Home > Blog > Tales, Inspiration, Adventure > Shaz Jung and the magic of the majestic black panther

Shaz Jung and the magic of the majestic black panther

Liked this post? Share it with others.

In the virtual world, things go viral within an instant. From a dance form to a picturesquely placed cup of coffee, a certain gesture of kindness to a thought-provokingly written piece. But you know so many of these things are not striking out merely because of a trend but because of their sheer and undeniable brilliance. Such has been the case of Shaaz Jung’s incredible photography of the black panther.

Our country is rich with wildlife and I wonder how much of it have we truly seen. A forest named Kabini in Karnataka is home to a number of marvels that we are slowly and increasingly starting to tap into. And now I have a feeling that many wildlife enthusiasts will be doing this more than ever all thanks to a photographer named Shaaz Jung. The world of animal lovers, the ones who obsess over photography and well, just about all of us, woke up to some of the most stunning photos ever of a black panther. This royal one named Saya stared back at us with green eyes and sigh, we couldn’t look away.

shaz jung photography
Source: https://www.naturalworldsafaris.com/shaaz-jung

Although you and I have only stumbled upon the splendid Saya just now, the photographer has actually been laboriously following her since the last 3 years! Meet Shaaz Jung a 31 years old property owner of a resort called The Bison in the Kabini area. In this span of roughly 1,095 days he has been following the schedule of heading to the forests at 6am and spending the next 6 hours there in the search of the elusive Saya. Though he visited day after day, his friend named after the Hindi word for shadow, would come out to greet him only twice in a week. And the reason behind this is that while you and I may have thought that there are multiple black panthers, it is just the one alone. So, imagine finding one in the middle of a throng of thick drooping forests. But what struck Jung so much beyond its beauty, what had him going searching the exotic creature again and again? To this he answered in interviews that “My aim was to go deeper and understand how he is surviving in a forest where he doesn’t belong.

Having studied economics and law, Jung instead chose to pursue his lifelong passion towards photography. His love for wildlife has even taken him to help set up eco-friendly camps and properties in South India. Even before going viral, his knowledge and first hand study of leopards has earned him the name of being the “Leopard Man of India”. Having spent a considerable part of the last decade studying melanistic leopards, he has built himself quite the portfolio. He has even started a trust called Buffer Conflict Resolution Trust of India (BCRTI) in order to promote environmental and wildlife conservation. His photography has been much lauded and put up in exhibitions throughout the globe for years now. When asked on his thoughts about this, Jung has been vocal about saying how he wants his pictures that reflect on environmental surrealism to be able to educate the masses. With this a better treatment and preservation of our animal friends is the desired goal and objective.

black panther in kabini
Source: https://www.edexlive.com/people/2020/aug/06/why-shaaz-jung-the-wildlife-photographer-whose-black-panther-photo-went-viral-will-never-forget-saya-13727.html

Don’t you wonder what it would have felt like to him to have spotted the black panther for the very first time? To this he has said, “I went numb the first time I saw the panther. I forgot to lift the camera and take a picture until the driver reminded me. It was a fleeting glimpse but it will forever be etched deep in my memory. I will never forget the first time I looked into Saya’s luminous eyes. What a magnificent animal!”. And through his words and even more, through his photography, his statement is of course, understandable and makes us think about how true his words would have been. Do you think it would have faded over time? Nah, look at Saya, look at how Jung has captured her playing on tree tops and branches, while baring her teeth as a ferocious being, while playing in the green forests, while lazing or laying back in her natural habitat or just being. Doesn’t looking at all this simply tell us that sometimes love at first sight does not fade? Sometimes it goes in search of it every single day, over and over, because I guess the draw has that much depth. No wonder the wildlife photographer, who has worked with the likes of National Geographic even went onto go ahead and make a documentary on Saya for them.

how to reach kabini
Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/452048881349667696/

Another thing to consider when these pictures went viral is how much they struck in the mind of the world at large. Wildlife and exploring it is a very niche activity and not something that everyone enjoys. Very few have the patience to go in search of wild animals in their raw existence. This is something that reflects even onto their work because wildlife photographers typically do not see mass level fame but instead garner appreciation from a very specific audience that observes and understands it. However, somehow Jung’s photos took the internet by storm and left all of us smitten. Some started referring to Saya as the real-life personification of Bagheera from the Jungle Book. To think what Kipling would feel if he saw Saya himself as if nature had given birth to his mind’s manifestation. And the large scale appreciation from the world is a statement to how these photos, how Saya’s natural form and most of all those searching green eyes, spoke to all of us in some way.

things to do in kabini
Source: https://www.edexlive.com/people/2020/aug/06/why-shaaz-jung-the-wildlife-photographer-whose-black-panther-photo-went-viral-will-never-forget-saya-13727.html

Have you read Neeraj Narayanan’s book – This Guy’s On His Own Trip yet? It’s right now #1 bestseller in the travel books category on Amazon. Click here to buy your copy!

Liked this post? Share it with others.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may also like...