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Tiger Tops Karnali Lodge Featured in the latest edition of Porschist Magazine

THE EYE OF THE TIGER

Nepal has a lot of national parks. One of the largest parks, and also the most remote, is the Bardia National Park.This nature reserve in southwestern Nepal is unspoilt and has only been discovered by a few tourists.The park covers 968 square kilometres of jungle,grassland and savannah. It contains more than 400 different species of birds and many species of mammals. However, what really makes the park special is the large populationof rhinos and Bengal tigers that live there. Two species that are threatened with extinction.We have especially set our sights on that tiger.

We stay in the Tiger Tops Karnali Lodge - a fantastic location in the middle of the jungle at the same time as some Dutch scientists. They are there to study the behaviour of the tigers. "We wish you luck," they say. "We have been coming here for many years and know from experience that sightings of tigers are extremely rare." For two days we tour the park by jeep. We enjoy the beautiful landscapes and spot many animals: monkeys, deer, crocodiles, colourful birds and even a rhino. All great experiences, but there is no sign of the tiger anywhere. Will we not succeed after all?

There is only some twenty metres between us and the Bengal tiger.

On our last day, Kumal, our ranger, wakes us early in the morning. He has discovered fresh tiger tracks. However, the place where he has seen them can only be reached on foot. We are unsure. Should we do that? On foot through the jungle? Our brain says no, but our eagerness decides yes. So, with clammy hands, we follow our guide through the tall bushes, a guide only armed with a sturdy stick. That is not very reassuring. After a long struggle through the jungle, we end up at the edge of a river. "Let’s wait here for a moment," says Kumal. We squat and peer to the left and right, our hearts pounding. We feel extremely vulnerable, living prey in a world that is not ours. Half an hour later, we hear rustling on the other side. A tiger's head suddenly pops out of the tall grass. The animal strolls calmly down to the river to drink. What a colossal animal, is the first thing that comes into our minds. And the second: can a tiger swim? Because there is only some twenty metres between us and the super cat. We admire the gigantic muscle mass, the beautiful orange-brown fur with black stripes and white spots and the flexibility with which the animal moves. A Bengal tiger is the second largest tiger species. A shoulder height of one metre and a head-body length of up to three metres. That's bigger than a lion! Other tigers appear. Clearly younger ones. We watch breathlessly. They disappear again after 10 minutes. Still stiff from the adrenaline and not yet completely aware of what we have justseen, we start the return journey. Another name for the Bengal tiger is king tiger. We fully understand why that is so..

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