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Showing posts from February, 2020

Fruits of a Sign Survey

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Finding signs of wild animals in sandy stream beds, wide riverbanks, in dense forest understorey, often riddled with those of the domestic kind – the livestock – is like going on a treasure hunt. Every afternoon when we returned we sat under the warm winter sun listening to each other’s finds. I found a pile of scat on a boulder, full of hair, fluffed up because it was old and dry, and while I discussed my contemplation on the field to assign it to its rightful owner, my companions yelled their opinion at once: jackal hai re! Well, jackals do love relieving themselves on boulders, unlike cats that prefer to do so away from a pugdundee, or antelopes that have specific latrine sites.
There was an undeclared competition among us; if I said I found tiger’s pugmarks, one of my colleagues found water trailing another’s by the river, and another found a tigress with adolescent cubs! You could never win. This treasure hunt kept us engaged for the whole two months we were conducting occupancy…