August 3, 2015

Ranthambore Round Up

Ranthambhore, Ranthambhore National Park, Ranthambore, Ranthambore update, sightings at Ranthambhore, update from ranthambhore Another great season at Ranthambore ended on June 30th & park is now closed for next 3 months due to monsoon, zones 6-10 remain open for tourism though. As always here i am trying to summarize the season which lasted 270 days in almost 270 lines, quite a task for sure :) , good news is there is no penalty for breaching it.

As expected this undoubtedly was the season of first family of Ranthambore- T19. Having missed their

sighting in last season due to closure of zone 3 & then closure of park people were looking forward to see this family around lakes & they did oblige for sure. All of social media was full of their images as they continued to oblige all & sundry. It was a delight to watch these cubs grow as each month passed by under the watchful eyes of their mother. As months passed mother surely had a task at hand- One it is not easy to cope up ever growing demand for food, secondly of the three cubs both girls are giving her a tough time as friendly bouts turned into fights of dominance. On numerous occasions she had to intervene to ensure safety and she surely is not liking it, something she made pretty clear to offenders. Male cub on the other hand seems to be taking life easy, as per me he is quite an instigator as he teams up with one of the sister & sits back once the duel starts.Cubs are now 14 months old & probably this winter would see them parting ways in search of their own respective spaces. They have started hunting on their own & have made few kills independently.While one the female cub which is also known as ‘arrowhead’ or ‘forkmark’ looks like the most suitable candidate for being the next ‘Lady of lakes’ & carry forward the legacy of this great clan, only time would validate this.

Other famous family of tourism zone- T39 & cubs kept on playing hide & seek with visitors, Post some superb sightings in October & November, their sightings were not so frequent for rest of season. They did spend most of their time in non-tourism area, their own little secret paradise. This family was in limelight once again when the father of cubs T24, a prominent male of tourism area was shifted to Sajjangarh post his reported involvement in killing of a forest guard on 8th may 2015. Did see the family thrice post this incident & i am confident that there is no immediate risk to these cubs & mother is capable to ensure their safety.

Bakola on zone V was surely witnessing some real action as 5-6 tigers were moving around in that area. Siblings T74 & T75 continued to patrol and protect their newly acquired territory which they had snatched from resident male T6. Almost entire season both of them were sighted together around Bakola, Semli, Aadi Dant & Aadi dagar and occasionally Semli. T6 has reportedly shifted to non tourism area by pushing the dominant male of that area further. Survival of the fittest, old guard making way for these young guns. T25 aka Dollar- the charmer continued to follow T41 aka Laila & was sighted mating with her twice, first in April 2015 & then in June 2015. Unlike earlier theory of forced mating, it looked like she has finally given in to the charms & might of this handsome challenger. It would be good to see if this mating results in birth of new cubs in park.

Third family of park- T8 & her cubs were also the star attraction of this season. Sighted with two cubs towards end of last season, she did spend most of her time on zone 6 this season as she had vacated part of her territory for her daughter T61 who is now settled in Balas zone of park with her partner & young sub adult male T58. On 8th March 2015, T8 lost her 9 month old male cub which was apparently killed by another male tiger suspected to be T58. As per eye witness account mother did fight bravely with the intruder but perphaps it was too late to change the fate of young male. Resident male T34 was also frequently sighted during the season.

Grand old lady of Ranthambore Machli aka T16 was not sighted much this summer except for a special appearance on 11th may 2015 when she obliged visitors of zone 4 & 5 during both safaris. This 17 year old grandmother of park has now lost all 4 canines & one claw and is unable to see from her left eye due to cataract but she looked graceful as always. She continues to spend her time in her retirement home behind tourism area. Here’s wishing her a healthy life as long as she wishes to survive.

As mentioned in an earlier blog post, generation next of Ranthambore is all set to take charge from old guards and have already done so in some areas of park. T64 & T64 sub adult males from T19’s first litter who were initially reported as missing seemed to have settled well in vacant areas of park where as her sister T63 has further expanded her territory till Guda and Pandu Deh areas of zone II which were earlier controlled by other old lady of park T22. It would be nice to have a resident female with breeding potential around Guda area. T57 the young sub adult from Indaala seems to have settled well around Guda & is a suitable prospective partner for T63. T73- sub adult female cub continues to hold her territory around Kachida & Bagda. With T64 now advancing till Dhakda it would be interesting to watch if these first cousins pair up anytime soon.T62 – the sub adult male cub of T8 from first litter seems to have returned from his voyage & was sighted in zone 9 as per last reports. While some others like T66, T71 & perhaps T72 had to move out of the park towards Karouli & Kaila Devi in search of their own land and lady.

Overall the park has surplus tigers & it is logical that weaker ones- sub adults/ residents would have to make way for stronger competitors. Dispersed tigers would either populate new areas of reserve as done by some in past or would return back to home turf once they are strong enough to challenge their competitor.

There was action throughout the park this season. On zone 10 it was T13 and her cubs which obliged visitors with their sightings along with frequent sightings of T42 who was also seen mating with T13 in April 2015. On zone 9 it was T59 and T42 who kept the sighting charts ticking.

Here’s wishing all the striped beauties, other denizens of forests & their protectors a safe monsoon.

Writer's Profile

A management graduate and a successful banker, Anurag attained his enlightenment in 2012 when he gave up his high flying corporate job after a ten years stint for the simpler pleasures in the wild! Since then he has found his true calling in wandering in the tiger reserves of Northern and Central India and exploring their rich flora and fauna. With a course in wildlife conservation another feather was added to Anurag’s rich experience. It further expanded his knowledge on issues concerning biodiversity, habitat conservation and restoration, challenges in park management and monitoring activities using scientific tools etc.

Anurag takes pride in being an avid wildlife lover, tiger fanatic, photo documenter and runs a boutique wildlife travel and destination management company - Tigerwalah. His has indepth knowledge about tigers and wildlife in general acquired over years and that makes him a preferred safari companion across wildlife destinations.

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