Where Wild Cats Roam
Condé Nast Traveller India|February - March - April 2021
An African safari may not be on the cards, but luckily India has over 40 percent of the world’s wild cat species. From Himalayan snow peaks to Rajasthani deserts, Aarti Sheth Cooper shares her favourite tracking destinations.
Aarti Sheth Cooper

1 INDIAN LEOPARD In the wild, leopards are highly nocturnal hunters, built for stealth and strength rather than speed. Jhalana Safari Park (Rajasthan) has around 35 leopards within 23 sq km, while sightings of melanistic leopards (black panthers) have increased at Kabini Wildlife Sanctuary (Karnataka), which is also home to Asian elephants and over 250 species of birds.

Best time to visit: March through June are best at Kabini. At Jhalana, the shoulder season in March is optimal.

2 ASIAN LION The world’s 600-odd Asiatic lions are restricted to Gir National Park in Gujarat. Much smaller than their African counterparts, these animals are still majestic. Asiatic lions are also relatively easy to spot because of the dry scrub and rugged topography of Gir and their population density.

Best time to visit: November to March.

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