The Tiger Expert

There is only one Tiger expert in the world, the Tiger himself.  Many books have been written, documentaries have been made, some good, some not so good.  But over the years I have noticed that Tiger defies everything documented about him.  Inferences and conclusions are made by observing the Tiger over a period of time.  Maybe those aspects about the Tiger were true at the time those books were written and the documentaries made, but over the decades, a lot of water has passed under the bridge, or should I say many a cloud have crossed the Jungles where Tigers stay.

Everyone said, the best time to sight Tigers is morning and late evenings.  Having seen the Tigers at midday in peak of heat, I can say it is not always true.  When a Tiger is thirsty, he has got to drink, and he has got to walk to the water hole.  If the thirst is strong, he will not look at the sun, but his priority will be to quench his thirst first, and cool himself down in the rising mercury.  If he has been in search of a prey, and has made a several unsuccessful attempts, (he is successful once in about 15-20 attempts), so he is hungry, and thirsty both, so he will walk, and when he walks, there are alarm calls everywhere, and chances of his sightings only increase. No wonder the full-day safaris in central India parks are such a hit for last couple of years.

The times have changed, and so have the habits. It was always said that the male Tiger is intolerant of male cubs.  But lately we see male Tigers eating with the Tigress and cubs.  What is bringing about this change? Shrinking forests? Reducing territories of male Tigers? And are they learning co-existence due to this? These are the behavioral changes happening in a species due to circumstances outside their control.  But changes nevertheless and significant at that.  One of the most important change I personally witnessed has been the surival of 4 male Tigers in Mukki zone in the current year.  All 4 big adult Tigers, fought over few months to establish their territory, none gave in, was it the lack of habitat outside which made them fight harder, and ultimately accept each other in the same zone. Though the zone is big enough to accommodate 4 adult MaleTigers, but in the recent years Mukki never saw so many male Tigers in the area. So it does surprise people who are regulars in KanhaNationalPark about this unprecedented #Tigermovement in Mukkizone. 

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