The ‘dancing star’ is with cubs again by Julian Matthews


The Fab Four. All female cubs (Lara, Geeta, Sonam & Mona) of Madhuri in summer 2012 (c) Atul Dhamanker

The Fab Four. All female cubs (Lara, Geeta, Sonam & Mona) of Madhuri in summer 2012 (c) Atul Dhamanker

Madhuri is one of the ‘faces’ of Tadoba. Together with the Panderpauni female called Bhala, helped to launch Tadoba upon an unsuspecting and uninterested world.

Madhuri, ever a star of the stage, actually means  ‘the dancer’ in Hindi, so named as she has perfected her own trademark, a short wiggle of the leg, and this was to keep her ever growing fan club happy.

Scarface & Madhuri together in summer 2011 besides Telia lake (c) Atul Dhamanker

Scarface & Madhuri together in summer 2011 besides Telia lake (c) Atul Dhamanker

The forests of Maharashtra had lain quite, unloved and overlooked till these two singular females took to the stage and began to feel comfortable with the few visitors who bothered to come to see their central Indian home. In 2010 Bhala had given birth to four pretty cubs in an open meadow covered area of the park, the Panderpauni meadows, and the flooding of Facebook of pictures of cute cubs ensured that the professional and amateur nature photographers of Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore suddenly took up their cameras and flooded Tadoba. A new ‘Tiger’ reserve was born in the public consciousness and a new vitality was given to the officers charged with protecting these forests.

Till last summer Madhuri kept the visitors entranced as her and her four gorgeous female cubs, Mona, Geeta, Lara and Sonam slept, shared, played, stalked and killed in and around the Telia lake and its ever changing shoreline. Chital deer and wild boar flirted death with their desire to eat the lush grasslands of the shoreline but most escaped the inexperienced ambushes of the young sisters.

Madhuri's four cubs, Lara, Sonam, Geeta & Mona drink from Telia dam. c) Atul Dhamanker

Madhuri’s four cubs, Lara, Sonam, Geeta & Mona drink from Telia dam. c) Atul Dhamanker

In the monsoon last year, while the park was closed, change was afoot. Madhuri’s cubs had all reached maturity, a feat of fine motherhood with powerful and loving support from their father Scarface.  Sonam one of more boisterous females has taken most of her mother’s territory, and Madhuri had decided to reside more in the dense mixed buffer zones of her forest territory, south west of her Telia dam region, an area now closed to visitors. Scarface had seemingly moved with her and still provides the security ever tigress seeks.

The good news is that Madhuri’s mothering days are not over by any means as a 8 year old, and recently Madhuri was spotted with four new cubs.

Could they all be female again?

Written by the editor with thanks for photos and updates to Atul Dhamanker

Credits: Tiger Nation

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