, after waiting for sometime near a waterhole, was greeted by a group of Indian Gaurs (Bos gaurus) and that's when he managed to get this shot of a single Gaur in the midst of the lush greenery of the rocky Central Indian habitat. Location: Satpura National Park, Madhya Pradesh Rupak Ghosh Dastidar After a couple of hours of trekking, on approaching a village, the photographer noticed some sudden movement in the undergrowth. Expecting a Kalij Pheasant or Hill Partridge, the photographer was surprised to find the rare and elusive Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) emerge from the undergrowth. Location: Buxa Tiger Reserve, West Bengal Bhargava Srivari The rising sun filtering through the tall Sal trees interspersed with lush grasslands, the Ramganga river flowing through the beautiful green winter forest - it was a typical cold morning in Corbett, when this tiger and cub were photographed taking a stroll along the riverbed. Location: Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand Ankit Bansod The silhouette of an Indian Jackal (Canis aureus indicus) on a late evening, as the setting sun painted the crystal clear waters of the Totladoh Dam in a golden hue. Location: Pench Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra
NiF thanks all its sponsors and partners for making The Wild Nation a grand success.
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