These photos were taken in Ranthambhore.
I was spending a month in Karna National Park where each day I would walk through the jungle around the compound. I came across a small group of langur monkeys and over the weeks I got to know them quite well.
They soon got used to me and were happy for me to sit under the tree where they lived. One day I felt that strange sensation of being watched and gently tilted my head to look up, coming face-to-face with a young monkey who was just as curious as me. We got really close but I wasn’t going to feed him as that usually leads to trouble.
The next day they had moved on and as I passed a large mango tree I could hear whimpering, almost like a child. I moved cautiously towards the sound and found the young monkey I had seen the day before. He had fallen badly from the tree and now he couldn’t move. I knelt down and murmured a few comforting words, until his little face pinched together and his eyes closed for the last time.
For the rest of that day I didn’t really speak to anyone, but the next day I felt calmer and heading out on my jungle walk, I came across the same family of langurs. I sat with them and watched a young playful monkey stop to drink milk from a female I assumed was his mother. He then ran across to the dominant male, pulling at him for attention. The male acknowledged him but wasn’t showing much interest, so the youngster skipped across to another mature female, who held him to her breast for milk.
I was surprised and delighted by this show of empathy and understanding for the young mother bereft of her baby. The strong family bond gave me a great sense of hope.