Tapan Sheth and his Passion for Asiatic Lions

Tapan Sheth hails from Gujarat and has a great passion for wildlife photography. He has an educational background in IT and runs a software and web designing company in Rajkot. This wildlife photographer and a passionate Asiatic Lions explorer, held his first camera to click pictures of his daughter and that was a pure eureka for him. The camera and Tapan discovered each other on that day. He then explored various genres of photography ever since and in no time, wildlife photography indulged in him completely with its charm and thrill. It happened so quickly that even before he knew, he was in love with Asiatic Lions. This added a new meaning to his existence as a wildlife photographer. Tapan feels that some of these lions recognize him, he can say it from their gaze !! He feels at home when goes right in front of them. Tapan Sheth opens up with WildAlerts and shares his knowledge and experience. Let’s read about his journey through his words…

Why do you love Asiatic Lions and how old is your love for them?

Asiatic lions have everything from legacy to unity, love for family to bonding with the cubs, strategies to hunt survive to remaining calm.

Asiatic lion is world famous and of course primary reason is that they exist nearby my own place in entire world. When I have seen lion in the wild for the first time, I have got mesmerized. Then it never remained just an animal for me but they’re reason of teaching me lessons of life. Their legacy, their unity, their love for family, they bond with their cubs, they strategies to survive and their calmness in every situation. These all reasons make me motivated and turned into reason to visit Gir again and again to wave hello to them and every time I found it new. It’s like I visited Gir for the first time for a family vacation and now they are like a family to me.

Also Read : Interesting Conversation with historian chef and a wildlife photographer

How different are they from African Lions and any other Big Cats of India?

Asiatic Lion’s mane is sparse and short and have long-running longitudinal fold of skin under their bellies.

If we compare the size, African lions are big in size compare to Asiatic lions. Their mane is its sparse and short mane with its ears visible.

Asiatic lions have thicker elbow tufts and a longer tail tuft than African lions, and the most unique characteristic of the Asiatic lion is a long-running longitudinal fold of skin under their bellies, which rarely seen in African lions. Asiatic lion hardly lives in pride, they seen with pride mostly when matting or large kills, mostly they found with other male partner, so they can cover the larger territory area, when African prides always seen with one prominent male always.

Have you ever witnessed any not-so-common behavior of Asiatic Lions in the wild?

Unconventional way of holding the cub: Lionesses are usually known for carrying their cubs by clenching onto their neck. But in this rare moment, she is holding her baby with one leg.

Oh it was a great day, I always wanted to capture a click where lioness carrying a cub in her mouth and after 8 years of waiting I was finally managed to click that moment. And luckily it was a rare moment like generally they do carry cub with their neck in mouth and this mother carrying a cub with her leg, it’s rare and hardly few photographers having photographs of Asiatic Lioness carrying a cub in her mouth.

What conservation efforts are being done in Sasan Gir and how do you contribute to them?

Conversation is just not about being part of it but contributing anything to not harm the environment is also conservation.

Conversation is just not about being part of it but contributing anything to not to harm environment is conservation for me. There are many conservation activities going on in Sasan Gir by forest department for conserving lions and their habitat, like awareness program to promote interaction with locals, helping local to serve tourists as guide and drivers, ever year nature education camps. These are the activities which helps others to education about lions and resolve the conflicts too. Well-equipped rescue centre and trained staff. Use of modern technology to monitor the movement collared lions also educating people to avoid human – lion conflict.

Do you plan to pass on your experience and knowledge of Asiatic Lions with others?

I love to, and I always try my best to share my experience with others and share more info about this majestic animal. I have some future plans about few things, but let’s not talk about it and let it be surprise.

Any untouched or unexplored knowledge about Asiatic Lions that you wish to know?

There is a lot to learn with each trip.. it’s a never ending process as animals keep on surprising.

There are many things, like in every trip to Gir, I learn new things about Gir. So it’s always new learning with each trip to Sasan Gir.

Tell us about your personalized tour to Sasan Gir, it’s features and take away.

Mostly, I do visit Gir alone or with my close friend, but I also help others who wants to arrange a customized tour to Sasan Gir. I am not much commercially into tour operating, but for selective ones I do arrange customized tours to Gir.

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