April to Mid-June is the best time to watch the big cat of the Indian Jungle, the Royal Bengal Tiger – mainly in the forest of central India where most of the natural water sources dry up leaving only few (out of which some are man made and regularly refilled by the forest authorities) which act as the only option for the resident animals and birds to drink water and at times cool off themselves. These waterholes also become the hot spots for tourists where chances of seeing the stripes increases by manifolds, sightings become almost guaranteed and popular tiger reserves like Ranthambhore, Bandhavgarh or Tadoba attract more tourists than they can actually accommodate like the popular hill stations, despite the fact that mercury at times goes above 50 degree in these places during this period.
So, if you are planning your trip this summer to any of these places you are almost destined to see a tiger and if you are lucky enough you will probably get to see some of those tigers who have earned name-n-fame in the recent times.
A male tiger raising two orphan cubs might sound a little odd as tiger cubs are raised by their mothers and male tigers are often considered a threats to the cubs. But T25 or Dollar just did that and came into limelight sometime in the summer of 2011, for raising two cubs left by their mother T5 who died of certain stomach hemorrhage. The news spread like a wildfire and was covered by many newspapers, magazines and websites including BBC. Today more than anything else, when you would see this male tiger with a dollar ($) mark on its belly, you would appreciate his love and care which made it possible for the two cubs to survive in the jungle. These 2 female cubs have now reached adult hood and have been relocated to Sariska Tiger Reserve.
He is also called the Star Male of Ranthambhore or Sitara because of his distinct star-shaped mark above his left eye and is presumed to be the father of T19’s cubs. His dominating nature helped him gain a substantial portion of the lake side area which was completely ruled by T17 (also called Sundari, daughter of famous Machlee) till last year. It is also presumed that the current litter of T17 are from T28.
A crazy tiger lover, Anu Marwah was lucky to watch this star male from a very close proximity in one of her many trips to Ranthambhore and captured this grinning expression nicely.
A huge 6-7 year old handsome tiger whose territory spreads across Zone 1 and 2. There are reports that this fearless tiger also wanders off outside the park at times and in many occasions has been seen on the highway that leads to the main forest gate of Ranthambhore. He is the proud father of the first cub of T39. T24 and most Ranthambhore male tigers have the most highly exotic in looks,vivid colors, conspicuous eye lines and cheek mane.
Meanwhile, this princely tiger has also earned some bad repute. Recently he attacked and killed a forest official. “The forester Gheesu Singh was with a group of laborers and had gone inside the forest for repairing a road damaged in the monsoons when male tiger T-24 attacked him from behind, grabbed him by the neck and hauled him away”, TOI reported. Locals also believe that the tiger has killed at least two people within its territory till date. However, according to the forest officials, there is no strong evidence and hence no action has been taken against this ‘dabbang’ tiger of Ranthambhore.
Dr. Nandy captured this big guy scent marking on a tree during one of his trip to his favorite tiger reserve.
He is massive, grumpy looking with a visible scar on his face(some also refer him as scarfaced tiger) and by far the biggest tiger seen in Indian Jungles in recent times. Named after the area, Wagdoh male is the most sought after tiger among the photography community. His territory spreads from Wagdoh zone to Telia zone and is the proud father of Telia cubs and Wagdoh cubs.
In the picture above, Wagdoh male is seen in a waterhole along with his family – a beautiful moment which was witnessed by Mr. Srivari during the summer of 2012. A frame that also speaks about the hard work of our forest authorities, by creating artificial waterholes, to help the cats survive the intense heat during summer.
Was earlier referred to as the Mystery male or the new Vasant Bhandara male, and is slowly gaining popularity. He has been sighted quite often now. He roams the Vasant Bhandara area up to Jamani village. He was recently believed to have been in a fight with the Katezeri male over mating rights and had been seen with the Panderpauni female 2 weeks ago. He has small droopy eyes and has a slow gait.
Kolsalwale Shivaji as locals call him, the king from the Kolsa range of TADOBA, is one ferocious hulk with long and distinct mane. With a bulgging belly, many also say he is probably one of those many ugly looking tigers in our jungles. He is also referred to as Shivaji the Boss and surely a delight for every photographer to get a glimpse of him.
Dr. Nandy, a passionate photographer from Delhi captured Shivaji’s expression in one of his trip to Tadoba and shared the same with me.
Bamera Male, Bandhavgarh.
Son of famous B2 tiger, he ousted his father from his territory and became the dominant male in the area. He is the most prominent tiger in Bandhavgarh National Park who has territory in all the four zones of the park. Recently he has been in a fight with another tiger near the Mandir and had injured himself badly. The forest official say the fight carried on for 2 days.
Blue-Eyed Boy, Bandhavgarh.
A mesmerizing male tiger with blue eyes. Usually white tigers have blue eyes. But this unusual blue-eyed boy from the famous Mirchani femle is one of the exciting elements of Bandhavgarh. Next to Bamera , he now tops the list of must see tigers in Bandhavgarh.
Note: Despite Corbett is my most visited jungle, I am little sad that I couldn’t highlight any tiger from my beloved park here. The fact is simple. Unlike many popular tiger reserves, Jim Corbett National Park doesn’t have the culture of naming a tiger. Till date I have only heard about Khali – a huge male tiger from Bijrani and recently some people used to refer a tigress in the same zone as Sharmili. Apart from these two names, I do not know any other tiger having a distinct name in Corbett. The main reason could be – it is difficult to track and monitor a tiger in this jungle due to its vastness. Unlike the forest of central India, this northern forest is dense, covered with thick undergrowth and animals here are not very friendly to vehicles and human presence. This however makes this park as most sacred jungle and tigers here are mysterious.
For more photographs you may visit:-
- Flickr Gallery by Dr. Nandy : http://www.flickr.com/photos/mnandy/
- INW Gallery by Bhargava Srivari : http://www.indianaturewatch.net/view_cat.php?tag=Bhargava%20Srivari
- INW Gallery by Anu Marwah : http://www.indianaturewatch.net/view_cat.php?tag=Anu%20Marwah