Look before you book: This app helps you spot tigers during safari tours

With the ever increasing love of travel and adventure, more and more Indians are now opting for vacations in and outside the country. While some choose locations to relax and take a break from their fast lives, others want to see new things, meet new people, and try different cuisines. There’s another lot, the ones who have an unquenching thirst for adventure.

No matter the kind of vacation you are looking for, coming back with some memorable photographs is a must in every case. But when it comes to wildlife safaris, people enter the forest reserves with high hopes of spotting a tiger or a leopard, but often leave with disappointing having seen none. Many call it luck, while others don’t go on safari tours in the right time for spotting a big cat.

Solving this problem is WildTrails, a smartphone application which gives details of sightings of all species (not just tigers), across most of the top national parks and reserves in India.

This app gives complete details of sightings of all species through data mining. After data analytics on these sightings they come up with a Sighting Index metric which can predict well on what the chances are of sighting a particular species in a given sanctuary for a given zone during a given time period. This process will greatly enhance one’s sighting probability. The app also reveals where and how recently big cats were spotted in various parks in India.

Manjunath Gowda, the CEO of WildTrails, says, “The number of people interested in wildlife tours looking for big cats has increased drastically over the last few months. More so for the tiger and the black panther and of course, most want to know which is the right sanctuary to visit and how are the sightings in those respective parks. WildTrails wildlife holiday app fulfills this customer need by analysing sightings data that is gathered every day. We end up calculating the Sighting Index (R) of a given species over a given period of time which gives a good sense of which park, which zone to go to while looking for these big cats. Of course, we also book the right trips using this data.”

While most Indians know that the Bengal tiger is the national animal of India what is less well known is that besides the Bengal tiger, India is also home to a number of other species of big cats — Asiatic lion, Indian leopard, snow leopard, and the Clouded leopard and some more. However, these five species of big cats are relatively easy to see in the 50 tiger reserves in India, yet many in India have gone on several wildlife safaris without seeing even one big cat.

The most elusive big cats are snow leopards and clouded leopards. While snow Leopards can be seen in the Himalayan mountains, specifically in Ladakh and Dachigam in Kashmir, to spot a clouded leopard one must visit the forests of the northeast such as Manas and Buxa. Despite the remoteness of these regions, the Wildtrails app claims to be a helpful companion that can increase the likelihood of seeing these most elusive of big cats.

“If the sightings of the wild animals is made sure, then of course it will be easier for a photographer to shoot pictures. Photographers wait days and nights to capture a perfect shot, it will also save money. But, however, it’ll also take away the thrill and anticipation from wildlife photography,” opines Ujjal Debnath, a professional photographer, upon about the application.

Those with the knowledge of wildlife have said that for every big cat a person sees, 10 big cats see the person without being spotted!