In April 2017 I spent a few days in Singalila National Park, a mountain reserve straddling India and Nepal, trying to find Red Panda, until then my most-wanted mammal in the World. The trip was organized by Jonathan Rossouw and his wife Giovanna Fasanelli, from Apex Expeditions. The three of us stayed at a small hostel, beautifully located in the middle of the rhododendron mountain forests that cover most of the reserve, and every day we spent most of our time looking for pandas with the help of local trackers. Red pandas look very brightly-colored, but are surprisingly well-camouflaged against the reds and tans of their dense forest habitat. In six days of full-time searching we just found two specimens, both male. Luckily, there was great birding to be had in the area and it never got dull.
After Singalila, I spent three days at Pench reserve in central India, famed for its Tiger and Leopard sightings. I was unlucky and didn’t see any cats, but did get some great views of a pack of Dhole, an animal I had wanted to see for a long time.