(TMU) – While most of us have only experienced jungles and their wild inhabitants through documentaries and social media, which, thankfully, has brought the wonders of nature into our homes.
Wildlife photographer Mithun, based in India, is one such person dedicated to bringing the mysteries of the jungles to life for those who may never be fortunate enough to experience the wild first-hand.
Born in the jungles of South India, Mithun grew up fascinated by wildlife and had a passion for big cats, leopards in particular.
He worked on ‘The Real Black Panther’ for Nat Geo Wild, which undoubtedly fueled his passion for the jungle and the big wild cats further. He now uses his knowledge in tracking big cats as well as leading exclusive, personalized private safaris.
Viewers were enthralled by his photograph of a leopard with a black panther standing behind her, and his post went viral quickly. The two wild cats are seemingly staring into the camera quite calmly, and was captured in a way that makes the panther appear to be the leopard’s shadow.
In an interview on social media, Mithun said: “I can still close my eyes and relive that moment every single day of my life. You don’t see that often. Probably an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. There was certainly a lot of waiting and patience that went into it. I had waited 6 days for this in the same spot since I could hear the panther and Cleopatra mating about 100 meters away in the thick undergrowth, but could not see them due to limited visibility. They had made a large kill and would not move until it was over. That is where the knowledge and years of experience of following and tracking the panther came in handy. I just had to wait at one of his favorite paths, since that was the place he would get her, since that was the edge of his territory, and this he did after 6 days. It was a fruitful wait, though. I could wait for 6 years for a moment like this.”
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The Eternal Couple . Saaya and Cleopatra have been courting since 4 years now and whenever they are together it’s a sight to behold. The forest comes alive as they trot nonchalantly in his fabled kingdom. Usually in the courting pairs generally it is the Male who takes charge and moves around with the female following close behind. But with this couple it was definitely Cleo who was in charge while the Panther followed. . This was shot on a surreal winter morning when a single Deer alarm led me to this breathtaking sight. . #kabini #love #leopard #nikon #wild #Natgeo #mithunhphotography #instagood #instadaily #jungle #bigcat #forest #wildlifephotography #nature #wildlife #blackpanther #melanistic #therealblackpanther #thebisonresort
He explained that the element of surprise is what he loves most about wildlife photography: ‘’You never know what you are going to encounter at the next bend. The woods are mysterious, and to unlock that is my passion. You could be waiting for days and months and years for that perfect shot. But when it happens, those few seconds are magical, and to live for after all that time. That is the beauty of wildlife photography.’’
Mithun’s life changed in 2009, when he got his first camera and captured a huge, magnificent male tiger, swimming through a flowing river. ‘’That was the moment I decided my way forward in life,” he said and continued:
“Although I love every form of wildlife and love my birds as well, big cats were always a fascination from the beginning. Leopards, in particular, were my first love. The agility, the grace of this feline on the trees just fascinated me to no end. I would spend hours watching them lazing on a tree with their little ones. Have named and followed their individual journey in Kabini for the last 12 years now. It all started with one of my favorite Leopards whom I called ‘Monk’ (a big male) and ‘Moon’ (the female), and their generation still going strong now.”
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Vigil on the tree top . A nervous Cleopatra keeps a close eye on the undergrowth where the Tigress Kismet had made a Deer kill. . On hearing the commotion of the hunt curiosity got the better of Cleo who was sitting in the bush stalking the same herd of Deer earlier. Hence she went inside to investigate only to run into Kismet who came out chasing her at full tilt and missed her by a whisker. Cleo managed to latch on to this tall Vertical Teak tree where she was made to spend the rest of the day with the sun beating down. . #kabini #wildlife #leopard #nikon #wild #Natgeo #mithunhphotography #instagood #instadaily #love #jungle #bigcat #forest #wildlifephotography #nature #thebisonresort
Wildlife photography is certainly not for the faint of heart. Indeed, apart from having your camera at the ready, plenty of patience is a must and having knowledge of your subject and the terrain provides a great advantage. Mithun’s advice: “It definitely has some dangers associated for sure. But if you know your limits and study animal behavior, which is the most important facet, then you have won half the battle. These beautiful creatures are generally more scared and shy than we think. Give them space and let them get comfortable with you and you realize how close and personal you can get with their world. The secret is patience and respect.”
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Sparkle in the Eyes . The soft monsoon light falling on his stunning black coat revealing his rosettes and his mesmerising eyes was truly a divine sight. . #kabini #love #leopard #nikon #wild #Natgeo #mithunhphotography #instagood #instadaily #jungle #bigcat #forest #wildlifephotography #nature #wildlife #blackpanther #melanistic #therealblackpanther #thebisonresort
Through his work, the photographer also became a conservationist and his mission is to support and create awareness for the conservation of leopards in particular because, he says, ‘’They are the most neglected of the big cats across the world and in danger because of conflict with humans on the edges of the forests. People need to realize the beauty and grace of this amazing feline and their very important role in the ecosystem.”
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Blue Whales Return to Spain’s Coast After Disappearing for 40 Years
Blue whales have been returning to the Atlantic coast of Spain after an absence of over 40 years in the region, when whaling industries drove the species to the brink of extinction.
Blue whales, which are the world’s largest mammals, had long disappeared from the region until the recent sightings.
The first was spotted off the coast of Galicia near Ons Island by marine biologist Bruno Díaz, who heads the Bottlenose Dolphin Research.
Another one of the majestic creatures was spotted the following year in 2018 and yet another in 2019. In 2020, two whales again made their return to the area.
It remains unclear as of yet as to why the creatures have returned to the area, but controls on local whaling industries are believed to play a role.
“I believe the moratorium on whaling has been a key factor,” Díaz remarked, according to the Guardian. “In the 1970s, just before the ban was introduced, an entire generation of blue whales disappeared. Now, more than 40 years later, we’re seeing the return of the descendants of the few that survived.”
Whaling had been a traditional industry in Galicia for hundreds of years before Spain finally acted to ban whaling in 1986, long after the blue whale’s presence in the region had faded away.
Some fear that the return of the massive sea mammals is a sign of global warming.
“I’m pessimistic because there’s a high possibility that climate change is having a major impact on the blue whale’s habitat,” said marine biologist Alfredo López in comments to La Voz de Galicia.
“Firstly, because they never venture south of the equator, and if global warming pushes this line north, their habitat will be reduced,” he continued “And secondly, if it means the food they normally eat is disappearing, then what we’re seeing is dramatic and not something to celebrate.”
Díaz said that while the data certainly supports this theory, it is too early to determine climate as the precise cause.
“It is true that the data we have points to this trend [climate change] but it is not enough yet,” he told Público news.
Another possibility is that the ancestral memory of the old creatures or even a longing for their home may offer an explanation, according to Díaz.
“In recent years it’s been discovered that the blue whale’s migration is driven by memory, not by environmental conditions,” he said. “This year there hasn’t been a notable increase in plankton, but here they are. Experiences are retained in the collective memory and drive the species to return.”
In recent years, researchers have found that migratory patterns are also driven by the cultural knowledge existing in many groups of species.
Researchers believe this type of folk memory, or cultural knowledge, exists in many species and is key to their survival.
A typical blue whale is 20-24 metres long and weighs 120 tonnes – equivalent to 16 elephants – but specimens of up to 30 metres and 170 tonnes have been found.