The discovery of a Sambar kill in a streambed near Karaiyar during the festival, was followed with speculation and various versions of the story on of what might have happened in shadows of the night. We decided to zero in on the `actual’ by setting up a camera trap to see who comes to feed on the kill. Three of us got impatient and went to check out the camera in the middle of the night and almost walked into two glistening sapphire blue eyes of what we were sure was a leopard on the road! The next day, two more of us had a mysterious encounter with some animal yelping like domestic dogs and later stole a glimpse of 4 wild dogs bolt into the forest from the kill.
The exercise was indeed worthwhile as we caught a glimpse of life in jungle unfold under the cover of darkness especially on the night of `Amavasya’ a new moon night of the festival. The camera had beautifully captured the drama of life that may well be going on at this very moment as I sit in a concrete jungle to write this. The Sambar which was killed by a pack of dholes as we deduced from the clues, was fresh when we first saw it and there were a plethora of organisms from ants, millipedes, wasps and a zillion flies feeding on it. The night was taken over by a leopard which walked into the dry rivulet. It gorged a heavy free meal before being shown off by the dogs. The wild dogs, as we saw from the images were feeding from about 9pm to about 1 am and stopped for a while only to resume at 5 am again. This was indeed quite a lively and exciting drama put up by nature and played by some of its best actors.