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 

 

Vijaya – Death of the one-eyed princess. The post mortem by Kay Tiwari

Vijaya, only two montsh ago with her three youngsters (c) Shivang Mehta
Vijaya, only two montsh ago with her three youngsters (c) Shivang Mehta

Since the monsoon began in Bandhavgarh there has been nothing but bad news. In Milchaini a young male was found dead after a fight with a stronger tiger – but reported to have been killed by an elephant sent out to report on its condition. Then reports of maneaters in Khitauli and the heated debatesabout what do about this thorny problem. And now the astonishing news that Vijaya (better known as Kankatti) is dead.

Her body was discovered on the morning of the 6th August lying near the MPT compound. She was partially decomposed and torn open on the left rear flank. It appeared the tigress had died two or three days previously and her body had lain undiscovered. The day before it had rained heavily all day and much flooding had occurred with the Chukradhara stream higher than we have ever seen it. This would certainly not have helped in identifying the course of death and had possibly washed the body into its present position. However, it has been reported that there were bite marks on the body and wounds. One side the right flank was identifiable and confirmed the body was indeed that of the tigress Vijaya. It is thought now that she had died from loss of blood after a tremendous fight.

As we had all known her, she was barve and ferocious fighter and would have fought to the end, but with which opponent we will probably never know.

What about her 4 month old cubs?

 

Naturally, since her discovery and resultant Hindu cremation,  the search has been on to find the cubs or at least determine their present condition. Sadly this very afternoon two were discovered dead near the remains of a chital kill. The third was seen nearby and I believe has been captured or surrounded by fencing. What will happen to this single cub is unsure as a compound in Jhorjhora may be a very poor and lonely existence for such a youngster, now only 4 months old. The dice are stacked again its survival.

Who is the culprit?

 

Somanshu, Vijaya's son in Chakradhara. Surely he is not to blame! (c) 2014
Somanshu, Vijaya’s son in Chakradhara. Surely he is not to blame! (c) 2014

It is hard to say?  There are several young males in the area including her son, Somanshu and Ondrilla’s now two year old cubs, but I would doubt these have the strength to overcome this fiesty tigress. Then there is the dominant male Jobhi but he has been seen in her company so why would he choose to kill one of his females. He would certainly have the strength and power but his range covers Vijaya ‘s territory and she knows him now. This fight appears like a fight with an unknown marauder.

Could this be the work of the aggressive and unpredictable male from Magdhi that no one knows the ancestory of?  He is a dicey male that snarls at everything and is thought to be the tiger that fought in July in Milchaini. Could he have reached to Chorbehra and be challenging for space here. The Forest Dept say there is a male about but which one it is, is not at all clear. All thought it to be Jobhi but maybe another has turned up as Rahasy did last season. Indeed, has he returned to wreck havoc again?

Cold winter mornings in Vijaya's Chakradhara meadow (c) Kay Hassall Tiwari
Cold winter mornings in Vijaya’s Chakradhara meadow (c) Kay Hassall Tiwari

Once again Chakradhara, our magic meadow falls silent and is left bereft.

Will one of Vijaya’s neices relish its beauty and the harvest of its bounty and once more breathe life into the heart of this normally peaceful playground.

Credits: Tiger Nation

Vijaya’s new family – Goodbye for now by Kay Tiwari

Vijaya and her three cubs on the road (c) Shivang Mehta
Vijaya and her three cubs on the road (c) Shivang Mehta

Vijaya charmed everyone at the end of the season last week. She had made a small kill of a spotted deer in Chakradhara Meadow near several water sources but hidden amongst dense lush elephant grass, ideal cover for a tigress to stalk through, as unweary deer gather at the water’s edge. For several days Vijaya enjoyed her meal and even bought her three little ones to share the feast. They were hardly visible but for the movement of the tall grasses. Now and then the glimpse of an ear or tail as the tigress turned over in the grass to relieve a very full belly.

But the end of June was very hot and with no rain on offer by morning or late afternoon it was time to venture out for a drink. First Vijaya would slowly emerge from the grasses and settle near the edge of a clearing not far from a muddy waterhole. Here she would sit and carefully groom her gleaming golden coat before beckoning her family out. Ears pricked and softly calling to encourage the three to come Vijaya seemed confident and unconcerned at the attention she gathered around her. Slowly slowly out of the dense cover three little faces appear. The first to show its face is a bit unsure however and allows the second in line to approach and nuzzle it’s mother first. The third very shy and a wee bit frightened decides it’s its not the time yet to be too brave and vanishes back out of sight. Yesterday too the family had been seen. Two little ones coming forward into the clearing while the third tentative and snarling would not venture far.

Vijaya and her new small family in Chakradhara meadow (c) Kay Hassall Tiwari
Vijaya and her new small family in Chakradhara meadow (c) Kay Hassall Tiwari

Today, again Vijaya is ready to quench her thirst as two of her offspring stare out of cover. Suddenly Vijaya becomes very alert. She has noticed two patrolling staff on foot on the road hardly yards from where she and the cubs are sitting. This challenge is an unwelcome interruption and soon her cubs are hurrying back into the tall grasses. The tigress too turns and crouches low slinking off in a manner of a leopard rather than a dominant cat. Obviously people on foot are not welcome in Vijaya’s meadow. Minutes later Vijaya emerges again a few yards away and settles under a bamboo clump. It appears the cubs are close by behind a long and that mother wants the family to cross the road and head for the hills. Confident the jeep borne visitors watching are  of no concern, yet the patrolling staff want their bicycles and as a further Forest Officer on a motorbike enters the scene all three disturb the tigress once more and she heads off towards the Fort Plateau, her original plans now changed.

As the sun rises higher in the summer sky Vijaya and her family can be seen amongst the dry forest grasses heading towards a cool cave nestled on the hillside. Here they can rest in peace and the cubs can suckle milk. No one on foot will enter these dark cat coverted places for fear of attack. Here Vijaya and her little ones rest a while before returning to the meadow and the remains of the kill.

Sadly by the time we all see them again they will be nearly four months older and a lot bigger.

Lets hope they have a peaceful healthy monsoon and that all will be well in October.

Credits: Tiger Nation

Jaya’s brood – a worrying monsoon? by Kay Tiwari

Jaya at rest after two years of motherhood. May 2014 (c) Peter OROLIN
Jaya at rest after two years of motherhood. May 2014 (c) Peter OROLIN

Jaya is spending little time with her two year old foursome now preferring to rest up under the cool Badhaini hill where cooling springs seep from the crevices and offer relief during hot late summer days. In Central India the monsoon has yet to arrive. Though a few welcome thunder rains have quenched a dry earth the baking sun is never far away and temperatures still reach the mid thirties.

For her son and three daughters its time to think of adulthood especially for the girls. Monsoon will mean all three will become mature enough to mate and they will no doubt draw the attention of several suitors including the big male Jobhi who may well have fathered their mother’s forthcoming litter. With both the Banbehi (Wakeeta) boys fully mature and eager plus Somanshu and the aggressive mystery boy from Magdhi on the fringes of their mother’s territory it will be an interesting time for these three sisters!

Crumbie has settled around Sukki Dam so may well come into contact with Ondrila’s maturing boy too. Most young tigers prefer to spend easy time with newcomers rather than tackle an experienced partner so it is likely she will find her monsoon time more enjoyable than Trya who is presently living around Climber Point and Sehra. This area is well attended by several males and she could find herself under the chase rather than enjoying a picnic or two.

As to Murphy she has become quite shy but is still seen in the company of her sisters and brother mainly at common meal times around Rajbehra or Nilgai Marg. It’s thought she’s trying to settle in Kanoji but with the area closed its hard to say for sure. In any case if any of these daughters settles they will steal some of their mother’s territory. We will all have to wait till next season to know the exact position and with Jaya likely to be will new cubs she will definitely want to keep the prime area of her range around Rajbehra. If the Forest Department would give back the area now in the empty Jhorjhora enclosure Jaya would certainly snap it up allowing her to claim what once was her mother Durga’s space.

Johnno, still hanging onto his mother's apron strings but for how long. June 2014 (c) Kay Hassall Tiwari
Johnno, still hanging onto his mother’s apron strings but for how long. June 2014 (c) Kay Hassall Tiwari

We must not forget Johnno too. He has grown into a handsome boy but he faces a tough time. He still follows his mother here and there and his sisters but soon he must depart for safer ground as it will be hard for this young boy to compete in as male saturated domain as Bandhavgarh is these days.

Credits: Tiger Nation

Vijaya reveals her new family to the world by Kay Tiwari

Vijaya and her second litter of three cubs near Jumunia in the Tala Zone. (c) Imtiaz Khan
Vijaya and her second litter of three cubs near Jumunia in the Tala Zone. (c) Imtiaz Khan

It’s several weeks now since news of Vijaya’s second litter of cubs broke when they were spotted at Gopalpur crossing the road during the searing heat of an April day, following their proud mother to the safety of a cool cave. Since then they have been seen on a few occasions and even with the presence of Jobhi. Finally they have arrived to reveal three small bungles of fun under the ever vigilant presence of their mother’s caring eye.

It is not really known when they were born exactly or who the father truly is but does Jobhi’s huge presence now in Chakradhara and Sidh Baba offer a reasonable hint of parentage? The cubs though still small, no longer have their baby blue eyes or show the cuddlesome fluffy cute bodies of new borns, but the viewing has indicted that at least one cub is male. For this family the learning curve has already begun. After the troubles of Vijaya’s first litter if all three are to survive to adulthood, they must study well.

It’s early morning in Jumunia with temperature a cool 26 degrees celcius as the sun rises slowly in the west. A half consumed chital kill lies in damp cover nearby. Vijaya killed in the night and the whole family has already feasted well. Tiny stomachs take less than a kilo of meat but Vijaya herself looks well fed, content and untroubled.  She grooms her cubs with her long rasped tongue and they lovingly gather around under her watchful gaze.

Rising she steps out of cover into the open and again sits and looks longingly at her cubs to follow and perhaps suckle a while. However, suddenly patrolling staff appear on foot and disturb her intentions, causing her to retreat and head off towards the track beckoning her cubs to follow. Within second amongst the rustle of undergrowth three little bodies emerge and trot off behind the tigress hurrying to keep pace, their little legs at time fully extended.

Growing fast, Vijaya's cubs must be over three months old already. Notice the eyes are amber in colour not baby blue! (c) Imtiaz Khan
Growing fast, Vijaya’s cubs must be over three months old already. Notice the eyes are amber in colour not baby blue! (c) Imtiaz Khan

Mum does not glance back to check her family is following, this is not the first time she has moved her brood in daylight or human presence and she knows her cubs have learnt the need to keep her in their sights.

Credits: Tiger Nation 

UPDATE : The Magdhi Zone Update by Kay Hassall Tiwari

A Bandhavgarh winter. A misty Magdhi zone forest in the middle of winter (c) Kay Hassall Tiwari
A Bandhavgarh winter. A misty Magdhi zone forest in the middle of winter (c) Kay Hassall Tiwari

The Magdhi zone of Bandhavgarh is a far more complicated range to follow, simply because many of the tigers that are spotted in the area actually drift in and out and mostly reside elsewhere. Much of the visitor area is in fact a chunk of the Tala Range given to Magdhi for the purpose of providing tigers to see when it was first opened to the public. True Magdhi tigers are elusive tigers and rarely seen and that would include a tigress that is reported by the Forest Department to have just littered four cubs, and yet her identity and life may never be known and can be classed with the known Magdhi tigers like Collar Wallah and those unidentified youngsters that have simply popped up in Magdhi this season.

The Females

Magdhi zone has always been a quiet zone too, sightings infrequent and fleeting though this winter past there were several exciting encounters with Yoshila (called Sukia Pattia female) and her two cubs before the increasing temperatures sent all undercover. These cubs must be over eighteen months old now and reaching a time there mother will desert them. Indeed the last few sightings that have produced photographs of this family show them to have possibly separated already. There still seems some uncertainty also as to whether both are female or they are brother and sister. This I cannot accurately comment on as I am yet to encounter either on my rather unsuccessful trips to Magdhi. The joy is that Yoshila still patrols her territory and looks more and more the mature and capable mother she was born to be. Her mother Chameli now the oldest tigress in the park is not seen at all and is thought to be living out her years in Kulwah Range beyond the eyes and cameras of visitors. However, it is very possible a recent young intruder male to the Magdhi area could be a cub of Chameli. Though he has not been seen for some time now he could easily pop up at any time this summer.

Jaya at the new waterhole in Magdhi (c) Roger & Soo jackson
Jaya at the new waterhole in Magdhi (c) Roger & Soo jackson

Jaya spent much of the winter settled in no-man’s land between Tala and Magdhi zones and was often seen around Sukki Dam and the new concrete dish towards Gohni meadows nicknamed by drivers and guides as Todaba waterhole! Jaya herself is still the sweetest of tigresses to encounter but her now independent two year old cubs very much more difficult to spot as the summer heat grows. They have drifted towards Dudra meadow and Climber Point and though there have been a few sightings recently of two or more of these cubs, mostly they move independently and at night, vanished like phantoms leaving only pugmarks by dawn. Their main joy right now seems to be annoying the Tala Gaur herd that has at least five new calves this season, one daughter even being injured by one and she is now carrying quite a limp.

I10, also called Sundari. (c) 2014
I10, also called Sundari. (c) 2014

Down at Mahaman there is of course another family of tigers thought to be those of the tigress Ondrila, seen on occasions during the winter months but more frequently now as the family splits up. The cubs are even older than those of Yoshila possibly even two years old now. They are hunting alone and can be spotted in both Magdhi and Khitauli. Early summer sightings have included a chital kill on Mahaman pool and a sambar kill just inside Khitauli. It is thought this family has at least two males amongst the siblings but the sex of the third is unknown and in any case this has not been confirmed due to a lack of. The mother of these cubs is more often spotted slinking across the main Umaria road than inside the park nowadays and more surprising her sister I10 was recently photo ID’d near Tadoba pool in the company of a cub!?  This has led to some confusion as to whether Sundari, (as she has been named) or Ondrila is in fact the mother of the Mahaman cubs or even whether both mothers are still present in the park.  If they both are then it is incredible that so many tigresses are existing within the Magdhi and Khitauli crossover. Sadly with visitors only allowed to visit  20% of the park these days , so monitoring is becoming increasingly more difficult.

 Call for help from photographers

If many more of you can add to TN’s directory and join hands to conserve these magnificent cats, by keeping a well organized directory and database, then we can truly know the numbers or the individual’s fates?

 Males of the Magdhi zone

Jobhi crosses the dirt track near Salaindha in Maghdi in Jan 2014(c) 2014
Jobhi crosses the dirt track near Salaindha in Maghdi in Jan 2014(c) 2014

Though Jobhi is hardly seen he is still thought to be the main man in Magdhi and it is believed he was filmed by the BBC in the presence of Jaya and her family this winter, something we certainly can wait to see on our screening! The most amazing news of cause is the return of Blue Eyes this winter but why he would choose to re-enter his arch enemy’s domain I do not know. When he disappeared in monsoon with pretty bad injuries from fighting it was thought he could not survive – but fantastic that he has.

Blue Eyes has certainly changed in appearance slightly and is supporting quite a limp. However he must have been able to feed himself and has survived to conquer again. However the last time he was sighted his old facial wound was weeping again and his limp no better. Has he been fighting again? If Jobhi is chasing his tail it will be hard for Blue Eyes to remain in the visitor’s area and he may have to retreat back from where he came.

We should not forget Collar Wallah – now collarless- because he’s out there somewhere too and the female from the enclosure now also collared was last spotted near Badrashila. There are so many tigers in Magdhi but where are all the photographs of these beauties, Tiger Nation needs more please.

A playful pair of dholes or Indian wild dogs. Seen infrequently in the Magdhi zone (c) atul dhamanker
A playful pair of dholes or Indian wild dogs. Seen infrequently in the Magdhi zone (c) atul dhamanker

Other wildlife in Magdhi

I find even chital hard to spot beyond the area that is truly Tala Range. Yes the gaur pass through the area and sambar are seen on occasions but certainly not in any numbers. Nilgai seem to be the most dispersed of the prey species, so it is little wonder there are so many cattle taken in the area every day. I have also not heard about any bear or leopard sightings in Magdhi this season though I believe the wild dogs clipped a corner during the winter months. Alas there has been a lot of waterhole work and new construction happening so it is very likely that this has disrupted the animal’s dispersal area. All will settle but it could take time.

Life is never as tranquil as one might hope in India’s Parks where the intense pressure of both saving species and also increasing their numbers is the driving force, against a myriad of other human related pressures and intrusions.

Credits: Tiger Nation

Pyari

1One of the Grande Dames of the last decade in Bandhavgarh, at age 15 Pyari, (also called the Chakradhara female) will see her legacy continue in the park’s future offspring. She has mothered five litters and a total of seventeen cubs, the majority of which reached maturity.

Although moody and unpredictable, Pyari was an amazing mother and her legacy will now live on in Panna Tiger reserve too – where her daughter Heera (P13) was recently relocated.

Age: 18 years old (adult)
Code: S1
First seen: Unknown
Gender: Female

2Born in 1996 to a litter of three cubs, Pyari was the daughter of famous tigress Sita and charismatic, aptly named male Charger.

Together with her sister Reshma, they were to fulfil their destiny as matriarchs, giving birth to a total of over 35 cubs between them.

For the majority of her life, Pyari has occupied one of the prime areas of the park, the Chakradhara meadows and forests near the fort and the fort plateau.

 By 2000 she had had her first litter of two cubs with the dominant male, Sundar (B2) – her constant companion, protector, and what we believe to be her only successful suitor over the next decade.

Her second litter in April 2002 was to prove very successful too, with three future breeding females, Lakshmi (P4), Indrani (P5), and Durga (P6).

 Her third litter of three cubs only survived a few months before they died from mysterious causes during the monsoon rains.

Soon after in 2004, Pyari had her fourth litter of which her daughter, Bhitri was eventually relocated to Panna Tiger reserve in 2009 to replenish numbers. This daughter now has cubs and her legacy will live on far away from her original home. Pyari’s son from this litter – the enormous Shashi (P10) – was to enjoy great success as well, becoming the dominant male of the Tala Range.

Few tigresses survive long enough to raise five litters or more but in December 2008, Pyari gave birth yet again, this time to three sons and one daughter.

 Of a total of 17 cubs, 13 lived to maturity, filling the park with their own progeny – proof that when tigers have access to water, prey, and protection, the population thrives.

 However Pyari’s popularity among visitors to the park was tarnished when in March 2010, she was accused of killing a young village girl who was collecting Mahua near her village, prompting the Forest Department to keep her young family under increased surveillance.

3She is thought to be now living out her dotage in a new and somewhat quieter area of the park – the Ranchcha area of the Khitauli range.

 We’re looking for more information on this tiger. Know more? Get in contact here.

Mother of mothers and grandchildren, Pyari, she must be gone now! (C) Kay Hassall Tiwari
Mother of mothers and grandchildren, Pyari, she must be gone now! (C) Kay Hassall Tiwari

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

Handsome young Mummy’s boy by Kay Tiwari

Johnno this morning, looking impressive (c) Kay Hassall Tiwari
Johnno this morning, looking impressive (c) Kay Hassall Tiwari

Johnno has grown into an impressive young male. He was seen at Rajbehra junction with one of his sisters tracking up the dirt road towards the cool sandy dry river bed looking for a peaceful spot to rest and digest a recent meal. Both he and his sister look suitably content as they amble down amongst the rocks and flop down on the golden sand.

Johnno’s sister is restless though, perhaps over fed. She finds a more comfortable spot under a nearby tree on the bank with tall grasses as an under blanket and hankers down again to clean her paws and fur before collapsing and falling asleep. For an hour or so there is little movement but the twitch of an ear amongst the dappled forest.

Johnno gets up and decides to take a little wonder along a road closed to visitors before reappearing on the bank side and approaching his sister. Within seconds he too has vanished into thick bamboo cover and does not show his face again.

Meanwhile their mother Jaya is on the other side of the park near Sukki dam. She has a small kill and is feasting alone. Her cubs are almost two years old now and she is spending less and less time with the boisterous and demanding family of four and now looking after herself for a change.

Can Johnno now provide for himself in the future, or is he for wver going to rest on the hard work of a sister or mother?

Credits: Tiger Nation

Somanshu

V2 as an bold young teenager (c) Premlal Yadav
V2 as an bold young teenager (c) Premlal Yadav

Somanshu was a young male in the Tala zone, one of the three cubs of Vijaya’s first litter brought up in the heart of the park. Bold and gregarious. His sister was killed in May 2013 and its beleived he was killed by the same mystery male early in July 2013.

Somanshu (V2) ID Left Flank (c) Kay Tiwari
Somanshu (V2) ID Left Flank (c) Kay Tiwari
Somanshu (V2) ID Right Flank (c) Kay Tiwari
Somanshu (V2) ID Right Flank (c) Kay Tiwari

Reserve: Bandhavgarh, Madhya Pradesh

Age: 3 years old (sub-adult)

Name Meaning: Moonbeam after his father

Code: V2 (Ba)
First seen: December 2011
Gender: Male
The family of three drink together side by side. April 2012 (c) Kay Hassall Tiwari
The family of three drink together side by side. April 2012 (c) Kay Hassall Tiwari

Somanshu was born in the late monsoon of 2011 and first seen in November 2011 as a small cub of approximately 2 months of age in the Chorbehra are, with two other siblings. Gregarious and bold as a youngster and born of the feisty tigress Vijaya under his star father Shashi. He is a tiger of the famous Sita bloodline but with the new blood of Shaki added through her mother’s lineage. Somanshu was born to a litter of three cub, with two sisters and part of his mother’s first litter of cubs.

Born and raised in the security of Chorbehra and Sidh Baba where he spent much of the first six months of her life with his siblings. He moved with the family to the Fort plateau during the late monsoon of 2012, when trouble brewed with males challenging his father.  He spent the winter months completing his first year in the company of his siblings and mother moving from kill to kill and enjoying the play ground of young life around Chakradhara meadow.

After a spirited childhood when he was often seen at play particularly with his spirite sister Balu,  while his sister V1 had turned into a shy reclusive young female before being killed by the dnagerous and mysterious male challenger to his father, Rahasy.

He was just gearing up to face the harsh rigours of life as a young male tiger within the forests of Bandhavgarh, when he was presumed to have been killed and found in early July in the Chorbehra area. It’s believed the same killer as that of his sister Rahasy, was to blame. However in February 2014 it was discovered that Somanshu was indeed still alive and well in her mother’s terrain after all. The problem then was who was the dead cub?

Credits: Tiger Nation

The shy boy Johnno by Kay Tiwari

A rare glimpse of Jaya's boy Johnno yesterday (c) Kay Hassall Tiwari
A rare glimpse of Jaya’s boy Johnno yesterday (c) Kay Hassall Tiwari

Jaya’s four sub adult siblings are seldom seen together these days, except around feasts. Johnno though is the shiest of the family. He’s always been the least adventurous, even though he is growing into a handsome and virile young tiger.

This afternoon however, he showed a bit of his hidden courage, moving towards an area his three sisters had settled into – deep thick cover – that meant having to cross an open track to join them. Raucous red bottomed Rhesus macaque’s chuntered in the trees and chital deer moved unhurriedly away from his presence recognising that he was not hunting but merely moving to be nearer his entourage. Wary of noise, Johnno moved tentatively, sticking his head out of cover but deciding against the crossing. He settles warily behind a bamboo clump shadowed in dark shade to contemplate his next move. Minutes later, Dutch courage restored, he got up and carefully picked his way towards the sandy track, but once again succumbed to acute shyness and sat down yards from the sandy road to rethink his path, given the phalanx of cameras at the ready to record his nervous crossing.

More used to his far more extrovert sisters, especially Trya, taking the lead, Johnno is paralysed by irrational fear, even though the natural obstacle and its vehicle based onlookers have been part of his world since he was born. For all his male countenance, in reality, he is still a bit of a mummy’s boy.

He will not move again till the sun drops below the hill’s ridgeline and darkness offers him the peace and quiet he prefers.

Credits: Tiger Nation