The price of freedom

Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, famously known as (TATR), is in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra state in central India. It is Maharashtra’s oldest and largest National Park. It is one of India’s forty-three Tiger reserves.

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The almost certain sighting of tigers attracts a lot of visitors, especially wild life photographers, to TATR. I am one of them. In my very first safari I saw all four tiger cubs born to a tigress in Telia lake area of the jungle. They were named Telia cubs. You see two of them in the above photograph.

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TATR also hosts a lot of other animals & birds that are hard to find in the cities. So, tiger or no tiger, a safari guarantees a sighting of some or the other wild life. Here you can see two Sambar deer happily enjoying mud-bath.

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The largest lake in TATR is Tadoba Lake. While busy photographing this beautiful spotted deer near the lake we suddenly spotted a wild boar running away from the lake.

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As you can see in the photograph, its underbelly was torn apart and its intestines were protruding outside. Our guide’s guess was that the boar was attacked by crocodiles in the lake but it somehow escaped their jaws.

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We quickly turned our gaze towards the lake and we indeed spotted a crocodile near the shores.

We felt very sorry for the boar. Though it escaped from the jaws of crocodile at that moment, how long could it survive from the jaws of death?

We found it dead in the jungle the next day.

As someone has said, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance”. And the price could be one’s own life.

A thought flashed my mind while looking at the dead boar.

If this boar (or for that matter any other animal in the jungle) was to be confined to a zoo for a lifetime, it would never face such a prospect of a horrible death. It would have all the luxuries of the life – enough food, shelter, medicines and attention of zoo keepers. It would die only due to old age.

If one gives the option to these animals; of living in a jungle a life full of freedom with its associated risks, versus living a luxurious and peaceful yet confined zoo life;  what would they choose?

What would be our choice if we were asked to choose one for ourselves?

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