Tigers of Bandhavgarh
Tiger situation in Bandhavgarh, as on 7th June 2006
No doubt Tigers have lost their habitat and their life to certain greedy humans, Tigers are facing a grim battle for survival, hope is certainly there, but the picture does not look very positive as of now.
Somehow Bandhavgarh has been an exception to this onslaught so far. The Tigers here have had little trouble compared to their cousins in some other National Parks. I am not trying to say that the situation here is completely under control, there have been some odd case that one hears once in a while but the efforts towards conservation here have met more success relatively.
The most common question that most of our clients ask before booking is whether they will be able to see the Tiger in the Wild. Our answer to them has been consistent and i.e, "Include Bandhavgarh in your itinerary, give yourself minimum 3 nights stay, get a good naturalist and you will satiate your desires of seeing such a majestic creation of nature. Chances that you will see a Tiger here in 2 nights are good as well, but 3 nights kind of insures your chances, nobody would and should guarantee a Tiger sighting, but a 3 ights stay here with our naturalists can get you real close these felines". Yes it is an effort to get to Bandhavgarh, but no gain without pain as someone had said, so if you want to see the Tigers in the Wild then there is no better place than Bandhavgarh, make the effort and we will ensure you are rewarded much more than you expect in terms of Tiger sightings.
Just to update you on the Tiger population in Bandhavgarh. The last official census claimed 63 Tigers in about 448 sq kms area. The tourism zone which is the Tala range, is about 105 sq kms, the current
Tiger population as on June 07th 2006, is about 23 Tigers.
The detailed breakup of the same is as follows:
B2, Male, age 9 years: Entire tourism zone, he is a dominant male, is seen about twice a week on an average, as he covers the entire tourism zone, so his sightings have reduced over last 2 years, also their has been a considerable amount of change in behaviour of B2, he has started to frequent the neighbouring villages, picks up an odd cattle, remains out of the park for 3-4 days and then returns to patrol his territory. He is big, majestic, and a treat to watch when he walks. Absolutely unperturbed by the vehicles, and the tourists he walks like a Lord of the Jungle. Raghvendra our naturalist has a special rapport with B2, he has had innumerable close encounters with the King.
Rajbhera Male, a.k.a, Bokha, Age 5 years: He is the second dominant male in the tourism zone, occupies the southern area of the park, and a bit of western as well. B2 has had one encounter with him when Bokha tried to get into the central aread of the tourism zone, he made a hasty retreat and went back to his southern territory, B2 also let him be there. As on date he is certainly no match to the power of B2, but he has shown promise, and is shaping up quite well, and it is predicted that they might have another encounter anytime. He is rather easy to recognize, his hald lower canine is broken. He is normally seen about 2-3 times in a week.
Jhurjhura female, age 4 years, with 2 cubs (1 male, 1 female, age 12 months): This is the first litter of this Tigress. The cubs are growing up well, are not very shy, and seen about 4 times a week minimum by Jeep and elephants.
Siddhababa female, age 4 years, with 2 cubs (5-6 months old, gender not known yet): She is the sister of Jhurjhura female, same litter, and this is her first litter also. Is seen about 4-5 times in a week by a Jeep. She likes to sit in the tall grass in patch of water only about 10 metres of the road, leaves her cubs in the cave often, and once a while cubs are also seen crossing the road alongwith her. Tirath our driver has a special liking for the cubs and he really enjoys tracking them down and showing them to the tourists, slightly shy as still young but very cute.
Banvai female, age 10 years, with 3 cubs (of only 3-4 months, gender not known yet): She has had litter of 4 cubs always, this is the second time only that she has given a litter of 3 cubs. These cubs are a delight to watch when they are trying to hide between the legs of their mother. She is confident and wants her cubs to overcome the fear of tourists but I guess it will come with age. A sad part to this particular Tigress has been, that she is an expert mother, raises her cubs very well, but once grown her cubs move on, and are not normally seen again in the tourism zone. There are reasons attached to the same, one her territory is on the eastern ringes of the park, the cubs move on and they at times move on to the adjoining ranges or the neighbouring villagers do not normally like the big Tigers around them, so what happens to these cubs when they grow up is not something I would want to imagine. Is seen about 4-5 times a week with cubs.
Chakradhara female, age 10 years, with 4 cubs (17-18 months, 2 males and 2 females): This Tigress is the same litter as Banvai Tigress, with cubs shaping up well, she is the current heartthrob and has spellbound the tourists who cross this most beautiful meadow called Chakradhara. The Tigress is named after the meadow which she has made her home. Practically daily you would see her or her cubs from Jeep and Elephant. Come as many tourists and her family obliges with some good photgraphs. The reason their sighting is the best in Bandhavgarh is that her meadow has lot of water in the undergrowth, plus the Charan Gnga river flows peacefully close by, hence the prey base in this area is among the largest in the park. So she does not have to move around too much for food and water.
Sookhi Patiya female, age 5-6 years, with a fresh litter, not seen by anyone yet: She has recently graduated 2 males, about 6 months back. They left the mother and have now separated. Her territory is among the most scenic areas in Bandhavgarh, to get the feel of a safari in a thich bamboo forest you must take Jagat our resident naturalist here to give you a feel of adventure. Not more than 2-3 Jeeps visit this area in a week as it is at the southern most border of the park, it adjoins Magdhi range, which is a a beautiful range, perhaps more beautiful and peaceful compared to the Tala range. It is our endeavor to show this range to most of our clients who have time and inclination.
Sookhi Patiya, 2 Males, about 2 years of age: Have recently separated from their mother and are in the process of finding their own territory. For last 3-4 months they have been hunting, walking and patrolling together. Quite a sight when you get to see both of them together. Normally seen twice a week only.
Mahammen female, 5 years age: She has had no litter yet, and is normally found in the Mahammen and Thodi area, which is the south western part of the park. She has mated twice with Challenger, and once with Bokha but has not conceived yet.
The above data has been compiled by our naturalists, and the undersigned and will be regularly updated. We are in the process of doing the family tree of tigers of Bandhavgarh, you should see the same sometime shortly.
---- Sharad Vats ---