Pollyanna's latest working safari into India was a huge adventure - and included the closest encounter with a big cat she has yet experienced
Accompanied by Anna-Louise, her daughter and business partner, she spent most of her time in two project tiger reserves. Pollyanna chose to visit Ranthambore, probably the best known of the tiger reserves in India, where she wanted to sketch and paint the remains of the ruined fort and temples, among which the tigers still roam. She was lucky enough to see two tigers during her stay at Ranthambore - and also to get an incredibly rare sighting of a leopard. leopards live in the cliffs around Ranthambore, but are extremely elusive and only very rarely seen by visitors.
An arduous journey via night trains and accidental hitch hiking took Pollyanna on to the Corbett's National Park, in the foothills of the Himalayas. Here she stayed in primitive conditions in a rangers lodge within the National Park, and was able to travel on elephant, allowing her to penetrate much deeper into the reserve than is possible by jeep. She was jolted, rattled, scratched, cut bruised and bitten - and even charged by a wild tiger. "I have had one or two scary moments while travelling to paint endangered wildlife" Pollyanna said on her return, "but I have never experienced fear like looking into the eyes of a snarling spitting wild tiger from a distance of four feet".
This close encounter with the tiger left her shaken, but more determined than ever that this magnificent cat must not be allowed to become extinct in the wild. During her stay in Corbett, Pollyanna had the opportunity to discuss tiger conservation with the respected naturalist Imran A. Khan, and learn of his fears for their conservation. Mr Khan is afraid that if poaching and other threats to the tiger continue as they are, the Bengal Tiger could be extinct in India in just 10 years. Despite the hugely valuable work being done in the field by charitable organisations, the tiger will not survive unless the Indian government makes conservation a priority, and Mr Khan urges everybody to write to the Indian Prime Minister expressing their concerns. Click here to learn more, and to see a sample letter.
At the end of her journey, Pollyanna spent a few days on the west coast, where in complete contrast she chartered a boat, and went out dolphin spotting - the first opportunity she has had to observe dolphins in the wild
The first results of all her observations and sketches made during this journey were seen in the paintings on display in her exhibition "The Eye of the Tiger" in her private gallery in Derbyshire.