I woke up early on 1st January 2015 to see a male gaur disappearing down the road from our room. Feeling particularly adventurous, I grabbed up my camera to see if I could get a shot from a safe distance.
When I got round the bend, I looked down the road and found no trace of the gaur. I had just hastened my pace to see if it had made its way across the stream onto a perpendicular road when, less than a nine-yard sari away, I found myself staring squarely into the face of stately, but rather severe looking, Bos gaurus.
Silently tucked away in a cranny off the main road, looming like a spectre, sporting horns that looked like they could influence quite a painful bottom, it watched earnestly as I reached deep down into my larynx to squeak my friendliest ‘hello’, did the quickest about-turn of my life and ‘walked’ away as unperturbed as my feet would allow me to pretend to be.
Obviously Boss bore me no ill will for coming upon him so suddenly, because a few minutes later he had come back down the same road he had left earlier, and stood no more than thirty feet from our room, allowing me to get a huge collection of shots before walking calmly away into the forest.
I watched in fascination how surely his white-socked limbs manoeuvred his huge bulk over paths that should be entirely too narrow to negotiate; thankful for such a special morning. His huge form got smaller and smaller until the might of the jungle swallowed him completely and I only had photographs to prove I hadn’t dreamt the whole thing.
The largest species of wild cattle, gaur have been known to live up to 30 years in captivity. With well developed hearing and eyesight, it is their sense of smell which is their most remarkable power.
P.S. I have reason to believe this gaur liked my pheromones. 😉