• info@naturebylennart.com

Monthly Archive March 2023

Pench: the largest and the smallest cat in the world in one day!

In March 2023 I had been traveling through India for about three weeks. From an unexpected start at the Taj Mahal, I went to the high Himalayas where I saw Snow Leopards and Pallas’ Cats. We then headed to the forests on the foothills of the Himalayas in North East India, close to the Bhutanese border, where we had an interesting week at Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary. So we had already seen a lot of beautiful things, but one specialty of India was still missing: the Tiger! I felt like I just couldn’t miss this iconic big cat so I planned a few days at Pench Tiger Reserve to spend my last week. In this reserve we would have a good chance of seeing a Tiger, but there was also supposed to be a black Leopard around. We wanted to see that one too of course. After the hardcore mammalwatching, it was now time for some classic safaris!

A week in Eaglenest

My journey to India started on March 1, 2023. After some obstacles, I managed to get to the high Himalayas where the Snow Leopards cooperated fantastically. I even managed to see my favorite small cat: the Pallas’ Cat! On Monday morning, March 13, Andreas and I were ready again at the small airport of Leh. As we had already become accustomed to, the safety check was again very thorough and I had to put all my electronics in different boxes. Maneuvering six boxes of expensive equipment plus a jacket and two bags would remain to be the least favorite part of my trip in India, but unfortunately there was no avoiding it. Taking many domestic flights also enabled us to make the most of our stay in India. Luckily I came through it without major problems.

Searching for a grumpy cat on the roof of the world

Earlier I wrote something about what led up to my trip to India and finally seeing the ‘grey ghost’ of the Himalayas: the Snow Leopard! However when I prepared for the trip, it turned out that it was also possible to see another new cat: the Pallas’ Cat! A friendly birder told me that there had been some very nice pictures of Pallas’ Cat taken in the town of Hanle last summer. This got my attention immediately because in my opinion Pallas’ Cat is the most special and attractive small cat in the world. I just love it with all the hair, the typical ‘grumpy look’ and the thick banded tail. The pictures from Hanle looked very nice indeed! However, it turned out to be difficult to get to Hanle as a non-Indian person and for a long time it was uncertain whether I would be actually able to get there. About a week before departure, however, I received confirmation that it would be possible to visit Hanle if we were to spend the night in another place called Nyoma. So that’s how the plan came together!

Finally on eye-level with the Grey Ghost of the Himalayas!

There are few animals I’ve been dreaming of seeing for as long as the Snow Leopard. It was not until quite recently that seeing a Snow Leopard seemed like something impossible. However, that changed when it became possible to see this big cat in Ladakh, India after spending days scanning the mountainsides with a telescope accompanied by local guides. Until then I only knew the Snow Leopard from the series ‘Planet Earth’, but suddenly I saw trip reports from people I knew that had seen a Snow Leopard! Around that time I started studying at the university and I decided then that I would make the trip to the Himalayas after my studies so I could see a Snow Leopard. Many a boring seminar was also used by me to read up on all the trip reports about Snow Leopards or to scour the websites of local tour companies to find an affordable trip. I even contacted a few local tour companies about a trip, but that never turned into anything real.