After spending a couple of hours by the pool drinking cocktails, Flashie and I had an idea that we might hire a driver again the next day and nick off to the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary. Because who doesn't love a Sanctuary in the middle of big cat country? Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration, but the Sanctuary is apparently a jungle resort set among rollings hills, and the area is supposedly frequented by panthers, leopards and swamp lynx so hopefully we wouldn't get ambushed by a trilogy of felines with a hankering for human kibble.
We filled up with a decent breakfast and headed out towards Ponda and into the mountains to have a walk around the Bondla Zoo Circuit. It’s not a big place; you can get around it in an hour easily enough but calling it a sanctuary is a fair stretch.
It's a strange place - all wire fences, concrete and bars (not the good kind that serve booze!) and most of the animals were a good distance away from the casual observer. There were civit cats in small enclosures (not big enough for them to run in), and a sloth bear had a large enclosure (and a platform for shade) but the snow leopard and tiger pens were particularly disappointing. Many of the animals were closed in and pacing which never looks good. There was nothing to indicate that any of the animals had required saving from mistreatment or exploitation, so this was definitely more zoo than sanctuary.
They had mugger crocodiles though - there’s a highlight right there! The information sign about them said this:
“Strictly carnivores, they swallow their prey. They do not chew.
Eat(s) fish as well as any animal venturing into water.”
So basically, the mugger crocodile doesn’t want your cash and your fancy watch. Nom nom nom....