Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ranthambhore Tiger Diary 2013 before park closing ...

2013 Ranthambhore Tigress chronicles -

This season has come with a new challenges for the park. Of the human related ones there is a threat which may potentially take the lives of the precious tigers by themselves. The park now has a sex ratio of one to one ideally, this should be 3:1 females to male. We have 13 adult females living alongside 12 males in the park. Even in the cubs we have almost 14 male cubs and 9 female cubs and recently spotted cub from tigress T41 which we are not sure of whether its male or female. 

This has already started the trouble in the small piece of tiger haven with the sub adult males trying to push their siblings to fabricate their own territories. Tigers being territorial, each one wants the a piece of land. T26 a shy tigress in a rather non-tourist part of Ranthambhore has raised with care and concern her 3 male cubs in this litter, she was aware the challenge will be at home with all three males, there would be a bloody fight. The dominant brothers have now pushed one of her cubs firmly out of the park. He has walked into the Madhya Pradesh's Datiya forest range...

It’s interesting to note - at this point, of the 13 adult females, 10 females have cubs that they are still nurturing and 2 are single, and one is unknown she has some relation with T26 may be daughter or sister of T26. Grandmother Machali – the most celebrated tigress of Ranthambhore, is now 17 – lives in the mainstay area of the park in Lakarda. It is concerning that most of the females on the other hand are raising their cubs in the periphery of the park and when the dispersal would happen there is bound to be cubs walking out into the unknown.
Six females can be seen by visitors, as their territories lie in the tourism zones of the park while seven live in the non-tourism zones.

These most admired ladies of the landscape are the Chidi Kho female or Ladli (T8) with her two cubs. Machali (T16), her daughter from the last litter Unnis, now called Krishna too (T19) who has just left 3 sub adult cubs – Unnis has taken the dynasty forward by having her control over the lake area after sister Satara (T17) left (later went missing). Mala (or Noor) T39, is often seen with her mischievous cub Sultan. Laila (T41) has recently been sighted with a really young cub, and Gayatri (T22) does not have any cubs at this time. Lastly, there was the tiger queen Satra or T17, who had three cubs. She was pushed by male tiger T28 after a fight and had settled at the fringe of the park near  some unfriendly villagesshe went missing a month ago, leaving her 11-month-old cubs behind. The cubs are now being raised by the forest department.

A very unfortunate death was that of T37 in March 2013, the last blood of the Guda lineage, the Forest department raised T37 & her brother after their mother had died. The brother was radio collared and had started to live on his own but without being trained by the mother, he met his fate when a male tiger T42 killed him in a territorial fight. Later, his sister T37 settled in Sawai Mansingh Sanctuary and was often seen with the same tiger T42. We were hoping to see cubs in this new tiger home, which has become a triumph of conservation since 10 cattle herders were made into wildlife guides here and this area was opened to tourists recently.  With his mate gone, we are hoping that T42 finds himself a new mate soon.

We at Ranthambhore are happy and proud that this is probably the only place in the country, which has at any given point each tiger known and identified. This attainment been further elevated with the Rajasthan Forest Ministry taking a unique initiative of publishing a booklet-giving flank marking of all the tigers which is available to the public.
The extraordinary cooperation between the park staff, NGO’s like Tiger Watch, and the private sectors has ensured the present health of the park. More on Ranthambhore tigers coming soon... adios !