Life in the jungle is pretty tough for Wakeeta (Banbehi female) this season. Having lost two cubs late last year things seemed to have settled and life had returned to normality till. Then suddenly things changed again leaving Wakeeta in stress once more when her third cub was killed by a tiger sometime on Friday night. Whether the mother and the remaining cub were present when the assault took place is unsure but neither was present when the body was discovered on Saturday morning. The culprit was not found nearby either.
The cub’s body was discovered near the boundary fencing behind Amma Nallah camp. It had been mauled by a tiger and one hind limb appeared to have been torn from its body. The cub looked healthy and fit and this is a sad and untimely end to another young life.
So whodunnit? It is thought the most likely attacker was Wakeeta’s own now adult son, Pushpraj, the victim’s half brother, though one cannot rule out others that track the area either. On Saturday Shashi, the victim’s father was spotted near Tameria pool heading beyond the park boundary. He had spent the last few days undergoing treatment from the Forest Department for his injured shoulder and resultant limp (see last Tiger Diary) and could have easily doubled back towards the area beyond the fencing where he had recently shared a kill outside the boundary with his tigress, Wakeeta. Could finding his little son nearby resulted in his father attacking his own son? It’s not impossible but its highly improbable.
Meanwhile Pushpraj’s footprints and heavy spell of urine were both located tracking up Rampur from the same area to the sound of alarm calls in a nearby streambed. He had slipped off the road and vanished. This very secretive and shy individual hardly ever shows his face except when forced too. Guilt could certainly be laid at his door as he has regularly been pestering his mother and even his Aunt Tulsi for food this season.The other possible accused could be Somanshu, Vijaya’s prodigal son who reappeared in teh area recently? He was spotted holed up in Bhitri on a small kill the very morning the cub’s body was found. Could he be the perpetrator to this heinous crime, ended a short life?
For Bandhavgarh this sad event in Tala echoes the losses in Magdhi with Yoshila’s last young family and Vijaya’s with teh loss of her teenage cub. Bandhavgarh certainly has too many young male tigers reluctant to leave their ancestral homes.
Life is always precarious for the wild tigers of Bandhavgarh – but your own family can be the most dangerous of all.
Credits: Tiger Nation