The Sambar deer is one among the “threatened list of species” of deer found in India. They are camera shy and dart into the lantena at the sight of a Jeep. However, one evening, we had a pleasantly surprising experience during our safari in the Tadoba Wildlife Sanctuary.

After driving through the forest for a while, we parked our Jeep near a stream and decided to take a break and wait. Just a few minutes later, a Sambar herd came down to have a drink. This was nothing unusual, just that the herd gave us a good glimpse of herd dynamics and behavior.

First, we saw a sub-adult male cross antlers with the dominant stag. However, he soon realized that he had bitten off more than he could chew and backed off. Thereafter in a show of strength we saw the dominant stag walk right to the middle of the stream to have his drink and later perch himself at the stream’s edge keeping an eye on the herd. Meanwhile, the fawns in the herd had their share of water and playtime in the stream while their mother kept a constant vigil over them. While we are not happy with the quality of wildlife photography because of the low light and backlit conditions, we found the wildlife experience quite interesting.