In the Gir Forest on the northwestern coast of India, seeing a pride of lions may fool you into thinking you've somehow wandered into Africa. In reality, however, this corner of the nation is home to India's last population of Asiatic lions. But in India, the lion is not king of the forest. Instead, that symbolic throne is held by the tiger -- India's official national animal. To see tigers close up, LAND OF THE TIGER host Valmik Thapar travels to the Kanha National Forest on India's high central plateau, one of the nation's 23 major tiger reserves. Here, tigers and their cubs wander forests and fields alive with spotted deer, jackals, wild dogs called dholes, and langurs, a monkey species. But the hunt isn't easy: the monkeys in the trees often warn the deer down below of the striped threat stalking through the grass. Sometimes, however, it is the monkeys themselves that are the prey. LAND OF THE TIGER includes rare footage of a tiger capturing a monkey that had come down from the trees to feed in the grass. You are also witness to the remarkable image of a mother jackal nipping at the heels of a sloth bear that had come too close to the jackal's young. But in this rolling landscape, nothing is quite so dramatic as the sight of the elegant peacock squaring off against the deadly cobra -- a snake that some men, women, and children catch for a living, despite the fact that cobras kill hundreds of Indians every year with their venomous bites. Nonetheless, people revere the cobra and celebrate its symbolic power every year in festivals.
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