T24 (Ustad), The Tiger that partitioned Wildlife followers, Ranthambhore National Park, India

My apologies I am not narrating the actual event at the onset, as it has been repeated several times, but I am mentioning the same at the end below for people who are not aware as to what happened.
Tiger T24, a.k.a. Ustad (from Ranthambhore) has divided the conservationists and wildlife lovers countrywide. He supposedly made his 4th kill, and was translocated to a place about 9 hours away by road into an enclosure in Sajjangarh near Udaipur. I am sure the swiftness with which the department moved to shift T24 must be backed up by their logic, but the sanity of this decision has failed to convince the lovers of T24, which incidentally are in hundreds of thousands in number and with each going day his fan following is only increasing.

Right or wrong but the fact of the matter is that the decision is taken and T24 has been away for a considerable time now, and a comeback does not seem to be a possibility in today’s scenario with the law backing up the Forest department. Besides this, there is another male Tiger which has taken round of his territory, so T24 coming back will signify a territorial fight between the two, and which can be fatal for atleast one of the two Tigers involved.

Had a similar incident happened 20 years back, I am confident not an eye brow would have been raised. But today, the matter has been taken to the courts by the Wildlife lovers. There are hoardings everywhere in the prominent metros. There is a regular talk in the newspaper and television media. There are interviews of T24 carried out everywhere. Social media is abuzz with the news. This to me is a positive sign for #IndianWildlife, people are aware, and concerned. And this concern has been made amply clear to the Forest department. So one thing now is sure, that next time, there will be many precautions taken before a similar decision is arrived at.

Sequence of events

#T24, a dominant male aka Ustad’s territory is partly outside the national park adjoining the villages, thus needless to mention there is lot of human movement in his territory. He has had constant close proximity interactions with lot of people on foot in the area.

In year 2011 his first victim was a man who came on foot to pick wood in the forest. Second victim also came for the same reason. He killed both. Subsequently there was one forest guard who came very near to him patrolling, and had to pay a price for coming too close to him on foot. After these 3 deaths there was a gap of 3 years. T24 had got used to public, and vice versa. And then suddenly Rampal Saini one fine day on 8th May 2015 went close to him while patrolling on foot, and paid a price by his life. No one saw T24 do this. Apparently some people came in the area after 20 minutes to the area, and saw T24 smelling the area, and it was concluded that it was T24 only who had killed as it was also his area. This area also belongs to another male Tiger, the son of T24, known as Sultan. Important point to note is that if he has killed all four people, then all four were in the national parks. They had entered his area. He did no on single occasion come out of the park and kill anyone.
A total of 4 deaths are listed in his kitty, out of which there is no confirmation of 3 deaths, whether it was T24 who killed or some other Tiger. This was confirmed by the previous warden of Ranthambhore. News came in that T24 is getting relocated; some people made noise on Social Media, and the highest Tiger conservation authority sitting in New Delhi NTCA, (National Tiger Conservation Authority) confirmed that a full inquiry will be done, DNA tests will be done, and only once concluded action will be taken. Something happened very fast, no one has a fix on it, but T24 was moved very swiftly, and silently in a big box to Sajjangarh, about 9 hours from Ranthambhore.

Right or wrong, but my views

Having seen him on few occasions over last 5 years, I was in Love with him. My relation with him was not of law, logic, or learning and no wisdom involved in my fondness of him. We all know that Tigers are majestic, but T24, was more majestic than others. Serenity about his persona, laziness yet authoritativeness about his walk, deep and piercing eyes, T24 seemed to me to be a Tiger in control of his emotions. People who have clicked him would know that he does not even flinch a muscle when humans are in the Jeep and taking his photographs from a distance. Many T24 disgruntled fans have pledged not to visit Ranthambhore now. Perhaps that is going extreme in one’s emotion, but don’t they say that Love is blind.

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