Leopard Cat Approaches a Camera Trap
by Samir Kumar Sinha
Leopard cat approaches a camera trap
I feel jealous looking at images of lovely cats in action on the Pictures-of-cats web site. The wild cats are not so crazy to be photographed, at least in the forest where I tried capturing them through the lenses on camera traps.
Of course, the wild cats of Valmiki Tiger Reserve, a less famous tiger sanctuary of India, are not so tourist friendly like the tigers and leopards of some other wildlife parks, where they even love to hunt before tourists storing the moments on memory cards of their camera.
My camera traps are triggered by sensing the heat of three elusive cat species - tiger, leopard and leopard cat in the reserve.
Most of the time, they seemed unhappy with the camera flashlight, I guess. Once, a leopard moving in front of the camera trap was photographed. He returned to see-who clicked?
The camera was programmed to take photo at an interval of 5 seconds, so the fellow was again photographed while turning towards the device. He could see the photographer, the unmanned camera trap.
He approached the trap, covered the lens, leaving a close-up of the paw. He was frustrated, since he could not stop the camera triggering. He returned and sat in front of the camera, growled while looking at it and then moved forward - but left sequential photos and experience for me to share with you all.
My second subject was a small leopard cat, not so inquisitive like the leopard. As soon as the chap was triggered and flashed upon, it turned around at right angle and moved towards the camera.
Second trigger frightened the cat who fled without any delay. I saw the impression of pugmarks with claws out, clearly indicating the hurry!!!
My third subject was my most liked striped cat of the reserve, the tigress- I call her Triveni (meaning confluence of three rivers, in Hindi) since her territory lies in the area where three rivers Narayani, Sonha and Pachnad meet.
I like her because she was the first tiger I camera trapped in Valmiki almost 4 years back. Another reason is that she has given me the prized photographs of herself with two cute cubs, the first visual record of presence of breeding tigress in the reserve.
She secures a special place in my heart. She is cool, passes in front of the camera without any response. But, she ensures that my camera traps are functioning! Once, I placed the camera traps for several days on her regular trail. She was photographed almost every alternate day.
Interestingly, after a few days, when she came again, the batteries were exhausted by then. No photography!!! She was surprised!!! She took a pee on the camera trap and moved. She was puzzled.
The Asian leopard cat is the wild parent of the domestic Bengal cat