India Trip 2012

Brian Weirum has a charitable organization entitled Fund For The Tiger, a California based 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization, which is tax deductable. As he explains it tigers are close to extinction because the Chinese have money and want tiger parts: furs, bones etc are worth a lot of money to them, and paying poachers to kill them is a lot cheaper than raising them on tiger farms in China.

Since 1996 he runs an annual Save the Tiger trip through Mountain Travel Sobek. I've always wanted to photograph tigers for my website so I invited both of my step-sons, Jason Kersten and Nicolas Frias to come with me to India and Nepal with Brian's charitable group to see if we could achieve that.

Our first stop was Bandhavgarh National Park in the state of Madhya Pradesh in central India. I had a huge lens that I carried around Africa and thought it would be equally effective snapping photos of tigers, but I was so wrong. Fortunately Jason, Nico and Brian loaned me some of their photos to show you here.

The Alpha Male Bamera the real king of the forest. Photo credit Brian Weirum © 2012

Photo Credit Brian Weirum © 2012

Tiger cub Photo Credit Jason Kersten © 2012

Tiger Cub Photo Credit Jason Kersten © 2012

Tiger Cub Photo Credit Jason Kersten © 2012

From India we flew to Nepal and went to the Tiger Tops Lodge in the Chitwan National Park. We didn't see any tigers there but we witnessed a dramatic fight between the Alpha Male elephants Shamsher GaJ and Valentino.

Shamsher Gaj Photo Credit Brian Weirum © 2012

His opponent Valentino, so named because he was first seen on Valentines day.

Photo Credit Brian Weirum © 2011

Valentino attacked Shamsher Gay and wounded him. Here is Shamsher after the attack. After this goring Valentino killed two more people and his tusks were sawed off. He then proceeded to kill two more elderly people by dragging them from their hut and trampling them. Thus he has now killed sixteen people and several elephants. The orders are now shoot to kill.

Photo Credit Brian Weirum © 2012

Shamsher was severely wounded. He lived for three weeks and expired. He was born and raised at Tiger Top and lived there for 31 years.

Here I am on top of Shamsher the day before he was gored.

Photo Credit Brian Weirum © 2012

And here we are, Jason Kersten, Nicolas Frias, me and Brian Weirum head of the Save the Tiger Fund at Tiger Top in the Chitwan Forest of Nepal.

Photo Credit, William C. Gordon © 2012