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In search of the Tiger’s Roar

Nature, Series 5 Episode 5 of 8

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 31 January 2012

Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson travels to India, to capture the sounds of the forest and the spine tingling roar of a Bengal Tiger.

Chris is leading a team of wildlife sound recordists on this quest. They travel to Corbett National Park which was established in 1936 as Asia's first National Park. It stretches over some 1300 sq km. in the foothills of the Himalayas in the state of Uttarakhand.

The park is named after the legendary hunter, naturalist and author Edward James Corbett, better known as 'Jim Corbett'. Author of 'Man-Eaters of Kumaon', Corbett spent many years killing tigers and leopards before concern about their future and that of their habitat, led him to playing a key role in establishing the National Park.

Today the Park is home to a rich and diverse range of wildlife including over 100 Bengal tigers. To help them, the team have several local guides; who are not only skilled in the art of tracking tigers; knowing what signs to look for; like scats on the ground, scratch marks on the trees, and perhaps most importantly, knowing how to listen to the forest and use the alarm calls of other animals such as the peacocks and samba deer to help track the tigers. It might sound easy enough but as Chris and the team discover, it's far more difficult than it sounds.

In their search for tigers, they play a game of 'Grandmother's footsteps' with a pair of elephants, encounter crocodiles in a river, are puzzled by something that sounds like rain but isn't, and record the unusual barks of Hanaman Langurs in the forest. As for recording the roar of a tiger, they need skill, patience and, a bit of good luck.

Producer Sarah Blunt.

  • Sound Recordings

    NATURE was narrated and recorded by wildlife sound recordist, Chris Watson. Additional sound recordings were by Rick Blything, Alistair Darley and Alex Tobin who had travelled to India on a Wildeye sound recording course and Harsha, one of their guides in Corbett National Park.

  • Wildeye

    To watch a video from a previous sound recording trip to India and see some of the techniques used, follow the link below:

  • Chris Watson recording in Corbett Tiger Reserve

    Chris Watson recording in Corbett Tiger Reserve

    Image courtesy of Chris Watson.

  • Corbett Tiger Reserve, India

    Corbett Tiger Reserve, India

    Image courtesy of Chris Watson.

  • A Bengal Tiger

    A Bengal Tiger

    Image courtesy of Max Lister.

  • Close-up of Bengal Tiger

    Close-up of Bengal Tiger

    Image courtesy of Max Lister.


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