Wild Encounters: An owl’s guide to going on safari

By: Ashish Parmar, 11 Jul, 2018

Afternoon naps are important. I dislike when I’m disturbed – and so do most of my fellow creatures. But in my experience, instead of creating a hoo(tttt)-ha and raising alarms, I think it’s nicer to call out bad behaviour, and give notes on how to be better. Here’s what I, your friendly owl in the wild, thinks about how you should behave when you visit – or are ‘on safari’, as I’ve heard some say. 


Remember that the jungle is my home

I know that you don’t have wings, and have to rely on a large what’s-it-called to roll into the jungle, but remember – you’re the visitor. Pick a suitable outfit, preferably one that doesn’t have flashy colours – leave those to the flamboyant birds trying to find a mate. You don’t want to be alarming. Same for odours – we’re all about au naturel smells and you should be, too. You should also stay inside your vehicle when you’re in the jungle to be safe. And if you spot an animal with wee babies, remember to be extra cautious –n you may seem like a threat.


What you looking at? 

It’s one thing to come, eager and ready, for the sighting of your life, and a whole other thing to scream and gawk like a bunch of baboons (no offense to them) when you spot a big cat. Remember that you’re looking at a fellow living being, one who’s letting you in on its day. Take a moment to study the mood and behaviour of the animal before going closer or pulling out your smartphone. You’re going to want to do this even more with creatures with good noses – the elephant, wild boar, sloth bear and Indian gaur use their sense of smell really well. I’d recommend patience and giving a wide cross-section of space. Let the animal get used to you before you point a lens in their direction. 


owl's story
Photo credit: Pkajornyot wildlife photography/ Shutterstock.com



The forest isn’t a quiet place. You’ll hear the rustling of leaves, the gurgle of a stream, a trumpeting elephant, the buzz of the bees and, of course, lots of birdsong. This, however, is a racket for the animals by the animals, thankyouverymuch, and there are no openings in this orchestra. Don’t make sounds to attract an animal, of course. That’s just disrespectful. We’re also way more used to the roar of an engine on muddy roads than we are to human frequencies, so cut the chatter. Keep the rustling of chips packets and other munchies out of the forest too. I can’t promise my feathered friends not partaking of your snack if you don’t. And remember, the forest is full of creatures – when you’re looking at one (and we don’t mean the mirror), stay alert and on the lookout for others too. And remember, we’re happy to have you. Just stay on your best behaviour.

This owl was helped very closely by wildlife photographer Ashish Parmar. Find out more about him at www.ashisparmar.com

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