Sunday, April 08, 2018

Spotting a hyena

Took a road trip with a bunch of friends to Amruteshwar, a temple about 20 km ahead of Bhandardhara and at the base of Ratangad. We were able to find food in the night even at 10:30 and the people at Hotel Rujuta even picked out a good camping spot for us. In the morning, after getting Darshan at the temple, we decided to head back. The people in the hotel suggested that we drive around Bhandardhara, and visit Sandhan Valley before heading towards Thane. We felt that it was a good idea.

I knew the way to the valley so was walking ahead, with one friend close behind. The two others were lagging. On the outskirts of the village, much before the start of the valley, a freaking hyena walked out of the forest. At first I could not believe what I was seeing, it took me a couple of seconds to understand it was a hyena.

It was larger than a leopard, with a disproportionately large head. It had a horse like mane all down its back, kind of like a full body Mohawk. My friend came to where I was standing and pointed out the hyena to him. He instantly shouted out to the others "come quickly, there is a hyena here!". The hyena looked at us, and then gracefully bounded off.

When we came back I asked a tapri guy if there were hyenas in the forest. He said “kai?”. I said dog like spotted animal the size of a bloody donkey. He replied: “ho, hai na.”


Q: Did you take a photograph?
A: Nope, it happened too fast. Was too much in awe for the duration of the encounter, and even thought of capturing an image after it had disappeared.

Q: What other animals are there?
A: Deer, wolves, leopards and foxes

Q: How come the villagers don't know what to call it?
A: They are not native to the region, they were introduced by forest officers.

Q: Do they trouble humans?
A: Not really, but 15 chicken have disappeared so far.

Q: What time was it seen?
A: About 11:30ish, which is late in the day.

Q: Was it spotted?
A: No, it was striped.

Q: Why does not anyone laugh at hyena jokes?
A: Only hyenas laugh at hyena jokes

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