Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Young Tigers in Tala zone of Bandhavgarh.

All the trouble what Shashi / Bamera facing now is due to few young tigers which are about 33 months old. Their hormones are kicking and Shashi doesn't wants them in his territory but at this age he is not strong enough to fight two tigers at once. These two male cubs W1 W2 are sired by him. W code comes from their mother Wakeeta.
I am using my photographs to identify these Tigers. Shashi aka Bamera was born in Chakradhara and he left his mothers home only when he was at the age of three and half years old. He stayed this late due to that chain link fencing that was put around her mothers territory, a kilometer left of the forest rest house and on other side going all the way up to Wakeeta's territory to Damna village and beyond.
This was the worst thing to happen for Tigers in Chakradhara meadow because Pyari had four cubs and they were forced to live in her territory for extra 20 months. This meant a complete age of young generation was spent by them in Chakradhara meadow. These four cubs diminished the prey base in their mother's territory and forced her to push herself in Lakshmi's territory for her survival.
This was a very tricky time where two Tigresses were striving for  survival but they never had any actual physical fight. Thie condition of low prey base in their area forced them to delay their next litter.
The difference between Pyari's two litters was about three and half years and so was Lakshmi's.
It's a proven fact that cat's don't get pregnant if they find that they will not be able to support their litter or if there is a male conflict in their territory.  This was the time when Shashi aka Bamera came back to his motherland at the age of 5 + years.

One of Shashi's sibling's found the place for her (P13) survival in Bhitri and often she was visiting her mother Pyari and Lakshmi's territory. She was sexually matured but because of a poor territory and conflict  
with two males (Shashi her brother and B2 her father) forced her not to get pregnant.
Her brother Shashi aka Bamera was visiting her territory but never mated with her.
Siblings don't mate but father do mate with their own daughter and son mate with their mother.
Both cases are recorded in Bandhavgarh.  
Later she (P13) was shifted from here to Panna. Other three cubs two male (P10,P11)and a female (P12) moved towards Bamera village in Panpatha sanctuary.
Why towards Bamera? 
Because that was the safest area they found to be in and the Chain link fencing was open at the end of Siddhbaba on main road towards Umariya from where they could go out and come in without any interference.
Tigers need to visit an area many times before they finally choose to shift. In normal condition they do this at the age of 22 months +. Some mothers try to dump their litter by making a kill far far away from their territory and slip away quietly leaving them on kill.
A tigress here use to make several kills for the cubs. Same behaviour is noticed in domestic and other cats. (Paul Leyhausen)
Tigers do go out to look for food by leaping over the fence but that's not their favorite choice. We all know that Lakshmi got her leg struck in fence and then she limped for rest of her life.
And this does not mean that fence height should be increased to 16 feet to stop the Tigers.
We don't want to make National Parks like a zoo where animals are kept without giving them a chance to find their home by their own efforts. Fencing is already diminishing the possibilities of providing them open corridor to spread out in other areas of thin density which was one of the prime objects of creating National Parks ans Sanctuaries.
  When Shashi came back to his homeland his father B2 was a dominant male and his mother Pyari was raising her last litter. 4 Tigers were surviving in a very small territory where their father B2 was always an unexpected guest to share their meal. One day we saw Shashi aka Bamera conflicting with his mother Pyari and he slapped her so hard on the face that she could not get up for few seconds. He snarled at her, she meowed and finally left the area with her three cubs. She survived around Dhobha village mainly on cattle kill.
Now Chakradhara was empty of a female. Lakshmi's territory was so poor that often her cubs use to get starved for a week or more. Two daugters of Durga in Rajbehra were flexing their muscles. Their mother had already declared them unwanted in their homeland. Jaya overpowered Vijaya and pushed her towards Chakradhara.
Aha place is empty.
She started living their with hardly any prey. Once pushed and defeated by her own sister, gave her the experience of fight at early age. She knew what victory means, she saw that with her own sister who owns the best territory now and started pushing herself more further down in Lakshmi's territory. 
Lakshmi was a beautiful tigress. The most beautiful Tigress Bandhavgarh saw after Sita.
 Lakshmi defended her territory well but her disability of standing on her hind legs during fight made her a weak competitor. In those days Lakshmi was stall fed and when Vijaya came to know this she started visiting that area more often for a quick meal. Vijaya was moving more further in in Laksmi's territory. By now they had several fights. Vijaya almost lost her life once but survived by having an injury on face and lost eye muscles.
We presume that one day Vijaya surprised Lakshmi and her disability of getting on her hind legs gave Vijaya an upper hand.That was the last day of Lakshmi. At this time she was raising her two cubs who were about 17 months old.
These two cubs use to starve for a week or more. We think that in this situation these cubs must have been chasing every moving object that they can find. In a very similar case three cubs of Lakshmi's last litter female, were penned in Bandhavgarh. One died, other one released and one cub from that litter is still in Bahera enclosure. Thanks god that these two cubs of Lakshmi didn't go in enclosure. Vijaya knew their presence so she started visiting their area and pushed them further away on other side of main road. Although no one saw any confrontation between Vijaya and Lakshmi's cubs. Probably they themselves were avoiding Vijaya. At 17 months of age their first kill was of a Porcupine and probably with their joint effort their next kill was of a Bluebull. This proved that they could survive without external help and they formed their territory in Khitauli range but often used a water hole in Tala range.  

Last year it was said that this cub is fighting with Vijaya / Kankati's cub but the male Tiger photographed by Kim Sullivan does not match with this Lakshmi's cub.
A cub that was found dead on 4th July 2013 behind Tala rest House was said to be the male cub of Vijaya / Kankati. (Staff confirmed me). I was not here in those days so I dont have any photograph to match the stripes of that cub with any other Tiger. This year on 23rd, 24th and 25th January one of our guest saw a Young male Tiger in Hardiya area and when showed us the picture we were confused because his stripes did not match with any living Tiger in Bandhavgarh but did with that which was supposed to be dead on 4th July. 
Here is a picture taken by me on Dec 2012 in Chakradhara meadow when he was moving with his other sibling and mother.
This picture below is taken on 24th jan 14 in Hardiya area when this cub was crossing the road.
 You can see that these both the pictures are of a male Tiger and by matching the stripes on his left flank we found they both are same Tiger. His presence is well tolerated by dominant male Shashi/ Bamera only because he has not shown any sign of threat to him. 
By now in January 14 Vijaya's female cub, who is supposed to be living on fort plateau is also about 27 months old and sexually matured.
She should be looking for mate?
Why is she never seen in Chakradhara meadow by any tourist or anyone?
Only time will tell us the answers of all these questions. Here is a picture of this female cub of Vijaya / Kankati.
Shashi is having tough time in his territory. Last year he got badly injured in a fight with this new intruder Tiger in Jamuniya and probably that shattered his confidence. He was hiding for weeks,licking his wounds . 
He pushed his father out and now history is repeating itself. His two cubs from Wakeeta are at such an age where they are high on testosterone's and posing a threat for him. On few occasions we saw Shashi chasing them away but when both are together Shashi finds himself on the weaker side.
These two male cubs of Wakeeta / Banbehi female are still roaming in their parents territory and occasionally in of Tulsi's.
I saw one of them few days back and he looked hungry. Certainly they are not able to share the meal with their parents.
At this age when they are high on testosterone's, frustration makes them more aggressive and presumably one of them killed the Wakeeta's cub few days back.  
Now the question is that if we don't recognize tiger's individually than is it possible for anybody to obtain this kind of information? 
When people read the research paper of Mr Clifford Rice on Nilgiri Tahr they wonder that how accurate an information he has produced. People know very little about his technique now. He identified each and every animal individually. His method may be questionable but not his work.
So what we want to do with the Tigers?
Shall we recognize them only with their sex? and be happy with numbers?
When B2 was found out of the park he was recognized as a young Tiger of about 2-3 yrs of age. Whole staff could not identify him properly until we saw and gave them the photographs to match. 
Similarly the Mahavats and some other people feel that Shashi / Bamera was born in Bamera and he is 13 yrs old.
In India every park needs to do what Ranthambhore has done i.e.keep the photographic record.
If you try to recognize them by code nos then in a similar manner it's easier to recognize them by name.
See the example of Daddy, Banka, Charger, B2, Sita and Bachchi in Bandhavgarh and Machhli, Noor Sultan etc etc in Ranthambhore.
Since the Tiger Nation has started putting out photographic record now tourists are more curious to know about the fate of the Tiger they saw. Regular visitors always try to see the same Tiger again.
In Rajasthan the then Minister herself was contributing to Tiger Nation and naming the Tigers. There all these names have become very popular and tourists monitor them on day to day basis.
Do readers think that after seeing the popularity of names they can be monitored easily?
Would like to know readers view on this. 


Dr Rahul said...

Hello Mr. Satyendra,
Saw this article -

Whats the reason for all this? Is it the poor prey base inside the park? or is it the increasing conflicts for territory as the younger generation of tigers are fighting for territory?
Is the chain link fence the cause of all problems? i.e. its the young tigers to move out closing the corridor and also preventing the prey to come inside the park ? If its so then why is the park authority not realizing it??

Another question that comes to my mind is if the prey base is poor inside bandhavgarh why are all the conflicts taking place inside the park ? As what is generally believed tigers choose the best area for territory (good availability of prey). Prey base outside the park must be better than whats inside..
Is there a solution for all these problems??

Bandhavgarh said...

Tigers straying out is not a new thing, it's an old old story. Majority of Tigers who lives on periphery inside the park always use to stray out of the park.In last ten years increase in our rural population has created more trouble for Tigers and Human both. But this is the one issue on which no one wants to talk or raise this issue only because before raising the issue you see your own defeat so people start blaming animals where they know the result of No Win No Loss situation. Every one including Govt want to double the numbers of Tigers but no one talks about prey base so this kind of problems will be there forever. To know the answers of your last questions you have to visit the area to know it better.

Unknown said...

I feel naming the tigers proves helpful because tourists are better able to track them and share information about their sightings and health. If they are not named, the forest guards, officials, mahouts, guides, and drivers will still be able to identify and track them. But then, most tourists who visit maybe once or twice a year would not be able to share information about their sightings easily. And since such tourists constitute a major bulk of people visiting the forests, we would lose out on a valuable source of information.