A tiger shot on camera trap set up in Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve. | Photo Credit: Anjani Singamaneni
For Anjani Singamaneni, it was an unforgettable experience being involved in the first-ever documentation of tigers of Andhra Pradesh forests in association with the Andhra Pradesh Forest Department.
Most of the images which are on display on a two-day exhibition to mark the International Tiger Day at the Gallery 78, were camera traps that captured some of the rare moods of the tigers and some stunning frames of leopards too.
“I have been working on the project for close to one year, covering about 2700 sq km of the Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve with 3600 camera days with 10 cameras deployed right through the year at any given point at different locations, making visits every 20 days to check the equipment and documented 16 to 18 tigers in the reserve,” says Anjani, who interestingly runs a musical instruments store in Banjara Hills.
For someone who got hooked to wildlife photography in 2016 after beginning like many with aim and shoot cameras before graduating to DSLR cameras, Anjani says he also happens to be the first individual, assisted by his trusted hand Vijay Kumar, to engage in a project of such magnitude.
“We have covered almost about 2500 square km. And the most challenging aspect is that unlike the tigers in many other reserves like Tadoba, Pench or Bandhavgarh, these tigers are real wild ones and get disturbed even by the slightest movement of human beings and any vehicles too," Anjani said.
“The whole idea of holding this exhibition is to showcase the beauty of these tigers of our own State. And, unlike the tigers in the reserve forest which have a normal territory of about 30km, these in the Srisailam Reserve cover a distance of 200 km and the males often 250 km which also means mating is extremely difficult,” he explained.
“From our rough estimates, there should be at least about 80 tigers in the Srisailam Reserve though honestly we could get two tigers framed in different moods,” Anjani said.
“I was lucky to see the frequent movement of the leopards too which are normally more elusive than tigers even in the reserves. I also had the privilege of capturing a full family of porcupines in the camera,” he said.
“Sincere thanks to the AP Forest Department or else this would have remained a dream only,” he signed off.