Satra

Published May 5th, 2013

Satra is missing. And its worrying. Its not normal for tigresses to leave their cubs for days while they go in search of food. This could well be the case here but it does seem that she has gotten herself into serious trouble.

It was almost a year back when she gave birth to her first litter. For the longest time prior to that she could not conceive despite mating with 3 male tigers on different occasions. Satra was aways different. Her territory overlapped with that of 3 male tigers which meant they all had access to her. Early last year she mated with the T28 (the star male) and T25 (zalim) within a span of 15 days. This could only mean trouble. When the cubs did arrive the immediate concern was whether a first time mother would be able to raise her cubs well after all mortality rates in tiger cubs is pretty high and monsoon was around the corner followed by the big question - who is the father of the cubs?

Wildlife lovers across the world breathed a collective sigh of relief when ...

Read More →

Goodbye Meera

Published March 19th, 2013

It is always sad when a tiger dies, with numbers dwindling by the day and poaching, human-animal conflict at an all time high, we can ill afford fatalities to the feline population. It is perhaps sadder when it is a tiger you have seen and come to really like. T37, the resident female of the Kuwalji area of the Ranthambore National Park died yesterday from what seem to be natural causes. Meera, as she was also called, was a tigress in her prime. She had moved into the said area of the park few years back with her brother T36. The Kuwalji area was declared open for tourists only this season and has at times seen more tiger sightings than the main Zones (1 to 5) and the credit for that goes to T37. The dominant male of the park, T42, is seldom seen as like most male tigers he has a large area under his command.

I have had 2 encounters with T37 - the first one was a few weeks back when we saw her within minutes of entering the park. The thing which struck me was her size and her fabulou ...

Read More →

Do number sher

Published December 13th, 2012

This remains my single most favourite moment in the Indian jungle. B2 was a legend, the stories i had heard and read about him made me curious about him. Banda, as the local guides and drivers used to call him was a gentleman amongst tigers. He is not known to have attacked humans or charged at vehicles. He used to slip into the darkness when confronted by humans. I still remember a time when we inadvertently bumped into him at Silvaria. That was in March, 2011 and we were returning from a show that B2's 2 male cubs had put on for all near Jhoomri talayya. We returned back via D route and from nowhere he came and just melted into the darkness, i was so much in awe of this fellow that i could not even raise the camera to take a shot. Father to most of the tigers in the tala zone, his contribution to Bandhavgarh cannot be measured.

My last memory of this fellow is from when he lay down at a water hole in D route for more than 2 hours.

Its been just over a year since he died but every ...

Read More →

A rendezvous with the Sultanpur female.

Published December 13th, 2012

Our first trip of the season to Ranthambore was not going all that well, 2 drives and no sightings meant that we headed into the jungle on a Sunday morning in low spirits but confident of our chances of breaking the dry spell especially as we were heading to Zone 2 which is know to contain the territories of atleast 5 tigers. We did the usual scan of the hillocks either side of the fort road for leopards before heading to the gate that leads to Zones 2 and 3.

Unless there are fresh pugs or alarm calls, the best thing to do when in this zone is to cover the entire length till the Gandhra area where tigers from Lahpur tend to stray every now and then. Thats exactly what we did with no luck though. Our driver then suggested that we stand near the Kali kheti area. Both T24 and T39 tend to appear there from Zone 1 and we hoped that would be the case. We had waited for about 10 mins when we heard a chital call. Our driver immediately swung the jeep in the direction of the call. To our utte ...

Read More →

Satra does what satra does

Published December 11th, 2012

We spotted her day before yesterday evening trying to hunt down an axis deer (chital) in the grasslands of Zone 5. Having repeatedly failed she retreated into the thickets where her cubs has been playing even as langurs gave out frantic and continuous alarm calls. With the drive coming to a close, we left her there and called it a day. Day before yesterday morning, she was spotted in Zone 3 where she hunted down a chital fawn. We had gone to Zone 2 in the morning and for the first time in my experience, we did not see a single pugmark of a tiger or heard any animal sounding the alarm. For the evening drive, the booking system again gave us Zone 5 and we hoped that she would return to the cubs who had not accompanied her. She had polished off the fawn in the morning itself and was certain to come back to her cubs. We waited at the Kachida check post and right on cue, she walked down on the trail giving us some great photo opps. To imagine that she has covered the distance to the lake ar ...

Read More →