Macaque fielding at slip, Bandipur!

Srikanth Sarathy

Srikanth Sarathy

The highlight of a rather rainy trip to Bandipur in April 2012 came from a rather unexpected source. With Bandipur’s famed carnivores declining to give us an audience, the little bonnet macaques decided to put on a show for us on our last safari!

We were on our way out post the afternoon safari and right at the exit, in a large open meadow, we stopped to check out some bonnet macaques. Especially since one of them had a little baby. The rain had stopped and the macaques seemed quite relaxed.

Till suddenly, one of them leapt in the air and grabbed at something. And then they all suddenly dashed around like they were possessed, repeatedly jumping and plucking at something in the air. Termites! And it all went slightly out of control as they all hared all over the place, jumped and plucked but no one seemed to catch anything.

Then our eyes fell on one guy standing away from the madness, looking painfully apologetic at his comrades’ lack of technique and finesse. He then proceeded to show us how it should be done. He stood, hands on knees, waited till a termite came close and in a fluid jump, languidly reached out and plucked it out of the air. It disappeared down his throat and the hands were back on the knees. He caught a fair few this way and then, ego and stomach both boosted, walked away into the bush.

So if you chance upon a simian taking a one handed blinder in next season’s IPL, you know who discovered him!

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