Profile

My interest in mammals began at a very early age when my parents always encouraged me to love and respect wildlife. At home we were never without a pet cat and since those early years my continued love and fascination towards wildlife has grown and developed with a particularly strong affinity towards the conservation and photography of ‘big cats’-principally the tiger. The photograph on the right is of myself in 2008 with a young rescued leopard well on its way to recovery and which has since been successfully released into the wild at Ranthambhore in India.

The tiger in the photograph below is known as B2 or ‘Sundar’ and he was for many years the dominant male tiger of the Tala range which is open to tourists at Bandhavgarh tiger reserve in India. He was the first wild tiger that I sighted

Michael Vickers

Michael Vickers

while on a safari to Bandhavgarh and Kanha tiger reserves in November 2001. He was resting in a nala (dry river bed), full from having eaten some of the kill he had made earlier. Sadly B2 passed away on 20 November 2011-he will be geatly missed.

Since 2001 I have travelled regularly each year to different areas of India to photograph tigers in their natural habitat. In 2003 I visited Panna – apart from tigers, it too has a variety of interesting wildlife; a trip on the Ken River there was to reveal Mugger Crocodiles basking on the sandbanks and plentiful birdlife.

In 2004 and 2005 my time was spent at Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, a beautiful park set against the backdrop of a large fort said to be over 1,000 years old. Ranthambhore has three large lakes and on my first visit I was thrilled to witness a young male tiger charging a small number of Samba deer into the shallows of the Ragbagh lake (due to the time of year the water in the lake was quite low). The inexperienced youngster was unsuccessful but what an amazing scene!

Also in 2005 I travelled to the Virunga Volcanoes in Rwanda where I tracked through dense vegetation in search of the endangered mountain gorillas. Over a period of two days I was in the presence of two habituated groups of gorillas. Leaving Rwanda I travelled to Kenya visiting Sambura and the Masai Mara wildlife reserves where the sightings were amazing – the photographic opportunities were wonderful.

In 2006 and 2007 all my wildlife photography has centred on India and my passion for tigers. In October 2006 early one morning at Bandhavgarh, I was travelling by jeep rounding a bend on the track and came across the ‘Chakradhara’ tiger family slowly walking towards us. The family comprises four sub adult tigers (about 24 months of age), their mother and their father B2, Sundar. This was the last time that I saw all six tigers together as the youngsters would soon leave the family group to find home ranges of their own. However, on elephant in April 2007, I was surprised to find and follow the same tigress with her three sub adult cubs, into the forest where I witnessed the immature female cub charge and kill a young Chittal deer only to lose it to her brother; he in turn finally lost possession of the carcass to their father, B2, who seemed to appear from nowhere!

During 2008 I have visited Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Ranthambhore and Corbett National Parks on four separate occasions, and have enjoyed some wonderful tiger sightings.

In 2009 my first visit to India was to Ranthambhore in March and followed by Bandhavgarh in May/June. Towards the end of the year I spent three weeks split between Pench, Kanha, and Bandhavgarh continuing my quest of photographing the magnificent Bengal tiger in its natural habitat.

My first visit to see the tigers in 2010 was to Ranthambhore in March/April. At this tiger reserve I always look forward to seeing ‘Machali’ the tigress that I have regularly seen on previous visits to the park. I am delighted to say that I was not disappointed – each time I entered the reserve on the route where her home range is located I was lucky to see her. Now, at thirteen years of age with only one canine and few incisor teeth remaining she is still able to survive and regularly tiger photographer makes kills to sustain herself. During my time at the reserve I was fortunate to see a number of different tigers including two mature males (one on a kill). I also spent a few hours watching two young sub-adult tiger cubs cooling themselves in a pool and later on a kill. At the end of May/early June I visited Bandhavgarh where I was saddened by the tragic and untimely death of the Jhurjhura tigress. However I was able to photograph my ‘old friend’ B2 together with a number of other tigers and the two young cubs of the Siddhababa tigress. In August together with a small group of photographers I spent 1 week at Katmai National Park in Alaska photographing the Brown Bears that were intent on catching fish during the annual salmon run. I hope that my travels to India and ‘the land of the tiger’ will continue in future years and photographs from my wildlife journeys can be seen in the “Picture Gallery ” section of this website.

More information on my most recent tiger travels can be found by following this LINK.