Most of the action that happened during our game drives in Bandhavgarh usually happened in the last few minutes of our drives. This day was no exception. We were on our way back to the front gate of the park when our guide saw what appeared to be a dead spotted dear near the side of the road.
We all thought the deer was dead and were anxiously looking around for what could have killed it. After some searching we spotted a jackal waiting in the bushes. Our vehicle probably scared him off his kill. We backed up the vehicle to give some space between us and the deer in the hopes the jackal would come back for his kill.
To our surprise, the deer’s head started moving. Then it started to slowly get up. It wasn’t dead after all… at least not yet. After it stumbled to its feet it just stood there all dazed and confused. Then all of the sudden it started to run. It probably just realized what happend to him and knew he needed to get the heck out of there. The problem was that this was the edge of the park and they erected a wall to keep the wildlife out of the village that was right next door. Bad news for the deer. Good news for the Jackal.
The deer didn’t have anywhere to go and the jackal quickly ran out of the woods after the deer
The deer put up a valiant effort and with some pretty skillful dodging a weaving he did manage to get away… but just for a while. The Jackal was just too quick for the deer and he was eventually able to bite into the deer’s ear and pull its head to the ground. The deer was pretty tall compared to the Jackal so he needed to get its neck lower in order to get its mouth around it to suffocate it.
See the final kill after the break
There was a lot more struggle. The deer was kicking and jumping around but the Jackal had a firm grip and wasn’t about to let go this time. It was clear. The end was near…
… the spotted deer eventually stopped fighting. The Jackal hung on for a few more moments to make sure the deer didn’t get up and run away on him again.
The Jackal then tried to drag his prize off the road into the jungle to enjoy his dinner without being bothered by the constant sound of camera shutters.
Just as he got the kill to the side of the road another vehicle came by and scared the Jackal off the kill again. This guy just can’t get a break. We could still see the Jackal hiding in the trees so we knew he’d be back as soon as the noise from the vehicles passed. He worked too hard to leave it now.
The deer gave a few last kicks and then laid silent. We left the deer there so the Jackal could come back and eat its kill in peace.
Seeing a kill on safari is something that is always on the top of a wildlife photographers list. It’s an experience that is rarely seen except for the National Geographic photographers who have the time and money to spend months at these parks waiting for the perfect moment. It’s something you hope to witness but yet is always sad to see. So goes the circle of life.