Mala (Noor)


Age:5 years old (adult)
Name Meaning:Beaded Beauty
First seen:March 2009
Notable marks:She has bead-like markings on her side flanks



Mala (also known as the Sultanpur female) is a beautiful tigress who heralds from the sister of the great matriarch Machali, Grand Dame of Ranthmbhore. She is well known to visitors in the park – an extrovert just like her aunt. Her brother is a famous adventurer, having moved from Rajasthan to Madhya Pradesh of his own accord. She now has one cub called Sultan born in the summer 2012.

Know as Mala (Hindi for ‘necklace’) due to the decorative bead-like stripes on her flanks, she was born to the Sultanpur female T13. Growing up in Guda/Sultanpur, the southernmost part of the park, she was popular among tourists who enjoyed seeing her as a cub.

Soon after separating from her mother at the age of 2, her mother had another litter of two cubs with T12 who was soon after relocated to Sariska in 2010. As a result, Mala’s father’s territory fell vacant and Sultanpur (T24) took over. Now, her mother’s new litter was in danger, threatened by the new male who would try to kill her cubs. The new family left the area, allowing Mala to take over her mother’s territory under the domain of the Sultanpur male.

About the same time, Mala’s brother had vanished without a trace and it was not until sometime later that acamera trap in Kuno Palpur Sanctuary picked up an unknown male tiger. Through comparison of tiger stripe patterns, experts discovered that this mystery tiger was none other than her brother. He had made the dangerous journey over 100 miles, swimming the mighty Chambal river in the process. This discovery was great news for conservationists and the Forest Department – proof that this area still has a functioning wildlife corridor.

Mala has now given birth a single cub in her range and he has been named Sultan.

Do you have any further information or images on this tiger? Get in contact here.

Credits: Tiger Nation 


Death of a youngster – Another Challenger? by Kay Tiwari

T8 on right with his mother Tulsi (c) 2014
T8 on right with his mother Tulsi (c) 2014

After the untimely death of Vijaya there are many who love Bandhavgarh, now spending hours mulling over concerns as to which tigress might take her space and the future of her one remaining cub. With little news forthcoming from the Forest Department these days it is very difficult to say anything concrete. It’s a game of wait and see as usual.

Tulsi with her three cubs in June 2013. One now missing and one dead. (c) Kay Tiwari
Tulsi with her three cubs in June 2013. One now missing and one dead. (c) Kay Tiwari

Also many are wondering which male tiger actually died back in July after a nasty fight. It was reported as a male cub of the Milchaini tigress, called Tulsi, but of the remaining two which is actually dead?  Is it T7 or T8?  T6 had already vanished earlier in the season, fate unknown, presumed killed in the continued male struggle that has hit Bandhavgarh.

Two brothers of the original three. Tulsi's sub adults in June 2014 (c) Kay Tiwari
Two brothers of the original three. Tulsi’s sub adults in June 2014 (c) Kay Tiwari

Neither male had been seen regularly during the season due to Tulsi’s continued cleverness in keeping her tribe well concealed. However when sightings were made a little of their individual characters were becoming apparent. T7, being less shy than his brother T8, was more curious and interested in the tourism attention of which T8 basically tried to ignore – as his mother so often does. For T7 the attention seemed fascinating. Both boys clung to their mother often walking close by her side rubbing up against her enjoying the security she offered. Never before with a litter had Tulsi kept her growing cubs so close. Even at 18 months of age she was reluctant in leaving them alone for long, feeling it necessary to keep the two remaining boys within her sights and high in the hills away from marauding young males travelling long distances from kill sights and moving her family regularly to secret places away from danger.

 Of course as the cubs grew older demands on their mother would have grown. Food would have been for ever on her agenda and therefore the constant fear of an unknown and unwelcome intruder at the table. Not only was Tulsi dealing with her own family struggles supplying food for the father of the cubs, presumed to be Shashi, she was also dealing with several youngsters. Pushpraj and his brother Kanvar who had caused her stress the previous season were continually following her in the hope of food. Somanshu, Vijaya’s son from Chakradhara on occasions made an entrance and the very fiery visitor from Magdhi, an complete unknown has recently turned up to add to the trauma.

T7's right flank. May 2014 (c) Kay Tiwari
T7’s right flank. May 2014 (c) Kay Tiwari

In fact it was this unpredictable male that by the end of the summer was regularly seen in Milchaini and many believe that it is this male that is now causing the chaos while Pushpraj has vanished from sight having been accused of decimating his mother Wakeeta’s second litter, his own step brothers and sister. At the same time Somanshu has holed up in the slightly more peaceful area of Chakradhara/Barua Nallah and Banbehi/Ghorademon. It is therefore being presumed the aggressive Magdhi male killed the cub in July or at least injured it during a fierce fight. Another story however reports that actually the elephant Astam killed the injured cub after it attacked from behind by applying pressure to its trachea when forcing it down by his trunk? The truth is we at TN will probably never know the true facts or the reality of which tigers were involved.

The jungles keep their secrets from prying eyes.

 Anyone have any other news?

Credits: Tiger Nation 


Tiger Ice Break: Tigress Ussuri’s cubs try to reach water beneath ice.


Ussuri and cubs at Tiger Canyons, South Africa
Ussuri and cubs at Tiger Canyons, South Africa

Tiger Ice Break: Tigress Ussuri’s cubs try to reach water beneath ice 

In the coldest winter ever at Tiger Canyons, South Africa, Ussuri’s cubs try to break the ice on la Vea Dam to reach the water underneath. Ussuri teach the cubs how to do this.

Unnis (Krishna)

downloadUnnis was initially the shy one of the litter, as a cub staying close to her famous mother and sister at all times. When it was time for her to strike out on her own, quiet Unnis had little choice but to take over the “leftovers” of her mother Machali’s territory.  Supporting herself in this harsh and unforgiving environment was difficult. Timid Unnis kept to herself avoiding humans and other tigers.

However, its all changed today. After finding mate Sitara, she becme a mother to three cubs – two males and one female. Now, Unnis is starting to show her real strengths as a powerful hunter and mother, and after her sister’s disapperance from the lakes area, Unnis has moved in . Her first litter have all grown up, and now she is the ‘Lady princess of the lakes’.

Her two sons (T64 & T65) are still today within her Rajbagh territory and she gave birth to her second litter in Feb 2014.

Could she follow in her famous mother’s footsteps?

Age: 8 years old (adult)
Name Meaning: ‘Nineteen’ in Hindi
Code: T19
First seen: October 2006
Gender: Female
Notable marks: Double parallel ‘eyebrows’ over her right eye and two – pronged – fork mark on her left cheek
Four tigers walking on the forest tracks of Ranthambore tiger reserve
Satra, Athara and Unnis were born during the 2006 monsoon months to tigress Machali and T2, Ranthambhore’s dominant male.  At first, Machali kept the cubs between the lakes and Nalghati and rarely ventured out of this area. The territory boasts a high density of sambar deer (India’s largest deer species) on which the cubs were raised.
Unnis and her young sons cool off in 47 degree heat in 2012 (c) Anurag Sharma
Unnis and her young sons cool off in 47 degree heat in 2012 (c) Anurag Sharma

Unnis had to wait to take her over territory from her more dominant sisters, Stara, who ended by taking over her famous mother’s territory of the lakes, and her sister was translocated to Sariska. Unnis settled into the Lahpur Valley and welcomed her first litter of two males and one female sired by mate Sitara in December 2010. here she brought up her cubs with skill and tenderness, and the cubs where seen occasionally as they grew up, and Unnis began to loose her shyness.

In the winter of 2012 her sister, now with three young cubs was having a serious clash with the dominant male in her territory, Sitara, as he believed that Satra’s cubs where not his progeny – a dangerous assumption for young cubs.

The result was a battle that left both tigress and tiger injured, but fearing for her youngsters she fled to the protection of her cubs father, Dollar in the Kachida area of the park. This move gave Unnis the opportunity to come back home, to take Satra’s vacant territory. It was an ideal time as her cubs were now reaching independence and she was ready to have another litter.

Close up of Unnis at full throttle in an ambush (c) Bobby Bhargava
Close up of Unnis at full throttle in an ambush (c) Bobby Bhargava

She has since developed into a relaxed and beautiful young mother, and been seen hunting, flirting and mating with both Dollar and Sitara in April 2013.  Her two eldest sons (Akash T64 & Suraj T65) of her first litter are still be allowed to live under her protection around the Rajbagh lake. Will their father allow this state of affairs to continue for much longer?

Unnis (T19) lactating heavily in mid february 2014. First sign of a new litter (c) Bobby Bhargava
Unnis (T19) lactating heavily in mid february 2014. First sign of a new litter (c) Bobby Bhargava

Finally after many false hopes Unnis gave birth to a new litter in early Feb 2014. Exact litter size still to be confirmed.

Follow Unnis here on Tiger Nation

Vijaya (Kankati)

1Vijaya is a young mother to watch. Now caring for three young cubs, her name suggests it came at a steep price. Vijaya means ‘victory’ in Hindi; a name she has earned through fierce territorial fights, the end of one being the gruesome death of a beautiful tigress named Lakshmi, whose food-rich jungles she wanted for herself. She still bears the scars on her face.

Now settling into motherhood, few will dare challenge this female champion over the coming year.

Follow Vijaya on Tiger Nation as she brings up her cubs. Can she steer them to adulthood against fierce adversaries?

Age: 7 years old (adult)
Name Meaning: ‘Victory’ in Hindi
Code: D4
First seen: October 2007
Gender: Female
Notable marks: Dark coated. An injury to her face resulted in the loss of her left eye.
2Vijaya was born to a mother and father that were to have a huge influence within the golden meadows and dark jungles of Bandhavgarh over the last decade. She is one of three cubs born in the monsoon of 2007, together with Jaya, a sister and Sahat, a brother.

Her father, Shaki, had dominated the park’s best-known visitor zone for a decade, and her grandfather, suitably nicknamed ‘Charger’, had a habit of scaring the wits out of visitors and elephants alike with fake charges. Vijaya herself therefore was never likely to be a wallflower.

Her mother Durga (often called the Jhurhara female), was different. She liked to stay invisible whenever possible, keeping her cubs well hidden and moving around at the ends of day to avoid prying eyes; a characteristic she imparted to Vijaya.

As she grew up in the area of the Rajbehra dam and Climber Point, she was often seen in the company of her mother. In the winter of 2009, she was increasingly seen hunting with her sister, Jaya, and as the monsoons came and went, the three siblings were often seen coming together over a fresh kill. But it was noticeable that her brother and Jaya had some command over her.

Increasingly, however, her shyness evaporated and she became settled with the visitors who drove around her home in Ghiraiya and the hills of the Badhaini.

Her mother Durga, by now had had a second litter with another male (Shaki), and a real treat was a glimpse of her, her three new cubs and her three grown youngsters all together in the Rajbehra pool or meadows.

By the winter of 2010 it was time for Vijaya to lay claim to her own territory and she did this by pushing an ageing tigress, Pyari to the edge of her territory, before finally vanquishing her altogether to the nearby Khitauli range. With her hands on some of the park’s finest hunting grounds, including the Barua Nallah, Chakradhara and Sidh Baba areas, she had also acquired a taste for sambhar deer (especially very large ones), proving her great hunting skill, and a knack for ambush, in the bamboo groves these deer tend to favour.

3But it seems this wasn’t enough, and her ambition lay in acquiring more territory for herself before starting a family. In mid-October 2010, Vijaya was seen with a nasty wound to her right cheek and muzzle, and we feared she had not only lost her left eye, but might succumb to infection.

However in November 2010, unperturbed, she started to mark her new real-estate with short urine burst across her aunt’s territory, a beautiful female called Lakshmi. This was a serious challenge and the forest around Chorbera erupted in continual disputes over the coming months: heard and often watched by the elephant patrols and visitors. This was potentially a dangerous internecine conflict.

It’s thought that the policy of giving Lakshmi cows to eat was not without risk, as Vijaya began to envy these ‘easy’ meals. Few tigers can resist free food, given the ongoing difficulty of hunting in a jungle whose other wary occupants give them away at every opportunity – with alarm calls that reverberate across the park.

4On the 5th March 2011, the battle was concluded. Vijaya, stood triumphantly by the half-eaten body of her aunt, a gruesome end to a family conflict (though not uncommon). Sadly this left two orphaned cubs, struggling to survive without their mother, Shardul and her daughter Nalini.

Vijaya’s prize was now the prized habitat of Lakshmi’s, at the northern base of the great fort, and north towards Tala. Her confidence rose even further, even though her wounds had still not recovered fully, and it became clear that she could no longer see through her damaged left eye.

5Not two months later she was seen mating with Shashi, the dominant male and, over the last monsoon season, she was pregnant. Heavy with milk swollen teats she was seen in November last year, her tiny two-month-old cubs were presented to waiting admirers. Today her cubs are growing fast and are becoming powerful hunters in their own right. They have regularly been spotted romping throuhg the fields of Bandhavgarh.
6Follow this determined mother and her cubs here on Tiger Nation.

These Life stories have been brought to you by Kay and Satyendra Tiwari, and involved twenty five years of passion, note taking and intelligence while living on the borders of Bandhavgarh Reserve. Read their blogs and diaries here.

Credits: Tiger Nation.

Where is Wakeeta’s only surviving cub? By Kay Tiwari

Is he the sole surviving cub of Wakeeta' last litter (c) Christina Habets-Little
Is he the sole surviving cub of Wakeeta’ last litter (c) Christina Habets-Little

Wakeeta, a petite tigress, lies behind cover of  fruit bearing bushes favoured by langur monkeys close to the sandy track. She has a sambar meal to occupy her time and is enjoying her feast.

The worrying aspect in her dining is the lack of her fourth and only surviving male cub.  Has it survived the ravages of his mother’s battles with marauding young tigers.

Having finished tearing flesh from the mangled carcass, she concludes her meal by licks her paws clean and then tidying up her coat in the same precise way, before lying down to doze nearby for a while. This meal will not last long, but it would fill her belly and that of her son for a day, with merely a scattering of  bones by next morning left for the mongoose and noisy crows.

For weeks now few have seen this mother and son pair together, not even their paw prints and the worry continues that poor Wakeeta has now lost her entire last litter as her distant cousin Yoshila did not so long ago in Magdhi.

Later Wakeeta’s delicate footprints lie in the sand at the edge of the road as she tracks off towards Ghorademon and her favourite resting places, but no youngster’s footprints indicate that her son has been at his mother’s side.

Credits: Tiger Nation

Yoshila (Sukia Pattia II)


Yoshila is no stranger to hardships. One of the park’s most secretive tigers, she’s content to stalk Bandhavgarth’s swamps alone.

This young tigress welcomed her first litter of three cubs in 2010. But tragedy struck during the monsoon season and she lost one soon after – a crushing blow for the proud mother.  In the space of a month in April and May 2012 she lost her other two cubs, both to large males. A new litter was born in late November 2012.

Age: 8 years old (adult)
Name Meaning: ‘Lady’ in Hindi
Code: C5
First seen: December 2006
Gender: Female

2Born in the early summer of 2006 to mother Chameli’s second litter, Yoshila grew up alongside brother C3 and sister C4 in the Sukia Pattia area of the park, then a little visited part of the reserve. Their father, Shaki was the dominant male in the area, keeping them safe from harm.

Little is known of Yoshila’s younger years and very little was seen of the cubs. However, Yoshila reappeared in her old stamping ground – her mother’s territory – several years after she was first spotted. Her first litter of three followed close behind her.

At the start of this season one cub went missing and we presumed he had died during the monsoon. Yoshila fiercely protected her two remaining cubs, sticking closely to their sides as they matured. However, on the 12th of March, 2012, Yoshila experienced the loss of yet another cub when her son Y2 was killed by the Jobhi male-a powerful tiger looking to expand his territory. Tragically she then lost her last cub, soon afterwards on the 12th May, when he was discovered dead, again over a meal, and it is beleived that Blue eyes was the killer. A very sad ending to her first family. Yoshila has now lost all three of her cubs.

On the 30th November 2012 she was seen, heavy with milk, beside the Sukia Patia waterhole. Her second litter has arrived.

These life stories have been brought to you by Kay and Satyendra Tiwari, and involved twenty five years of passion, note taking and intelligence while living on the borders of Bandhavgarh Reserve. Read their blogs and diaries here.

Yoshila or the Sukkia Pathia Female's sub adult cubs (c) Akash Panchbudhe
Yoshila or the Sukkia Pathia Female’s sub adult cubs (c) Akash Panchbudhe
Next generation - the sub adult female cub of Yoshila (Sukhi Pathia female) from Magdhi zone. (c) AJAY KUMAR THARAVATH
Next generation – the sub adult female cub of Yoshila (Sukhi Pathia female) from Magdhi zone. (c) AJAY KUMAR THARAVATH

Credits: Tiger Nation

Whodunnit? Wakeeta (Banbehi) loses her third cub. By Kay Tiwari

Is Somanshu the culprit? (c) Anand
Is Somanshu the culprit? (c) Anand

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.

Or is Pushpraj the killer of his half brother? (c) Kay Hassall Tiwari
Or is Pushpraj the killer of his half brother? (c) Kay Hassall Tiwari

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 


Chandra as a teenage cub (c) srikanth
Chandra as a teenage cub (c) srikanth

The boisterous first daughter of the ‘Lady of the lake’ Unnis (T19) she is now indepenedent but seldom seen, unlike her brothers.

Follow her fortune here.

Age: 4 years old (adult)
Code: T63
First seen: February 2011
Gender: Female
Unnis with her three teenagers in late 2012 (c) Hemraj Singh
Unnis with her three teenagers in late 2012 (c) Hemraj Singh

Chanda, daughter of Unnis (T19) she was part of her famed mother’s first litter of three cubs with her two brothers, Akash (T64) and Suraj (T65). Their father was the dominant male of the territory, named Sitara (T28), whose realm also included the great lakes and crumbling palaces of Ranthambhore.

They grew up in Lahpur, a territory on the borders of the lakes, but not within the main visitor zone, only occasionally being seen as youngsters. Their aunt Satra (T17), Unnis’s sister, both daughters of the famous tigress Machali, lived next door in her mother’s old territory of the Rajbagh lakes, prime feeding grounds and a famed and picturesque tourism zone.

As they reached maturity at about two year old, under their mother’s unfailing care, their aunt Satra however with three of her own cubs, was involved in a dangerous fight, a squabble between two competing males for her affection, Sitara and Dollar (T25). The result was a dangerous wound to Satra after a fight in February 2013 with her protector Sitara, and a rapid retreat to safer ground with her three year old cubs, leaving the beautiful Rajbagh lakes territory open to her sister (and her mother Machali) to reclaim and enjoy once again.

Their aunt survived, with veterinary intervention, but Chanda’s mother decided her sister’s vacated estate, a jewel in the Ranthambhore crown and her childhood home was a good place to claim, and she moved in, bring her siblings with her. Not long afterwards Satra disappeared completely (it is thought he was poisoned but no evidence or knowledge of her whereabouts has ever been found) and so her mother’s rule of the lakes has remained.

Chanda is now independent of her mother and seldom seen, but her two brothers, Akash and Suraj remain together and enjoy the delights of the lake while their father tolerates their presence.

A tigress (Chanda) appears with a herd of sambar close by. The doe closest to the tigress froze and was rooted to its spot but did not send out alarm calls. (c) srikanth
A tigress (Chanda) appears with a herd of sambar close by. The doe closest to the tigress froze and was rooted to its spot but did not send out alarm calls. (c) srikanth

Credits: Tiger Nation