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  • “Undiluted, Unconditional motherly insticts”, Renowned Wildlife photographer Ratish Nair narrates the rarest of the rare

    Published on August 12, 2021

    My Heart in my mouth

    A mother’s love knows no bounds. She does all in her power to protect and nurture her off spring. This is just as true for feline mothers. While sighting the royal family of Bera is beyond special, my expedition to Jawai is invaluable because of the rarest of rare of sightings.

    Yes, I witnessed Ziya (The Queen, leopard from Bera) moving her young cubs (~25 to 30 day old) to a new hidden cave dwelling. Ziya has adapted so well to human presence in her territory that she predicts our movement with remarkable ease. Embodying the ghost, she appears and disappears at will.  What confounded us was that we could never spot Ziya when she scaled back up to fetch her cubs until she emerged at the main cave. Ziyahad fuelled up on food and water but a total of 6 trips (3 up and 3 down) while gently holding the cub in her mouth and scaling the treacherous terrain would surely have been exhausting. After scaling down the cactus path, Ziya paused with the  3rd cub on a landing nearby. Her eyes locked in on us, willpower and maternal love overpowering exhaustion. Those eyes mesmerized and that gaze hit me deep. She was in complete control of herself and had put the welfare of her young cubs above her discomfort. She embodied the spirit of the sacred feminine. Cubs as young as this are completely dependent on the mother for not only sustenance & protection but also movement. Their motor skills and vision are yet to develop properly and for the mother regularly moving them to a new cave is the only way to assure safety. In a few weeks from now, the cubs would have grown enough to walk and jump around thereby making it a little easier on the mother to care for them.