The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is a special, wild, magical place that spans a massive 5,520 km². The Nilgiri Hills contain some of the richest and most diverse stunted tropical montane forests on the planet. The reserve has produced and sustained many endemic species such as the Nilgiri tahr and Nilgiri marten.
that swings high above the ground is the elusive Nilgiri langur (Trachypithecus johnii). The Nilgiri langur is a very handsome black columbine primate with a striking golden mane. It is charismatic and curious. These primates are endemic to the Western Ghats in India, where they are distributed across the high slopes in the Shola forests. When you spend some time studying the wild Nilgiri langur, you quickly realize that what divides us as species is less obvious than what binds us together.
I love walking through their habitat. As I walk along, I tread lightly and breathe in the fresh scent of the moist forest floor. I proceed as if through a maze, finding narrow openings that allow passage through the dense forest growth. Often the mystery is deepened by the mists that cling to the hills. It is a lovely sensation to realize that I can smell or hear wild animals going about their lives very close by as I wander through their land.
I’ve had with these amazing creatures came from just sitting quietly with them from dawn to dusk. The time spent waiting for these special moments is what really makes a great wildlife photographer and filmmaker. There are hours of just waiting and waiting.
My SWAROVSKI OPTIK CL Companion binoculars are essential equipment to locate the langurs in the treetops and study their behavior. The power of clear vision opens up a world that was unseen until then. With my binoculars, I am able to watch every move of the langurs like I am right there with them.
These are very shy, highly intelligent, social animals who spend a lot of their time deep in the forests away from humans. They get used to my presence and eventually start going about their daily routines. Some of the young get very playful and curious. The family stays together while they groom themselves and forage for food, and while the young ones explore and play in the canopy. The most fascinating part is watching these fairly large primates swinging from tree to tree on slender branches and vines, which requires complex planning, calculation, foresight, and an intuitive grasp of precision.
As one long day came to an end, I picked up my camera to start back before dark. Then, I suddenly realized that I was not alone. was sitting, completely silent, just a few feet in front of me. When had he arrived? How had he got here without alerting me?
with his beautiful brown eyes, as if wondering, “who are you hiding from?”. The next twenty minutes were truly special. I struggled between trying to be in the moment and trying to shoot in the rapidly diminishing light. I could hardly contain my excitement; experiencing such beautiful moments with one of these special primates in a wild landscape is a dream come true.
Kartiki Gonsalves is a documentary filmmaker (Oscar-winning), photographer, and a Sony Artisan of Imagery, India. Her journey of exploration involves capturing the diversity of cultures and tribes across the world, along with the beauty of the natural world and biodiversity they share. Her focus is on discussing solutions and building greater awareness and a sense of responsibility toward environmental concerns, while showcasing success stories in conservation that instill hope. Her conservation philosophy is that human empathy transcends diversity and connects us all together in our environmental cause. She also seeks to give a platform to women and indigenous tribes, especially those working to conserve the planet. She founded Earth Spectrum in late 2018, which she infuses with her passion for adventure to bring new perspectives and a deeper public understanding of environmental and humanitarian issues.
Then you don't have to travel far. The most wonderful discoveries are often waiting just around the corner. We asked our Nature Explorers team about the most beautiful experiences they had in their area.
Who knows? Maybe you will discover unexpected wonders right at your doorstep on your next outdoors adventure too.