Vijaya – what happens now? by Akash Panchbudhe

Last Click of Vijaya - I got lucky to see this beautiful tigress just a day before the park was about to get closed for the monsoon, (c) 2014
Last Click of Vijaya – I got lucky to see this beautiful tigress just a day before the park was about to get closed for the monsoon, (c) 2014

By Akash Panchbudhe

We all are getting updates about the recent happening in the park, It is disappointing to know about the Tiger Attacks and Tiger’s death in central India.

As we all know about the great flora and fauna of Bandhvagarh National Park, we also know how much tigers are important to all the tiger reserve. With the news of tiger’s death,the question arises that how we are gonna reach our goal of saving them.

Apart from the wildlife and mythological importance of Bandhavgarh, it has got lot of attention because of its famous & interesting folklore of the Tigers like CHARGER, SITA AND B2.

One more tigress at present was gaining much attention. She was named KANKATI (Vijaya) , She got so much famed and got this name when she was being uniquely identified by the cut on her ear, but her ferocious act fighting with another tigress and killing her and eating her body parts, gave her a prominent personality status among st all the bandhavgarh wildlife loving fans. The folklore for this tigress has reached its conclusion with her reported death. After matching the strip pattern, dead body was identified as Kankati Tigress.

It was all almost for sure that the any local guide or any naturalist will tell about the life of Kankati to their guests,after listening about her everyone became curious to see her and gets curious to know more about her. Unfortunately we have now stories only to talk.

She left her 3 small cubs of around 5 month old, and in a search operation of finding the cubs, the forest guards found two cubs lying dead near to Chital Kill. One cub is still missing, Its a critical time for the cub to survive, as per the last practice in such kind of incidence, the forest department started the practice of raising the cubs in an enclosure, but to raise such a small cubs in an enclosure is a challenging task.

Death of Tigress Called Kankati

A Tiger body was discovered on the morning of 6th August lying behind the MPT Resort Compound, The body was decomposed and teared out from the left flank, It seemed from the initial investigation that the dead body was around 2-3 day old, postmortem team also reported that there were some injury marks on her body.

As we all know she was a bold and ferocious tigress in the reserve, the cause for the death is still uncertain, as its difficult to reach to a conclusion that which tiger would have done this?

Well the big thing is not the question that which tiger would have done this, the question is there anything which can be done to save the tigers from such incidence?

It has also happened in the past that the tigers inside the reserve died during the heavy monsoon period inside the reserve. Last year, (2013) close to the arrival of monsoon, the last litter of kankati (chakradhara female) lost her all the 3 cubs, one of the reason for the loss was the new male roaming in her territory, and might have killed the cubs as the cubs doesn’t belongs to the new male.

After this incident, Banvehi tigress (Wakeeta) of another region inside the park lost all her 4 cubs. 3 male cubs of another tigress are also facing a tough competition to establish their territories inside the park, Out of 4 lactating female in the Tala Rage, only Rajbahera tigress has successfully raised her litter of 4, which are now at the age of dispersal.

Overall the tiger activity in the Tala Range of the Reserve will be limited and we might miss the great sightings happened in the past.

So, now the most prime area of the park is not being used by the dominant tigers. Areas having most of tiger sighting in the past is now vacant..which ultimately gives opportunities for the transient tigers roaming inside the reserve to establish their new territories.

Hopes for improving the scenario is the female in different zones of bandhavgarh,

1. Sukhi Patiha Female (Yoshila) : 2 Female Cubs, now around 25 month old, These sub adults are now successfully hunting by themselves, and making their territory close to the mother’s territory in Magdhi Range.

2. Two Tigress in Khitauli Range : These 2 females with their 3-3 small cubs have been sighted on and off this summer. But the habitat in Khitauli range needs less of human disturbance and a healthier prey base to accommodate these two female to raise their litter.

3. 2 Tigress :Vanvehi Tigress (Wakeeta) & Rajbahera Tigress (Jaya) can bring up the joy of tiger cubs now in the Tala Range, as both females are now almost going by themselves, will be looking for the mates and may give birth to young ones in the upcoming winters or may be later.

But as the season starts, We may find our majestic meadow ” Chakradhara ” bit silent…

Its disappointing to know that such incidence are not good for the conservation, but will be interesting to see how the park authorities will make their plan of action to minimize the loss from such incidence in future.

Credits: Tiger Nation 

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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.

PHOTO DIARY – The keen art of crossing a road by GauravDhotre

Baghin Nalla teaches her cubs the art of the road (c) Gaurav Dhotre
Baghin Nalla teaches her cubs the art of the road (c) Gaurav Dhotre
Mum leads them onwards (c) Gaurav Dhotre
Mum leads them onwards (c) Gaurav Dhotre
OK let's get going Mum (c) Gaurav Dhotre
OK let’s get going Mum (c) Gaurav Dhotre
Thanks Mum. I love you really! (c) Gaurav Dhotre
Thanks Mum. I love you really! (c) Gaurav Dhotre
Mum lays down her territorial markers (c) Gaurav Dhotre
Mum lays down her territorial markers (c) Gaurav Dhotre
The third cubs crossing the road after being given the all clear (c) Gaurav Dhotre
The third cubs crossing the road after being given the all clear (c) Gaurav Dhotre
Mum and cubs prepare to cross the open road (c) Gaurav Dhotre
Mum and cubs prepare to cross the open road (c) Gaurav Dhotre

Credits: Tiger Nation

A new home for a new dynasty in Ranthambhore by Hemraj Meena

Unnis leads her 10 week old cubs up a hill to a new den. (c) Hemraj Meena
Unnis leads her 10 week old cubs up a hill to a new den. (c) Hemraj Meena

The waiting game is over. For two whole months Ranthambhore’s tiger royalty kept the world on tenterhooks. The big question on everyone’s mind was just how many cubs had Unnis had?

Her last litter was three. Would she have more or less this time? He bulging udders and tired demeanour over the last month suggested the tiny brood was keeping her busy, but today we know just how busy. Four mouths busy!

Unnis checking her four charges as they trot behind her (c) Hemraj Meena
Unnis checking her four charges as they trot behind her (c) Hemraj Meena

At about 7 weeks old, now able to trot behind their mother, Unnis decided it was time to move her brood to a new home, and so she set off with her litter in tow, always watching, always wary, but leading the way, while her cubs tired visibly behind her.

Unnis, often called Krishna now, is an experienced mother who has been down the motherhood route before. She brought up her last three cubs to adulthood (Chanda T63, Aakash T64 and Suraj T65) in a less visited part of the park, while her sister Satra (T17)played the fairy princess in and around the lotus covered lakes and ruined palaces of her well visited kingdom. Sadly Satra’s love tryst’s with her two jealous guardians, the mighty Satara (T28 or Star male) and neighbouring Dollar (T24) sadly ended in her leg injury and eventual disappearance, and it was into this empty realm, now bereft of her sister, which Unnis  boldly  stepped and claimed as her own in the early summer of 2013.

Exactly who the cubs’ father is, it is impossible to tell without DNA analysis, as she flirted outrageously with both Dollar and his rival Satara, but given she now lives in the realm of Satara, he must believe they are his progeny. Her survival and that of her young family depend on this dodgy conviction.

Unnis holding a cub in her mouth prepares to take them across water to her new den (c) Hemraj Meena
Unnis holding a cub in her mouth prepares to take them across water to her new den (c) Hemraj Meena

This morning, as the summer sun’s rays began to cast their warmth upon the ever drying ground,  her young family reached the Rajbagh  water’s edge. Without hesitation she transported each one-by-one with her soft mouth by their loose neck fur across the shallow lake to the other side, where they watched patiently under the eye of her oldest son Aakash (T64) , while the whole family were so gently whisked across the waters and could continue to where their mother was so keen to resettle her family.

Unnis sets off across the water to deliver her cub safely to the other side (c) Hemraj Meena
Unnis sets off across the water to deliver her cub safely to the other side (c) Hemraj Meena

Unnis feels  that her birthing den’s security had been compromised by a leopard nearby, and was no longer suitable protection for her now adventurous brood, but a new home was soon occupied and made fit for purpose. It’s upon a mother’s keen instincts that a cub’s survival depends.

Written by the editor with Hemraj Meena providing photos and story

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

Rehabilitated Russian tiger cubs should learn to fear humans | IFAW – International Fund for Animal Welfare

Rehabilitated Russian tiger cubs should learn to fear humans | IFAW – International Fund for Animal Welfare.

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 

Satra (Sundari)

Tiger sitting in a chattri or palace in Ranthambore tiger reserveSatra doesn’t shy away from a fight. As an adventurous cub, she explored the outer limits of her territory, and learning from her strong mother Machali, she soon took over a territory of her own and challenged any who got in her way. But she has had to fight to stay in power – even her own mother has been driven out of her lands by her plucky daughter.

But until recently, though she has succeeded in exerting her dominance over all the other females in the park, Satra has not yet reached one of her biggest milestones as a tigress – to raise cubs. She enjoys the company of four different mates but only in May 2012 did she have 3 cubs at nearly six years of age. It is thought that fellow star male Dollar, an adoptive father in his own right, is the father of Satra’s litter.

However after a fight with a rival male this winter, to protect her cubs, she moved from her prime habitat and has not been seen for a week from late April 2013.

Is she still alive?  Why has she left her cubs? 

Tiger drinking from a lake in Ranthambhore national park at sunset Satra was the dominant one in the litter from the very start. By December in 2007, she’d started exploring her territory for days-on-end, while her other two sisters stayed with the mother. By early 2008, Satra had established a small territory around the base of the Ranthambhore Fort, while her two sisters were still living with their mother. Occasionally Satra would go back to the family, despite already being a capable hunter on her own. Finally, by the summer of 2008, Satra had become totally independent, with her two sisters taking another few months to separate from their mother.

In the summer of 2008, there were serious efforts to relocate tigers from Ranthambhore to Sariska (a reserve close by that had lost all its tigers to poaching), and a number of tigers were identified for this relocation – Sharmelee and Satra among them. As part of the process, the selected tigers were fitted with a radio tracking collar. Sharmelee was relocated to Sariska in early July, leaving the Lakkarda area open for Sundari or one of her sisters to take over. But this was not to be. Satra was never moved to Sariska, and her radio collar was finally taken off in November 2011.

During the winter of 2008, Satra was confident enough to expand her territory. To everyone’s surprise she started fighting with her mother Machali for territory. This war of succession ended in Satra’s favour, after Machali left the area of the lakes to establish her base in Lakkarda, where she still lives today.

Soon, Satra took over most of Machali’s territory except for two small parts – Lakkarda, which was left for her mother, and parts of Mandoop, which her sister Unnis took over. Her third sister, Athara, had just established her territory in the Phoota Kot area, when she too was relocated to Sariska.

Tiger  charging by the side of a lake in Ranthambore tiger reserveSince then, Satra has been ruling the area of the lakes and an impressively large adjoining territory. For the last three years, she has been the most frequently seen tiger in Ranthambhore. Like her mother, Satra is certainly not shy of vehicles and often gets too close for some people’s comfort.

We’ve often seen Satra mate with one of four different males, but she showed no signs of bearing a litter. She always shared her territory with three different males (T12, T25 and Sitara earlier, and now Sultanpur, following T12’s move to Sariska) and it may be a case of tiger politics that she has deliberately not had cubs.

Tiger in its habitat in Ranthambhore national park, IndiaDuring early summer 2011, Satra started expanding into the Kachida valley after the dominant female there (T5) died. Satra now has one of the largest territories among the females in Ranthambhore National Park – a territory rivalled in size only by that of her sister Unnis.

After much speculation and a number of years playing one male off against another, Satra finally had three cubs in early May 2012, and it is believed Dollar (T25) is the father.

5At the end of the season, in late June 2012, she exhibited her cubs to the world, just before the park closure and monsoon broke.  For the next six months Satra gamefully showed off her charges as they grew up under the glare of publicity.

However in late December she fought with Sitara (T28) who was not happy about her progeny’s ancestry and she had to protect them from him. Her fighting injury was severe and needed veterinary intervention. Soon to protect her cubs she moved them away from her territory to the western borders near Kachida under Dollar’s protection.  From there she started to wander into the nearby farmlands causing must consternation for the department.

As of late April, she has been missing for a number of days and her cubs have been calling for her often.

Follow Satra and her three cubs. Has she survived and now will her cubs survive if she doesn’t?

UPDATE:

The female cub (T73 or T74),one of the orphans of Satra (T17- daughter Machali) in Bagda area this evening on zone 5....thank to God that they all are safe (C) Yadvendra Singh Reserve: Ranthambhore, Rajasthan
The female cub (T73 or T74),one of the orphans of Satra (T17- daughter Machali) in Bagda area this evening on zone 5….thank to God that they all are safe (C) Yadvendra Singh
Reserve: Ranthambhore, Rajasthan

Credits: Tiger Nation

Tigress Ussuri and her three cubs at Tiger Canyons, South Africa.

Ussuri and her 3 cubs at Tiger Canyons, South Africa. Photo: Van Bommel Safari's
Ussuri (daughter Julie) and her 3 cubs at Tiger Canyons, South Africa. Photo: Van Bommel Safari’s

Wild tigress Ussuri (daughter Julie)  is raising three cubs. She carries them to new den sites when scent builds up. The father of the cubs, Sariska, keeps other male tigers away.

Credits: John Varty – Tiger Conservation