wilderness digest cover

Volume 18 - May 2021

The lure of a thousand eyes

The mesmerising charm of the Playboy Peacock

May2021 1

A thousand eyes turn and dance

A lovestruck soul, enchanted in a trance

The day softens, emotions flow
Where and when cease to exist, feelings grow
Strong, unstoppable, driven to certainty 
An iridescent curtain of eyes, drapes delicately
Eyes to keep out eyes, from a moment so intimate
Every soul in the world can relate
The spell breaks, and they part ways without a glance
A thousand eyes, again, turn and dance...


Fun Facts

In the world of the Indian Peafowl, size really does matter, and with good reason! During the mating season, Peahens traditionally prefer to mate with Peacocks with the largest displays and - although this may seem superficial - there appears to be sound evidence behind it. Research has revealed that Peacocks with more ornamentation, fathered offspring with healthier weight, better survival traits and greater intelligence. Probably one of the few instances, ever, where it’s good to be the biggest showoff!


Story of the photo

Mahoora photographer Shiraz Hameed captured this intimate moment at Yala National Park in close proximity to the Mahoora Tented Safari Camp. Entranced by the sheer beauty of the Peacock, he almost forgot to click his camera, but fortunately for all of us, he got this gorgeous shot!


“Pardon me, is there room in your tent for two?”

Answering the door to a Sri Lankan Junglefowl.

May2021 2

“Oh I say, your tent is rather large! The entire Junglefowl population of Yala could fit in here! But I digress, allow me to introduce myself, Wimalasena Worthington, the Sixth. I must apologise for my rather bedraggled appearance. I normally detest being out in the rain, but circumstances are such that I had to. I probably look like one of those common domestic chickens don’t I? I don’t? Oh you’re too kind. Well I suppose diverging from a common ancestor 2.8 million years ago does have its privileges. I’d rather be in the jungle soaking wet, but proudly independent, in this gorgeous orange and red plumage with purple-black wings, than be sheltered in a coop and decked out in drab white like those sellouts. I know they’re jealous. Especially of my golden mane, and my beautiful wattle. I mean, those plebs couldn’t even manage a splash of colour!”


Fun Facts

“Oh yes, the reason I’m out here. Well, it’s the eggs you see. They’ve hatched. I have a new brood and the little terrors are loud and hungry all the time. So loud! I just needed to get away from all that chirping for a while, even in this downpour. What’s that? Who’s looking after them? Ah, well my brothers of course. You see, we Junglefowl are Polyandrous. My wife and I are mated, as I am the Alpha Male, but the rest of the family group is formed by my brothers. So they forage for food and guard the nest. Takes a lot of responsibility off of me. Oh look, the rain is stopping. Time for me to go dry off and get back to my little... cherubs. Cheerio!”


Story of the photo

This gorgeous picture of a bedraggled Jungle Fowl was taken by Shiraz, right in front of his tent inside the Mahoora Tented Safari Camp in Yala. Even when it is soaking wet, the bird manages to pull off a stunning look!


“Go ahead, make my day…”

“One wrong move and my friends Smith, Wesson and I are gonna show you what happens to people who end up in the wrong part of the jungle with some Sri Lankan wild buffaloes.”

 May2021 3

 “The name’s Dirty Harry and no, it doesn’t have anything to do with me rolling in the mud. You look like a nice guy, so take this advice from me: never mess with a wild buffalo, ‘cause you never know who you’re messing with! Some of us are just plain old farm buffaloes taking a break in the jungle before getting back to work. Some of us, well our ancestors used to be on a farm a long, long time ago but now, we’re jungle born and bred. And then there’s some of us that were never tethered, and never bowed down to any man or beast. So… who do you think you should be scared of? Trick question son. All of us!”


Fun Facts

“We’re always watching you… and everything around us. We don’t let up. It’s the only way to survive. Even when we’re submerged in water to get away from the parasites and flies, we’re keeping an eye out... for the nasty croc lurking on the riverbank, the big cat that’s stalking us from the bushes or the human who thinks he’s gonna turn us into buffalo steak! So if we see them or you, we charge and take the threat down. Now see, when that happens… wild buffalo, one tonne of pure muscle, charging at you at full tilt, you've got to ask yourself just one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?”


Story of the photo

Shiraz had set off on a safari from the Mahoora Tented Safari Camp in Yala into Block 5 of the Park, where he encountered this hefty buffalo. The creature proceeded to give the stink eye to our photographer, possibly because he was annoyed that he was being stared at, whilst having lunch. 


Fun loving young female, looking for a strong, sensitive male with a sense of humour

Online dating profile of a young Leopard.

 May2021 4

Name: Strawberry
Age/Sex/Location: 3 Years, Female, Wilpattu
Interested in: Males


A little bit about myself:

This is the first time I’m doing this online dating thing, so it’s a bit scary. I’m 3 years old, fun loving, an avid tree climber and a great deer hunter. I’ve been living in my mum’s territory all my life, but she just had a new litter and as much as I love my new brothers and sisters, I need my own space. I’m looking to move out and get a territory of my own, nothing too big, just 100 acres or so with a lake and a nice view. My ideal male would be big and strong, a real Leopard’s Leopard, but also sensitive and finds time to listen and understand his mate. My best features are my eyes, or so I have been told, and my spots, which are awesome when it comes to camouflage games.


Fun Facts

I love working out! Recently I got on a strict lean-down diet and scared all the rangers and even the people at the Mahoora Tented Safari Camp. They all thought I was starving and going to die. LOLS. I was just getting my body fat down before I packed on some sweet muscle, in all the right places. I’m really happy with the shape I’m in right now!


Story of the photo

This pretty leopard was gracious enough to pose for Shiraz when he passed by during his safari in Wilpattu National Park. She didn’t seem startled at all by the noise of the jeep and even seemed quite curious about the device with the funny clicking noises being pointed at her.