There are only a handful of places in the whole world where sighting of a Cat as elusive as a Leopard is a near certainty. At the first glance, the unassuming rocky hillocks in southern fringes of Rajasthan look the least like a wildlife sanctuary, leave alone giving a promise of Leopard sightings. As I travelled to this place and started scratching beyond the surface, things started becoming more evident.
Just around the time I got a long lens in 2013, I was looking to get some “cool shots’ of predators, and someone suggested me Bera to get Leopard shots. My first few years with Big Cats were not so good in terms of luck, and many times it happened if 5 people saw a Tiger in a safari I would be the only one missing it. So the offer of a near guaranteed Leopard sighting was too tempting for me to resist.
For a seasoned safari goer in wildlife parks, the first thing that strikes about Bera is that there are no typical jeep safaris. Yes, jeeps and cars are used, but only to transport you to the point of sighting. The Leopards find their abodes in hillocks like the below, and typically you would sit on an opposite hillock
The Leopards typically sleep inside the hillocks in the day, and go out to hunt or change places in the night. Early mornings and late evenings are the best times when they come out in the open to give darshan to souls like us who keep waiting for them. The hunts typically include stray dogs and local cattle sometimes. One very interesting thing about Bera is that the peaceful co-existence of man and animal for last many decades. There has not been a single case of a Leopard killing human or locals killing Leopard in last many years, which is remarkable considering that the habitats of Leopards and humans are interspersed with each other. The hillocks are adjoining several small villages with human population and the Leopards even go to these villages to pick up Dogs etc, but have never attacked any human. There are multiple sighting points of Leopards discovered by the localites spread across an area of over 400 Sq Kms. These were some of my remarkable moments at Bera
Once you are done with your Leopards, this place boasts of a beautiful bird life also along the banks of Jawai Lake. Here are some of my encounters.