A migrant family, lugging bundles of their belongings and holding torches in hand, was seen walking in the dead of the night to make it back to their village in Uttarakhand. The family nearly crossed path with a leopard during their long journey home, footage captured by a trail camera shows.
On Tuesday night, a trail cam outside a homestay accommodation near Jim Corbett National Park recorded a leopard walking a track - a regular sight in the area. 15 minutes later, the big cat was followed by five members of a migrant family, coming back to their village from a city where they had been working.
The migrants were seen holding torches as they navigated the route after dark in the area where villagers avoid going out after sunset fearing attacks by wild animals.
"Once it's dusk, no human being moves around near Tanhau. The wildlife takes over while people stay indoors," said Sunando Sen, owner of Tanhau homestay, highlighting the desperation of the family that was seen walking near the forested wildlife sanctuary after dark.
"No one usually walks along this track after dark, but obviously these guys were desperate to reach home after a long long journey," he said.
"The music and torches are as much to keep wild animals away as to help them keep going," he adds.
Lakhs of migrant workers - out of jobs and money since March because of the lockdown- have been walking or cycling to their home states. These visuals are the latest in the series of heartbreaking photos and videos that highlight their plight.