wilderness digest cover

Volume 20 - July 2021

“Psst! Over here… You want some of the good stuff?”

An encounter with a dodgy jungle salesman

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“I can tell by the look in your eyes that you’re looking for that special something, and it’s your lucky day… I’ve got it! Premium grade Cobra venom, freshly killed, not even half an hour old. One drop and POOF! All your troubles vanish. Buy now and I’ll throw in a pair of Cobra fangs and Cobra pearls too. What’s that? There’s no such thing as Cobra pearls? Well, well, well, not just a pretty face eh? Alright, alright you got me. I’ll tell you what, since I like you, I’ll give it to you cheap. Gimme two freshly killed Rats and a week old rotting carcass, any carcass, and we’ll call it a done deal… how does that sound?”


Fun Facts

“What? Give it for free? What do you think I am? One of those shameless Civets that pretends to be a tough guy? I’m a Ruddy Common Mongoose! Look at my brown coat with black and white specks, I’m the real deal! My kind is so fearless and hardcore, we are nowhere near the endangered species list like those other wusses. Hah! In fact, we’re so hardcore, some Humans keep us as pets… I mean protectors of their homes! So do we have a deal? No? Well you know where to find me if you change your mind.”


Story of the photo

This image was taken at the Mahoora Tented Safari Camp in Yala by one of our Naturalists. He is a regular visitor to the campsite, and is usually found foraging among the camps, posing for photographs and generally trying to entice people into a shady deal.


“What do you mean you forgot the Earthworms?”

Shopping-list shenanigans of a Crimson-backed Flameback.

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“Well honey, you see…”

“Don’t you well honey me Stefan Percival Flutterwings! I told you clearly to go get six juicy earthworms for our little one and what do you do? Dance the merry devil with your friends and come waltzing back here as if everything has been taken care of. How do you think our baby is going to grow up to have the gorgeous crimson upperparts, black-scaled pale underparts, and a magnificent crested head like we have? With good nutrition, that’s how! Honestly, if I don’t go do it myself, nothing gets done. Now sit here and look after our baby while I scrounge up some food.”

Fun Facts

“Oh and Stefan dearest, who was that I saw you hobnobbing with on that Jack tree? Richard!? It was NOT Richard. It was a woodpecker with a black crest! Even our three day old baby knows that Males have red crests and females have black ones. I better not see you with her again! I can track you by your distinct high pitched trilling, so don’t think you can hide from me Stefan. Now sit here like I told you and wait till I get back!”

“Yes, dear.”

Story of the photo

This action packed photo was taken right outside the Mahoora Tented Safari Camp in Yala. Although they do look like they’re arguing, they are a loving couple and have raised a couple of chicks in the same location and seem to have made it their permanent home now.


Adapt to survive!

A survival guru’s sermon to the masses

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“How can YOU get out of the endangered list of birds and animals? I, Rodney the Changeable Hawk Eagle, will tell you how! First, you will need a pair of wings. If you don’t have any, talk to my friend the Ruddy Mongoose, he will hook you up. Next, use your wings to fly and soar. Don’t let a few broken bones and lack of an aerodynamic body stop you. Keep trying and one day you will fly! Now, anything you spot from high above is potentially prey, and the rule is - if you can grab it and fly, it’s prey. Don’t be picky and choosy. Eat everything. I, myself, eat small mammals, reptiles and other birds. Cannibalism, shmannibalism. The key word is survival. Remember that! Now, as you fly and soar, travel to other parts of the country and make everything your territory. Don’t get stuck in one place like a Water Buffalo or you may become extinct or worse…domesticated!”


Fun Facts

“Adaptability starts in the egg! My species was inspired by the Black Panthers who are just Leopards with darker fur. So we evolved to have darker and lighter variants too and hence the name, Changeable. Because of this we can better blend into our surroundings for improved hiding and hunting! Now, if you are unable to lay eggs... evolve! Pro tip when it comes to laying eggs - lay just one and get it right the first time, it’s easier to look after and protect. My species is living proof of that! So, have I aroused your interest in the survival game? Good! Sign up now for my advanced course and find out more survival secrets!”


Story of the photo

This gorgeous but grumpy advocate of all things survival, was photographed on the borders of the Mahoora Tented Safari Camp in Udawalawe by Hasitha Kamalanath. 


Hold the stretch and don’t forget to breathe!

Dropping in on a yoga class for leopards

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“Now this one is called the Upward Facing Leopard. It’s great for stretching out your forelimbs and strengthening your back. It’s always good to have a strong back if an encounter with a buffalo goes wrong! Hold this pose for 5 to 6 breaths and move into the Leopard Warrior Pose, this pose will help to strengthen your final paw swipe as you chase down that deer and take out its hind legs. Good, now let’s practice crouching in the bushes by getting into the Leopard Cub Pose. There you go and see how relaxing it is? Don’t forget to breathe! Use this when you are out hunting and you will be amazed at the clarity of thought you achieve just before you attack.”


Fun Facts

“You can practice yoga anywhere. On the ground, in the trees, one top of a mountain, near the Mahoora Tented Safari Camp; there’s literally no wrong place. It is also a myth that it won’t build your muscles. Look at me. I’m one of Yala’s biggest male leopards and I do yoga all the time. Not only has it helped me build size, it has also boosted my confidence. I go where I please, I get along with everyone I meet and I get plenty of mates too *wink*. You too can be the boss of your jungle with the confidence of Leopard Yoga, so spread the word my dear feline friends!”


Story of the photo

Hasitha got a great shot of this large male stretching and getting ready for his early morning territory inspection in Yala National Park. This is one of the largest males in the Park and is called “Y Kotiya” by the rangers.