Deep within the lush greenery of Mahabaleshwar, I had an encounter with one of India's most captivating yet elusive creatures – the Shekru or Indian giant squirrel. That early morning, armed with my camera, what I experienced at MTDC Mahabaleshwar was nothing short of enchanting.
When one thinks of squirrels, the imagery that often comes to mind is that of a small, agile creature, darting about with its bushy tail. However, the Shekru is a revelation in itself. Boasting a length of up to 45 cm and a tail that rivals its body in size, this arboreal wonder is truly the 'giant' of its kind. But what truly sets it apart is its resplendent multi-colored fur – a rich palette ranging from deep reds and purples to creams and blacks.
Me and Jo woke up early at were taking in the early morning sun-in-the-cool-breeze. As sunlight pierced through the dense canopy, there it was - a Shekru, leaping gracefully from one tree to another. Its vibrant colors seemed even more striking against the backdrop of verdant green.
Thankfully I had the camera with me. It took a lot of patience and slow moving as to not scare it to get some nice shots. It jumped from branch to branch, foraging it's food. Then it climbed up to the higher branches and into the light! Each photograph felt like a story – a testament to the squirrel's survival, beauty, and grace.
For a photographer, every shot is a moment immortalized. But photographing the Shekru was not just about the aesthetics; it was about the narrative. The Indian giant squirrel, though not endangered, faces threats from habitat loss and hunting. Their very presence in a region indicates a healthy forest ecosystem.
The MTDC Mahabaleshwar region, with its conservation efforts and natural beauty, provides a haven for such creatures. And while my photographs capture a fragment of the Shekru's life, they also highlight the importance of preserving such habitats.
As we made our way back to the resort, the encounter with the Shekru felt surreal. It wasn't just about adding another photograph to my portfolio; it was about witnessing the splendor of nature up close.
For fellow photographers and wildlife enthusiasts, MTDC Mahabaleshwar offers a chance to observe and appreciate the Shekru in its natural habitat. And for me, it was a humbling reminder of the myriad wonders that India's biodiversity has to offer.
To the Shekru – the vibrant sentinel of Mahabaleshwar's forests – and to many more adventures that await.
If you're in the MTDC Mahabaleshwar region and love nature, keep your eyes peeled. You never know when you might encounter the mesmerizing Shekru. Just remember to maintain a respectful distance and ensure their safety and comfort at all times.---